Turin residents have beef with vegetarian mayor's eating recommendations

By Nick Squires in Rome

New mayor wanted to reduce the amount of meat eaten by "Torinesi". Photo / File
New mayor wanted to reduce the amount of meat eaten by "Torinesi". Photo / File

For a region renowned for such resolutely red-blooded dishes as carne cruda, which is minced raw beef, and sanguinacci, or blood sausages, it is proving a little hard to swallow.

Chiara Appendino, the newly elected Mayor of Turin, is determined to promote the delights of vegetarian and vegan food, despite the city being the capital of Piedmont, a region famed for its meat-based cuisine.

Presenting her new council's five-year plan, the 32-year-old mayor from the Eurosceptic, anti-establishment Five Star Movement said she wanted to reduce the amount of meat eaten by "Torinesi".

Salamis aged in pots lined with lard, plus tongue, tripe and bollito misto, or braised meat, will have to make way for nuts, salads, pulses and soya.

"The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding the environment, people's health and the welfare of our animals," the council's plan states.

The new administration intends to teach Turin's schoolchildren about the impact that eating meat has on the environment, from the intensive use of water to the production of greenhouse gases.

"Leading medical, nutritional and political experts will help promote a culture of respect in our schools, teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights," the council said.

But the vision of a bright new future of vegan and vegetarian eating has gone down like a cup of cold gazpacho with the people of Turin.

"Don't they have anything more urgent to worry about?" one incredulous resident wrote on a newspaper website. "Poor Torinesi."

Another commented tartly: "Quinoa is revolting." A third said: "Is there no limit to the madness?"

A demonstration is planned in the city to extol the delights of ravioli alla piemontese, which is stuffed with meat, and brasato al barolo, beef stewed in Piedmont's famous Barolo red wine.

But the council is pressing ahead with its plan.

"The fact that our choice of what to eat has an impact on the environment is not my opinion, it's the opinion of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation," said Stefania Giannuzzi, the council's new environment officer, who has been a vegetarian for the past two decades.

"We have complete respect for our culinary heritage and restaurants. We have nothing against the meat industry," she told Corriere della Sera.

"We don't want to cause the closure of artisanal shops or ruin the lives of people who have worked for years promoting the gastronomic heritage of Piedmont."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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