To Shelter Its Cuisine, Italian City Bans Foreign Flavors

The nation that produced Marco Polo should know full well that explorers seek new ingredients and immigrants enjoy melding flavors from their old and new homes. Yet the Italian tourist town of Lucca has declared a ban on any ethnic eateries that do not meet Tuscan standards. City officials insist that they want to preserve authentic Italian flavors, and yet critics point out that some Italian staples come from afar: The tomato is a native of Peru, coffee comes from Ethiopia and pasta was borrowed from the Chinese. One cookbook author maintains that every dish on earth is “derived from a mélange of different ingredients and a fusion of culinary styles,” reports Nick Squires for the Christian Science Monitor. Italy's agriculture minister supports the ban, suggesting that limiting food imports could contribute $80 billion to the nation's gross domestic product, but he overlooks a potential backlash considering that Italy is a net food importer and that its overall exports for 2007 totaled more than $470 billion. A bigger problem than foreign flavors, some food analysts suggest, is food fraud, when origins or processes of some ingredients are misrepresented. – YaleGlobal

To Shelter Its Cuisine, Italian City Bans Foreign Flavors

New eateries that serve kebabs, couscous, and even pineapple are no longer welcome in Tuscan town of Lucca
Nick Squires
Monday, February 23, 2009

Click here for the article on The Christian Science Monitor.

Nick Squires is a correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor.

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