Why is there a huge sculpture of a blue snail that greets you when you arrive in downtown Bra in Cuneo province, Piedmont?
It’s because the town of Bra is where the Slow Food movement was founded.
Back in the late 1980s, after the U.S. fast food chain McDonald’s had begun to expand its presence in Italy, a group of gastronomic activists in Bra led by Carlo Petrini published the Slow Food Manifesto in which they declared their opposition to the “fast life” and “fast food.”
“Born and nurtured under the sign of Industrialization,” they wrote, “[the 20th] century first invented the machine and then modeled its lifestyle after it. Speed became our shackles. We fell prey to the same virus: ‘the fast life’ that fractures our customs and assails us even in our own homes, forcing us to ingest ‘fast- food.'”
You can read the document in its entirety here. It’s amazing how powerfully it resonates today — perhaps even more so than the moment it was published.
Petrini and his cohorts chose the snail for their symbol, the literal embodiment of slow food and the slow life they cherished and wished so greatly protect. Today their emblem is arguably the most recognizable icon of what would later be called the “farm to table” movement.
Scarpa’s approach to grape growing and winemaking aligns seamless with the Slow Food ethos. And the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences often uses Scarpa’s wines as classic examples of “slow wine” — wines that are produced thoughtfully and sustainably, expressions of viticultural traditions that stand out for their balance of quality and authenticity. Many of Scarpa’s employees have studied and taught at the Slow Food campus just outside of Bra.
And Slow Food is another thing that many of us here in the U.S. are missing right now. #IMissItaly