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: LYON
Although Paris is the capital and a city with a lot to admire in terms of food and wine, it is Lyon and its surrounding towns that truly excel when it comes to the care with which ingredients are grown. Pork products of every kind are extraordinary, and there is outstanding poultry, splendid fruits and vegetables, and some of the world’s best wines and cheeses all within easy reach. Lyon combines the most traditional cooking methods of its grandmothers with those of three-star chefs whose restaurants are booked many months ahead.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)