The UK’s foodie scene has come a very long way in 20 years. Many people now see Farmers’ Markets, for example, as part of their weekly shopping ritual and slowly but surely the UK is beginning to take its food heritage seriously. Local dairies, artisanal bakers, cheese makers, raw milk producers and every type of producer is now saying, ‘Eat food that is local and made with love.’ Food festivals go one step further to provide a showcase for all the innovation.
Our European neighbours might wonder what the fuss is about
We can even imagine Italians shrugging and saying, ‘What took you so long?’ After all, they have never allowed conversations to stray very far from the very best food to eat in autumn or the most effective manner in which to make blood sausage, slaughter a pig or find the most valuable truffles.
Instinctively we are all being drawn to this fresh ingredient culture
Fresh ingredients, natural foods and seasonal eating give pleasure. We now understand that microwave meals and tv dinners have robbed many of simple pleasures such as preparing, cooking and shopping slowly for family and friends. What better expression of love and care than to offer beautifully prepared fresh ingredients while eating together, just like the Italians have always done.
For those serious about learning more, there are also cooking holidays in Italy which allow us to connect with Italian food culture and perhaps bring home some of the passion which Italians from Naples to Sicily expound at every opportunity.
Food markets are an essential aspect of everyday life
Those who have ventured on cooking holidays all over Europe will have also investigated exactly where food is grown, made, or processed in artisanal ways and historic ways. They will have learned it’s something to be proud of.
An early morning stroll through a market in the smallest Italian town, for example, will become a feast for the senses. The smell of cooking smoke wafting on the air, the intensity of fresh bread, huge vats of macerated olives all play their part in contributing to this exotic perfume. Small vendors whose shops are decorated by massive sides of Parma ham and salami act as constant reminders you are somewhere else.
An Italian food market is more than a space to trade produce
It’s a hot, sweaty, highly knowledgeable and sensual recipe book. Everyone is happy to give tips about the best variety of optimum way to cook. Exhortations to buy, taste, sample and enjoy make visiting any market or delicatessen an adventure.
It is essential to promote and reward all those who take food production seriously
In the UK, if the thought of cooking holidays in Italy are beyond reach, there are a number of famous festivals which will offer any foodie a fix. From Abagivenny to West Dene Chilli Festival, which is now in its 17th year, foodie tourism has become big business. These festivals are also re-igniting the nations’ interest in what their culinary heritage is all about.
In Italy each district has always kept its specialities distinctive, for them it’s nothing new but a happening like Weston’s food festival this weekend demonstrates just how powerful the Italian cooking and eating approach has now become on these shores. It is essential to promote and reward all those who take food production seriously, we know this now.
In a world that changes more rapidly than at any time in our history, tradition, reliability and memory all play an essential role. When a community like Weston or Puglia celebrates their culinary delight, local support ensures everyone who is involved in food quality is rewarded and patronised by locals and visitors alike.
We all love stories, tradition; we love a refrain.
The Italians have always known the power of food tradition chorus which underpins life, sociability, health and general well-being. If a visit to Weston’s Food Festival ignites your spirit for learning just what Italians do so well, then maybe cooking holidays in Italy might be the most appropriate next step. Meanwhile, before you go, enjoy all the good things South West England has to offer.