The Euganean Hills are now a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

THE Euganean Hills I am now a Unesco World Biosphere Reserve. A new important recognition for Italy, which has demonstrated how viticulture can play a key role in preserving and enhancing nature and biodiversity, if carried out with attention, respect and a conscious commitment projected into the future.

The Coordinating Committee of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme officially sanctioned it during the 36th session held in Agadir, Morocco, with the designation of 11 new Biosphere Reserves in 11 countries (including, for the first time, Belgium and Gambia) and two transboundary reserves. With these new reserves, which cover a total surface area of ​​37,400 km², equivalent to the size of the Netherlands, the World Biosphere Network now has 759 sites in 136 countries around the world.

As far as Italy is concerned, in addition to the Transboundary Reserve of the Julian Alps (derived from the merger of the two reserves created in 2019 and 2003 respectively), the Euganean Hills, a short distance from Padua, represent an important novelty, with their fascinating geological history. The hills were formed millions of years ago, thanks to the activity of the numerous active volcanoes in the area. When they died out, the highest peaks emerged, creating a group of rocky islets in the “Po Valley Sea”. Erosion over the centuries has shaped the landscape, removing the softer rocks and leaving visible the hard, conical and steep volcanic rocks. Over the centuries, the climate, vegetation and human activity have further modified the environment, creating a territory very precious for biodiversity, also protected by the Euganean Hills Regional Park which, established in 1989, became the first regional park in Veneto.

Over thirty different vines in a single territory

The Euganean Hills cover an area of ​​about one hundred square kilometers with a total surface area of ​​the Park of 18,684 hectares. Mount Venda, with its 601 meters of height, dominates the over one hundred hills that form the Euganean complex. And the wine represents a fundamental element of the landscape. The production area of ​​the DOC Colli Euganei coincides with that of the Park, and is divided at an administrative level into 15 municipalities, rich in history and tradition.

«The inclusion of the Euganean Hills in the List of UNESCO World Biodiversity Reserves – comments the president of the Consorzio Tutela Colli Euganei Gianluca Carrara – it is an extraordinary opportunity for our territory and for our wine. We have supported the candidacy from the beginning, of which we feel an active part. Our viticulture is an expression of biodiversity: here we grow over 30 different vines”. An infinite variety, which also passes through theattention to the environmentwith due respect for landscape constraints, but also by the use of low-impact cultivation techniques thanks to which hundreds of animal and plant life forms are preserved. From an oenological point of view, the wines of the Euganean Hills are expressed in three different denominations: the Serpentinevolcanic and with spring scents, the Reds from the Euganean Hills (based on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere) and then the Moscato of the Euganean Hillsavailable in dry, sparkling and passito. The president concludes: «Our vineyards cover a considerable area of ​​the Park, over 3000 hectares, and contribute to the protection and conservation of the territory. With their daily work, the producers are committed to the management of water, woods and soil, a fundamental role today in light of climate changes that are increasingly evident.

«Italian cuisine between sustainability and biocultural diversity Unesco Heritage: the collection of signatures begins – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

Between them now Jimmy Ghionehistoric correspondent of Strip the News, loved by the general public also for the commitment shown over the years to the protection and valorization of Italian cuisine and its products. He spoke about the importance of collecting signatures to support the candidacy of Italian cuisine during the episode of Antonio Ricci’s beloved program which aired on January 27th. He did it in a symbolic way, accompanied by president Pecoraro Scanio and Enrico Derflingher, president of the Euro-Toques Italia ed International association, and for years personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II. Together they prepared a risotto with black truffle: a dish that tells the story of the great chef’s cuisine and an example of the harmony of Italian products, PDO and PGI, which characterize each territory of our country with their aromas and flavors.

The uniqueness of the candidacy of Italian cuisine

«The candidacy of Italian Italian cuisine as a UNESCO heritage site is also this: a campaign to valorise the products and traditions of the individual territories. Because its uniqueness also lies in this: in the fact that it is different from country to country, from province to province”, says Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, announcing that there will still be other examples that will tell of this diversity and biodiversity. «Pasta will be the next common thread: it is the most identifying feature of our cuisine in the common imagination and among the ingredients that are best suited to act as a trait d’union to our products, to represent them and therefore to share them.

An inclusive candidacy

Sharing, after all, is the key word behind every application, made to promote an art, a tradition, a culture, so that it is known, appreciated, and once again shared. «The UNESCO nominations are exactly the opposite of a protectionist claim. If we nominated pizza or opera singing it was not to hold on to them, to claim their Italianness, but because they are beautiful things with a global value, explains Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio. «The same is true for the candidacy of Italian cuisine, which we would also like to see valorized by UNESCO for its sustainability and biodiversity, to be the basis of a diet – the Mediterranean one – which has become a food model throughout the world, says the Univerde president. And he continues: «This is why it is important to sign: this candidacy concerns everyone, it is an inclusive path, and I hope it involves people just like it did for pizza.

What would happen if Italian cuisine became a World Heritage Site

Moreover, if UNESCO were to actually accept our proposal, we would all gain, just as has already happened with pizza. «Following the entry of the art of Neapolitan pizza chefs into the world’s heritage, requests for Neapolitan school pizza chefs have multiplied: not Neapolitans of origin, but people around the world who have learned to make pizza following the rules and traditions of Neapolitan art. This would also apply to Italian cuisine: it would be about spreading knowledge, not putting up a fence. Sharing a heritage.” A heritage of history, stories, knowledge, traditions, which involves each of us.
To sign, click on www.change.org.

Other articles from La Cucina Italiana that might interest you:

Opera singing and Italian cuisine: an unparalleled heritage
The candidacy of Italian cuisine for UNESCO: what now?

Why Unesco, why Bottura – Italian cuisine – Italian Cuisine

Why Unesco, why Bottura - Italian cuisine

A new adventure awaits all readers of La Cucina Italiana. Discover it together with a very special guest.

Wednesday May 27, 9:41 am. "July, July, July". It is the WhatsApp with which I try to impress Massimo Bottura. We thought it's time for nominate Italian cuisine as Intangible World Heritage Site – not the magazine, just the Italian culinary tradition, and this time entirely whole without parochialism, in what two of our friends on p. 10 call it "its extraordinary biodiversity".

We have chosen to launch the application with a series of numbers guest edited by the greatest chefs in the country. And we decided that the first of July must be signed by him. But that does not react first: I only see the blue tick. Then call to tell me it's madness. And I understand it: we are on the eve of June 2, the Republic Day that Bottura has chosen as a symbolic date to reopen theOsteria Francescana, three Michelin stars, one of the most famous restaurants in the world, and other varied activities, such as Maria Luigia house, are about to restart after the pandemic. But I insist. And on May 28, early morning, he calls me back. "Of course you don't give up, girl." Pause (very long). "Okay, let's do it." So we left for this wonderful adventure, with a different but true to itself newspaper.

This issue is imagined, cooked, photographed and written in record time following Bottura's philosophy, which is then so close to ours. But above all it is the starting whistle of a new venture: to nominate as the World Heritage Site – and it seems incredible that it has not already been done – the most loved culinary culture in the world (the world-renowned artist who signed the cover, JR, it's French, to say). The engine is running. There is one on board. Come with us?

P.S. I thank Faithful Usai because he always raises the bar a little higher, towards the sky of Italy.

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