To understand contemporary humanity and how it feeds itself, while perhaps simplifying its complexity, one could begin with a simple question: Red wine or white? Breast or thigh? Still water or sparkling? Meat or vegetables?
There’s no other question that provokes such controversy as this last one, as it often puts two categories of eaters against each other -- carnivores against vegetarians. The first claim that eating a juicy piece of steak is a sensual experience and that humans shouldn’t be denied the pleasures of the flesh even at the table, while vegetarians shun steak for celery while clutching onto a celery stalk, helping to cultivate urban vegetable gardens like those that are popping up all over New York. This is why Fine Dining Lovers has decided to investigate both sides of the issue.
The vegetarian “party” has an unofficial leader in the author Jonathan Safran Foer, and will doubtlessly enjoy reading about the deliciousness of vegan sushi, prepared without fish or any other animal-based ingredient. We attended the Vegan Challenge, held by a Brighton restaurant in England called Moshi Moshi, where we found Heather Mills front and centre, helping to promote this way of eating. Because, as Safran Foer recounts in his book, Eating Animals, «For every ten tuna, sharks and other large predatory fish that were in our oceans fifty to a hundred years ago, only one is left. Many scientists predict the collapse of all fished species in less than fifty years.»
If you happen to find yourself in San Francisco and don’t want to give up the idea of vegetarian shopping, indulge in a trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building (and its thrice-weekly Farmer’s Market) “an urban eater’s heaven” in a city already renowned as a haven for foodies. If you’re curious about what delicacies are in store for you there, don’t miss our report and our gallery.
On the “carnivore” front, instead, we interviewed one of the world’s most renowned meat “diplomats”: Dario Cecchini, the famous Tuscan butcher from Panzano in Chianti, hasn’t only committed Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to memory, but has an international clientele that includes many celebrities and famous gourmands. Cecchini is truly one-of-a-kind and you can get to know him through the video interview that Fine Dining Lovers dedicated to him.
From Tuscany to Emilia Romagna where, thanks to the dense fog that surrounds the area of Polesine Parmense, one of the world’s most prestigious salumi is produced. The Spigaroli family has been making culatello in the traditional manner for generations, as the air and countryside along the Po river is perfect for the ageing process, which takes place in a cellar that resembles a wine caveau. If you watch our video carefully, you’ll be able to make out the names of the recipients, including one very famous member of the British Royal Family.
Even among meat eaters themselves, there’s a sub-category represented by those who will willingly eat offal meats – that is, all the parts of the animals that are sometimes considered “scraps”. These parts – from the intestines to the kidneys, aren’t only edible, but are actually quite appreciated by even the most refined palates. For adventurous eaters only.