Italy’s Piedmont district has plenty of traditional meat-driven dishes like vitello tonnato or brasato al Barolo – beef braised in the region’s signature Barolo wine, a tannic red that pairs wonderfully with… yup… meat. But despite this culinary heritage, the new mayor of Turin, Piedmont’s capital, wants to set her city down a new path: one that promotes vegetarian and vegan foods. And many in Turin probably need an extra glass or two of Barolo to try to wrap their head around it.
Only 32 years old, Chiara Appendino, the recently elected mayor, is a member of the Five Star Movement, a political party described as being populist and anti-establishment in addition to being led by a comedian. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that she came into office with some unique ideas. But her feelings on the benefits of reducing meat consumption are no joke. “The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding the environment, people’s health and the welfare of our animals,” a recently released plan being pushed by her city council states according to the Telegraph. “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.”
For a country known for its meats, both cured and otherwise, Appendino’s attempts to make Turin Italy’s first pro-vegetarian city has been met with some criticism. “Great foods like wild boar ragu and Chianina steak are already disappearing from the menu once famed for its meats, wines and cheeses,” one resident told The Local.
But Appendino’s newly appointed councilor for the environment, Stefania Giannuzzi, stressed the changes weren’t intended to piss off people who love Prosciutto. “We have complete respect for our culinary heritage and restaurants. We have nothing against the meat industry,” she told Corriere della Sera according to the Guardian. “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.”