Now, stop for a second and think... which country stands out as having a deep and profound pride in its food. Italy, right? Hands-down one of the countries best known for its food and a place where what people put in their mouths is as much a part of their culture as music or dance.
Last week, I attended International Green Week in Berlin. The show continues this week, but I was in attendance for meetings with the executive of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists and I had the chance to meet many of my colleagues from around the world, including Antonio Brunori, the IFAJ executive representative from Italy.
Antonio shared his pride of food with us and brought brochures about the creation of Parmigiano-
Reggiano and story of how it's made. The booklet is a poetic account, with the creation, the aging and the opening of the cheese told in three acts.
"With a piece of Parmigian-Reggiano in your bag, you are set and ready to take on any task. You feel as if you would like to sail away like Stevenson's adventurers in search of the Treasure Island, knowing that you are holding something that will stand up to time and adversity and that will always be both tough and tender. And then you realise that the Treasure Island is here in the Provinces of Parma, Regio Emilia, Modene, Mantua (on the right of the river Po) and Bologna (on the left of the river Reno)."
Another brochure is just as lush.
"Parmigiano-Reggiano is a true miracle of nature and of the traditions of the people who produce it. It is for the enjoyment of those who seek in what they eat not only nourishment, but also incredible flavor, love for the earth and respect -- a lot of respect -- for nature and its mysteries."
We were very happy that Antonio was able to join us -- and we appreciate him sharing his love of his country's food with us.