Autogrill partners with Slow Food Italia to promote local farmers

Enabling farming companies and craft businesses that produce quality food products to reach out to the general public and at the same enable anyone driving through Italy to enjoy the taste of local produce they don’t normally find in supermarkets.

This is the mission of a new partnership between Slow Food Italia, a trade association, and Autogrill Group. The agreement will initially operate in four motorway service areas: Autogrill Villoresi Est on the Milano Laghi A8, Autogrill Sebino on the Torino-Trieste A4 and two points of sale - Bistrot Fiorenzuola d'Arda and Bistrot Bologna Cantagallo – on the Emilia-Romagna section of the Milano-Napoli A1.

From February onwards, travellers visiting these four Autogrill locations will find one or more shelves dedicated to products selected by Slow Food Italia (including a number of “Presìdi Slow Food” certified products) and the latest publications from Slow Food Editore. These spaces will display the association’s logo, a snail.

We started up this collaboration with Autogrill Group with the aim of showcasing in Italy’s motorway service areas the surprising variety of quality craft products to be found in every corner of our “peninsula”. Presenting these excellences selected by Slow Food Italia in Autogrill service areas is an invitation to discover them (and support them by purchasing) but also to enjoy an off the route diversion to taste them at source and see all the background, in farms and craft businesses whose day-to-day business helps drive Made in Italy

says Daniele Buttignol, secretary general, Slow Food Italia.

We’ve been working for years with the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo – the Bistrot concept is a good example – and this reflects an evolution of food culture towards high quality Italian produce and the revival of craft techniques. This new project with Slow Food is a new step in our collaboration and serves the wider purpose of working together to improve Autogrill’s commercial offering by leveraging the values we share and, of course, by continuing to promote the excellence of local products with dedicated shelf space (with products selected by Slow Food Italia) in our motorway locations

commented Autogrill Chief Marketing Officer Ezio Balarini.

Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna specialities to be offered in this experimental phase will include pastas and preserves, jams and beers, chocolate and biscuits.

From the “Cremona bassa” area, there will be maccheroni, spaghetti, penne and fusilli made exclusively with durum wheat and Kamut grown organically in Italy by “Cooperativa agricola Iris di Casteldidone”.

The beer phenomenon currently fermenting our “peninsula” is represented by Birrificio Elav, Comun Nuovo (Bergamo), with a selection of five labels: Grunge IPA, Indian Ale, No War, Punks Do It Better and Uppercut IPA.

The Varese area is sending chocolate art specialities by Buosi, which will be offering tastings of its sumptuous praline collection and its curious chocolate spoons. The longstanding chocolate firm Bardini (Piacenza) will present a selection of single source products from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Cuba, and a sophisticated blend, all strictly without added flavouring or preservatives.

The selection will close with a tasting of Lombardia biscuits, including “Offelle di Parona” (traditional and cocoa-flavoured), in the “Pavese” tradition, made by Forno Collivasone, and “Brutti ma Buoni”, an original recipe dated 1878, by Pasticceria Veniani in Gavirate (Varese).

Guests of honour from outside Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia will be “Grumolo delle Abbadesse” rice and traditional “biancoperla” maize flour from Veneto, both being Slow Food certified products. Grumolo delle Abbaddesse is a small town half way between Vicenza and Padova, where the excellent “vialone nano”, a rice variety grown since the 16th century, benefits from the special characteristics of the soil and water. The same area offers another unique product, “biancoperla” maize, a traditional variety used to make the “white” polenta that’s a must with dishes based on fish from local rivers and Venice’s “lagoon”.

Lastly, the selection of Presìdi Slow Food coffees: “Terre alte” from Huehuetenango in Guatemala and “Selvatico” from the Harenna Forest in Ethiopia. At Huehuetenango (1,900 metres above sea level), coffee is grown in the shade of tall trees, fermented immediately after harvesting and then sun-dried. While Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originated, is the only country where the species is still found wild: a journey back through time to the origins of the Italians’ favourite drink.

The bookshelf offering includes the following publications from Slow Food Editore: bestsellers Osterie d’Italia 2018 and Slow Wine 2018 and two local cook books, Ricette di Milano e Lombardia and Ricette di Emilia-Romagna.

Collaboration between Slow Food Italia and Autogrill to showcase local produce will be extended in the coming years to other points of sale on Italian motorways.

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