Sunday, June 10, 2012

Food as a diplomatic tool?

Can food be used to bridge the gap between countries?  In a recent article in The Globalist Stephan Richter suggests that the answer is yes.  In his article “The Tragedy of Turkish Food” he states “The pathway of Turkey's integration with Europe would have been different if it had been led by Turkish food. ”  I love the idea.


After reading his article, the concept that food (and drink) could shape impressions of a country was on my mind  when I attended the 10th Annual Pinot and Paella tasting last weekend,  It was a delightful event outdoors on a warm summer afternoon.  Local wineries offered samples of their wines, all versions of Pinot Noirs.  These wines are made from the pinot noir grape.  The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black".  Made in central California the wine itself is still considered to be linked to the Burgundy wines of France.   

Paella, is a rice dish that is often thought of as the national food of Spain.  More precisely it is the dish of the region of Valencia. At the tasting over a dozen restaurants presented their interpretations of the special Spanish dish.  After enjoying a few samples I decided it would be smart to get on a plane and taste the real version. 

My afternoon of touching France and Spain through food and drink confirmed for me that It isn’t just meals shared with people form other places that can bring us together. When we sample their cuisine we feel a connection, that we know something about another place.  What will you eat that will inspire you to travel to taste the authentic version of a local food, connect with the people who created what you enjoy?

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