On 1 May 2015, Milan became the capital of the world with the official opening of the Universal Exposition – Expo Milano – that will be held until 31 October 2015 under the theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.
Thus, food and diet of the past, present and especially the future are at the heart of the international event, embracing all related aspects such as technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity.
“Slow Food” is one specific project with its own dedicated space at Expo Milano 2015, an area of 3,500 square meters consisting of three modular buildings reminiscent of the rural Lombard farmsteads. Its objective is to illustrate how feeding the planet is only possible by starting from biodiversity, and preserving it for future generations.
The main protagonist behind this project is Slow Food, an international association that works around the world to protect biodiversity, building the relationships between producers and consumers and improving awareness of the system that regulates food production.
Inside the Slow Food space, you can visit the “Discover Biodiversity” interactive exhibition, which shows how biodiversity can be safeguarded and how it can contribute substantially to the welfare of the planet and small farming communities.
Workshops, tastings and educational activities are held daily to explore different aspects of the relationship between food and man, both in Italy and internationally. Let’s have a look at some of these initiatives…
Slow Food & Slow Wine Tastings
One of the most effective, surprising and joyful ways we can understand the meaning of biodiversity is by tasting it. This is why part of the Slow Food area is dedicated to the discovery of the diversity of wine and raw-milk cheeses.
The world of cheeses offers the perfect example of how plant and animal biodiversity is articulated when transformed into food. Every week, you’ll be able to taste a different selection of four types of cheese: one world-famous Italian cheese (perhaps Parmigiano-Reggiano, Bitto from the Orobiche valleys, Fontina from Valle d’Aosta, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Asiago or Sicilian pecorino); two cheeses from a specific territory, generally Slow Food Presidia (like Bagolino Bagòss or Nebrodi provola); and a European cheese. A total of 84 types of cheese will be on rotation throughout the six months of the event!
Next to the Slow Cheese area, the Slow Wine Enoteca will be telling another fascinating story, that of Italy’s wines and grapes. Like cheese making, viticulture also boasts rich biodiversity. In Italy alone, over 600 grape varieties are still used to make wine. The selection of wines will offer drinkable proof of this wide diversity, with about 200 different wines available on rotation.
Slow Food Theater
Every morning at 11 am, workshops and educational activities will be held in the Slow Food Theater. These activities, targeted at school groups and families, will revolve around some of Slow Food’s main themes, such as bees and the fight against food waste.
Slow Food will use this space to give voice to its network, as well as authors, film directors, photographers and artists who want to present projects in line with our interests.
It is a precious space where you, the visitor, can listen to the experiences of farmers, fishermen, artisans, food producers and chefs from the Slow Food networks, and interact with them.
The Slow Food Garden
A food garden is the most effective way of establishing a close, individual relationship with the land and promoting sustainable agriculture and responsible consumption. Growing your own food means understanding its value, learning to avoid waste and appreciating seasonal foods.
Slow Food will be creating its own agro-ecological garden at Expo 2015. Covering an area of around 250 square meters in the middle of the three main buildings, it will give you plenty of inspiration for creating your own food garden.
Traditional varieties from the Lombardy region will feature heavily, like Gambolò beans, Breme red onions, Gandino barbed corn and Voghera peppers. Along the sides will be small beds of aromatic plants; a green pharmacy, with herbs like horsetail, chamomile, poppy and fennel; and a section for plants used to make dyes.
Food & culinary traditions across Italy’s 20 regions
Tied to the Slow Food philosophy is another interesting project called “Expo and Regions”, an initiative that will make you better understand the excellence of Italian produce. It is a journey to discover the story between each local product and its territory: the places of production, the culture and landscape, traditions and Italian lifestyle.
Through “Expo and Regions” you can discover the beauty and flavors of each Italian region. Some of the thematic itineraries include:
- Piedmont – Itineraries tracing history, places and quality products
- Lombardy – The Franciacorta and Garda wine routes
- Veneto – Wine in a Villa
- Tuscany – Taste Tuscany
- Umbria – Benedetto and Francesco: life and work for the future
- Marche – From Marche Endurance Lifestyle 2014 to typical Marche products 2015
- Lazio – Lazio land of oil
- Molise – Earth & Truffles
- Campania – The land of the Mediterranean diet and UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Puglia – Apulia Felix in Masseria – Oil and Rosé Wine Drovers’ Road
- Calabria – Flavour of onions: tradition and innovation
- Sicily – Sicily Tasting Journey
When visiting Expo Milano, make sure to pass by the Slow Food area! It is a fun and fascinating space, full of inspiration for adults and children – and its garden is a living organism with a host of flavors and fragrances.
Photo credits & text source: www.expo2015.org