Antica Casa Scarpa

The Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences and its alumni at Scarpa

In 2004, Carlo Petrini, the activist founder of the Slow Food movement, launched the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, a hamlet of Bra, the small town in Piedmont’s Cuneo province where the movement first took flight and where its publishing offices are still located.

Here’s what The Atlantic senior editor and esteemed food writer Corby Cummer had to say about the school in a 2008 essay for the magazine:

    As Slow Food matured and went global, Petrini realized that he would need to train future leaders—of the movement itself, of the food and tourism industries, and of the government ministries capable of putting into practice many of the changes Slow Food advocates. For a campus, he chose a gorgeous Romanesque-revival castle built in the 1830s by the Savoy royal family as a summer lodge and agricultural research center in Pollenzo, three miles from Bra, the cozy but active small city 45 minutes from Turin where Petrini was born and where Slow Food is headquartered.

The Scarpa estate and winery have a truly special relationship with the academic institution: Its director, Riikka Sukula, and two of its top employees, Gregorio Ferro and Andrea Roccione, are all graduates of the the university’s Master’s in Wine Culture program. And making the bond even stronger, Scarpa’s English-language blogger Jeremy Parzen (that would be me) has taught wine communication and food communication in the same program there for four years. While Riikka had already completed the program before Jeremy joined the faculty there as an adjunct professor, Gregorio and Andrea were among the students in the first course he taught there back in 2016.

It’s only natural that there would be such a connection between Scarpa, one of Piedmont’s legacy wineries, and Slow Food. After all, the estate’s values align seamlessly with the university’s credo of buono, pulito, e giusto.

Here’s how esteemed London restaurateur Giorgio Locatelli explained the motto in a 2007 piece for the Guardian:

    Buono, pulito e giusto are the three requirements that Slow Food wants our food to be: buono (or good, as in a good product in terms of flavour ), pulito (or clean, as in produced in a way that is respectful to the land and to biodiversity) and giusto (or just, as in respect for the humanity and rights of the people and animals who make the food possible). It’s a philosophy we should all be considering, because as the intensive farming of the multinationals has plundered its way around the world, it has been all but overlooked.

The Slow Food movement was founded by Petrini in the late 1980s to counter the fast-foodization of Italy. Just two decades after Italy’s post-war “economic miracle,” the country was being overrun (literally) by corporate food interests, including the construction of a McDonald’s in Rome’s Piazza Spagna, widely considered on of the most beautiful plazas in the world.

Initially launched as an activist and lobbyist movement, it soon embraced publishing as a means to give greater visibility to its message and to document Italian traditional foods and foodways.

Click here to read more about Slow Food, its origins, and its mission (in English).

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