Memory archive of Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine has become a model to be imitated worldwide as much for the goodness, authenticity, and quality of the dishes themselves as for the rich and varied ingredients and for the cooking techniques. There has always been a certain fascination around products that are harvested from the land and from tradition, not to mention the many stories that tell of how they were made and how the ingredients were searched out, prepared and consumed at home and with family members. This is why our project aims to collect, analyse, document and retell the richness of such traditions in the kitchen, leaving proof in order to recuperate the oral traditions handed down through the generations and making it all digitally useful for the future. This is a particularly ambitious and challenging project, but at the same time it is inspiring and of great cultural, educational and promotional value. In 2009, the Chamber of Commerce of Matera set this project up with a certain vigour and determination aimed at valorising the patrimony of the gastronomic tradition with research, study and promotion initiatives regarding the values of the Mediterranean Diet, later acknowledged in 2010 as part of the Intangible Patrimony of the Unesco World Heritage Site. In 2013, after an experimental implementation study, a considerable partnership between Chambers of Commerce was born with Matera as group lead. The cohesion of the network made it possible to ensure the international validity of the project initiatives and to increase awareness as all Chambers of Commerce in Italy are gifted with their own rich gastronomic traditions and culture as part of the Mediterranean Diet. The initial setting up of the memory archive of the cuisine in Lucania was therefore broadened, embracing the spirit and value of the initial objectives, becoming richer still with the participation of all the new components, united in striving to promote the rich patrimony throughout Italy. The network, which includes places geographically positioned in the centre of a criss-crossing of history, goods, people, cultures and religions, wants to promote and develop Italian cooking and ingredients through valorisation initiatives, given that Italy is the ambassador nation for this cuisine where the dietary culture is so intrinsically founded in the Mediterranean Diet. Campobasso, Frosinone, Isernia, La Spezia, Matera, Rieti, Siracusa, Taranto, Teramo and Terni are now all part of the Memory Archive of Italian Cuisine, thanks to the impetus of the various Chambers of Commerce, supported in turn by Unioncamere. The project idea, called MED ITA, wishes to use the Memory Archive of Italian Cuisine to celebrate and promote the Mediterranean Diet and at the same time valorise the whole territory which exudes cultural, environmental and production excellence. The 10 territories have come together to express their goal to include the whole national environment as belonging to a tradition thousands of years old. The acknowledgement of the Mediterranean Diet as an Intangible Patrimony of World Heritage by Unesco has enshrined the economic and social value of food that was Made in Italy in terms of the production and nutrition achievements of the main foodstuffs produced: namely fruit, vegetables, pasta, wine and olive oil, cheese and baked goods. This achievement is also linked to the historical value that this dietary model has assumed in terms of quality of life and for the benefits shown by scientific studies. The filming of around 100 recipes collected by MED ITA retells experiences, memories, know-how, and practices. It will be appreciated in an open and liberal manner, thanks to the dissemination that can be achieved at a local, national and international level by the integrated use of the multimedia to diffuse the copious material produced, also available online. An ideal journey that today links 10 provinces but which could grow even further still. The territories are diverse and generous, each with their own particularity to be acknowledged, with an environmental, cultural and eno-gastronomic patrimony to be praised, to defend, to discover, to love and to cultivate, knowing the true value of tradition and shared understanding.