I ran into one of my American friends yesterday, he had traveled and taken part in the latest LWFC held in Verduno, Piemonte.
Albert Lattanzi has been an absolute campaigner and fan of our events over the years. He and his family joined our ‘Wild Food Italy’ trip and spent the days leading up to the event experiencing foraging, truffle hunting, wine and artisan food tasting and meeting the most welcoming of communities imaginable.
Our conversation turned to many of the incredible moments we experienced thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of our Italian hosts, transporting us into a world of great food, serious commitment to resource management and deep community ties.
As LWFC has evolved over the years, it has taken on many styles and facets. In this instance, the Italians embraced our Local Wild Food concept and added their own magical flair.
Workshops on fermenting and bread making, funky wines and organics were complemented by an artisan producers market held in the village square.
A 150 person lunch was prepared by four local restaurants and stretched out along the cobbled street outside the Castello di Verduno castle walls.
A makeshift and very organic ‘green room’ was set up under shade trees in a corner of the garden to interview contestants on their creations and inspiration for entering the challenge.
Great support from Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences saw students and faculty involved in many roles including contestants, judges and volunteers.
Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International, joined us for the festivities, enjoying the afternoon and supporting the local community with a truly upbeat and warm energy for what was unfolding in Verduno.
I was so excited to see our Verduno Local Wild Food Challenge partners join us and put together an unforgettable day of wild foods, education, music, community spirit and good fun.
It is a truly humbling experience for me to travel 20,000kms across the globe and be welcomed into this community like a family member. Being introduced to more and more people with hugs and long chats about food, resources, home and family, often with translators gifted with saint-like patience.
Each group of locals were so keen to show me the best of their area and produce, always being extremely generous with information and experiences.
The day of the Verduno LWFC was by far the longest we have ever done. With a start time of 10:30am, we didn’t stop until the final thank you speeches and traditional dancing around the bonfire in the village square at 12:30am!
I had to be on a plane the next morning bound for the United States, so I left my new mates reveling into the wee hours, last seen silhouetted from the fire against the old stone walls of the Castello di Verduno.
Congratulations to our Italian LWFC- Verduno winner Nathan Danby!
An Englishman studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Polenza, situated just below Verduno. He created a dish named “What Nature Brings Us”.
A beautiful vegetarian plate of Pokeweed, Wild Fennel, Stinging Nettle and Mustard Flowers.
Nathan has won a trip to the Tuusula Local Wild Food Challenge in Finland, and is invited onto the judging panel for this event.
Well done Nathan, see you in Finland!