More than 700 years ago, the Italian traveler Marco Polo came to Chengdu along the Silk Road, and recorded the special local products “Made in Chengdu” such as Anshun Bridge, Tea, and Shu Brocade into the travel notes; at the end of the last century, Chengdu established an official friendship with the city of Palermo, Italy; in 2015, Chengdu added Milan into the “Moments”; at the end of 2017, the first test train of the CHINA RAILWAY Express (Milan – Chengdu), which was loaded with Italian specialties, arrived in Chengdu.
It can be said that the “intimate contact” between Chengdu and Italy has hardly been broken since ancient times. Italy has captured the hearts of people around the world, including the people of Chengdu, with her literary romance, and the culture & art and the giant pandas of Chengdu “the Land of Abundance” also attract “countless fans” in Italy, especially the leisure life in the cafe perfectly corresponds to the happy life in the teahouse. In fact, the connection between Italy and Chengdu is much more than these.
On September 20, 2018, the 11th “Terra Madre Slow Food Expo” was grandly opened in Turin (Italy). This event gathered 7,000 representatives from over 143 countries and regions around the world, 300 kinds of slow food presidia foods, and 1,000 food communities from the Terra Madre network. Chengdu was invited as the guest city to participate in the event.
Turin meets Chengdu, and the slow food concept is closely related to Tianfu culture
Today, the fast food culture is increasingly infiltrating modern people’s lives, and the “slow food” movement focusing on people and nature rose in Italy in the 1980s. Since its founding in 2004, the “Terra Madre Slow Food Expo” has been committed to protecting the culture and biodiversity, delivering the concept of “Quality, Cleanliness and Fairness”, trying to influence people’s daily lives by simply changing their diets, making people reflect on the common ways they take in eating, shopping, and food acquisition, and promoting people to have a broader change in their consciousness.
At the 2018 Terra Madre Slow Food Expo with the theme of “Changing Your Food”, Chengdu attended the event as a guest city. Paul, the Secretary-general of the International Slow Food Association, read a written speech from Luo Qiang, the Deputy Secretary of the Chengdu Municipal Committee and the Mayor. In his speech, the Mayor emphasized that the slow food concept of “Quality, Cleanliness and Fairness” is closely related to the Tianfu culture of “Innovation and Creativity, Elegance and Fashion, Optimism and Tolerance, Friendliness and Charity”. With the support of the International Slow Food Association, Chengdu will further strengthen the construction of the “City of Slow Food”, continuously deepen the pragmatic exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, jointly promote the development of the slow food culture in China, and inviting all event participants to “Fun in Chengdu”. “We are deeply impressed by the efforts and achievements of the Chengdu Municipal Government in implementing the “Chengdu Statement”, building a slow food community, promoting the slow food culture to be deeply rooted in the hearts of the local people, and we also look forward to developing deeper and closer exchanges and cooperation with Chengdu in the areas of climate and environment, and the revitalization of rural economy and culture,” said Paul, the Secretary-general of the International Slow Food Association.
For this event, Chengdu has brought a total of 20 food and cultural creation exhibits, including pepper, watercress, hotpot seasoning, silk embroidery, storyteller figurine, and facial makeup. Only after the opening of the exhibition, the panda doll and Sichuan Opera facial makeup became the protagonist of the exhibition, and visitors stopped to watch and take photos with them. It is reported that the Expo will last from September 20th to 24th. Within five days, the Expo will explore and learn about the food culture of all regions, focus on climate change and protect biodiversity with food-related practitioners from all over the world through the Salone del Gusto fair, summit forum and workshop. Chengdu cuisine, which is popular among world food lovers, will be unveiled such as Mapo Tofu, Zhong Dumplings and Lai’s Glutinous Rice Balls. “Under the theme of ‘Changing Your Food’, we will start with the sharing of knowledge as wide as possible to inspire and encourage people to change their eating habits by focusing on the issues of food waste, promoting the reduction of meat consumption, and promoting more sustainable consuming behavior.”
Taking slow food as a medium to start a new phase in multi-field exchanges between two cities
In September last year, the International Slow Food Association successfully held the 7th Slow Food International Congress in Chengdu, which brought the exciting contents and thought collisions such as slow food movement, biodiversity conservation and rural sustainable development to Chengdu. The congress also awarded Chengdu the title of world’s first “City of Slow Food”.
Chengdu was specially invited to participate in the 2018 Terra Madre Slow Food Expo, and at this expo, Chengdu once again showed the world a more diverse image of the international City of Gastronomy, cultural characteristics of long history and a beautiful and livable park city. In the booth of Chengdu, many foreign friends picked up chili peppers and Sichuan peppers and observed them closely, and they asked about the role and cooking methods of these ingredients in Sichuan cuisine. As a typical Chengdu cuisine, Mapo Tofu has won praises from many guests and foreign tourists. The display of unique artworks in Chengdu, such as Shu Brocade, Shu Embroidery, wood carving and bamboo weaving, also made the local people feel the long history and profoundness of Tianfu culture.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that in the past year, the world’s first slow village, Chengdu Anren Slow Village, jointly established by the People’s Government of Dayi County and the International Slow Food Association has been basically completed. The “slow food community” construction and “diffusion university” education actively promoted by President Carlo have been highly praised by all walks of life in Chengdu. At the Terra Madre Slow Food Expo to be held this year, the International Slow Food University will also sign a contract with Sichuan Tourism College to jointly cultivate food and aesthetic masters and slow food elites with international visions.
Through the closely related slow food concept of “Quality, Cleanliness and Fairness” and Tianfu culture of “Innovation and Creativity, Elegance and Fashion, Optimism and Tolerance, Friendliness and Charity”, both the Sino-Italian relation and Chengdu-Turin cooperation will be more “intimate” in the future, more and more Chengdu people can get a healthier lifestyle through the international slow food concept, and more Italian residents will gradually learn more about Chengdu and receive more Tianfu culture “Gift Packs” from Chengdu.