The Slow Food movement has named Ludlow in Shropshire as the location for its UK headquarters, beating applications from Edinburgh, Cumbria and the Highlands.
Despite having an international network of 83,000 members worldwide, this will be the first time that the movement has had a base in the UK.
It is now almost 20 years since the movement’s original conception when a group of outraged Italian gourmets, led by journalist Carlo Petrini, protested against the opening of a McDonalds in Rome.
Today it has grown into an international network dedicated to revolutionising the way people eat and farm around the world.
Sue Miller, Chair of the Slow Food UK’s board, identified Ludlow’s environmental credentials and extensive range of local food and drink production as the deciding factor.
‘We felt that Ludlow was the spiritual home of Slow Food and would provide the ideal base from which to work for a high quality, responsible food culture in the UK.’
The quiet market town, four hours from London, has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s centre’s of gastronomic excellence.
At least seven of its restaurants feature in the Michelin Guide, including the two-starred Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus, and the one-starred Mr Underhill’s. The Merchant House, a former Decanter Restaurant of the Year, recently closed by its owner Shaun Hill, also had a Michelin star and is credited with putting Ludlow on the gastronomic map.
Ludlow was also the first UK outpost for the Cittàslow (Italian for ‘slow city’), another organisation of Italian origin but with the aim of improving quality of life and avoiding ‘the “sameness” that afflicts towns in the modern world’.
Written by Libby Banks