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Six distinct world centers of food Bologna, Buenos Aires, London, Lyon, Tokyo, and San Francisco (Top left to Bottom right)
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What are the elements that make a city a world gastronomic citadel? In some cases, ready access to superb ingredients and centuries of evolving knowledge about how to use them. In other cases, the specialness of the cuisine is a product of the unique ethnic and cultural blend that results in new flavors and cooking methods. In some cities, cooking traditions are rooted in colonization or conquest, with the conquered often prevailing when it comes to setting the agenda—and the table—as to how people eat.
Food expert and passionate culinary historian Fred Plotkin has identified six very distinct places that are, in their own ways, world centers of food and drink. Three are the capital cities of their important nations, while the other three are extraordinary in that they are surrounded by superb agricultural resources that influence what food is available and how it is cooked. In every case, these cities promise tantalizingly delicious subject matter for Plotkin’s commentary accented with mouth-watering photos.
Plotkin is the author of six cookbooks and has been a finalist for the Julia Child and James Beard awards. His food writing has appeared in Gourmet, Bon Appétit, The New York Times, Food & Wine, FT, and Daily Telegraph.
FEATURED CITY: BOLOGNA
Italians say that the two best food cities in their country are their own hometown—and Bologna. This is Italy’s undisputed capital of gastronomia, with fresh handmade pasta such as tagliatelle, tortellini, and lasagne being only the most famous food. Ingredients in Bologna derive from the cow and the pig, with extraordinary dairy products, salumi, and more. The food culture of Bologna, including its outstanding markets, is remarkably evolved and its citizens are conversant about food and cooking in ways unheard of elsewhere.
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