First Stages Outside Europe:
Students to Study Food Culture in Australia,
India, Japan and the United States
The second-year students of the undergraduate degree course in
Gastronomic Sciences will be finishing their academic year in September
with a series of stages which will take them around the world in the
pursuit of quality food culture, typical products and regional cuisine.
These are the first stages, or field seminars, that the University of Gastronomic Sciences has held outside Europe.
From September 18 to 29, divided into four groups, the students
will be travelling to either Australia, India, Japan or the United
States, where they will be based in a gastronomically rich region in
order to study at first-hand the diversity of regional food and
beverage production. The stages are an integral part of the degree
course at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, providing students
with a global perspective and reducing the gap between the academic and
The group in Australia will be based in the state of South
Australia, starting out in the city of Adelaide with a visit to the
central market, a class at the University of Adelaide and a visit to a
marine innovation research center. Then it’s on to the Barossa Valley
to learn about Australian winemaking and wine tourism, visit an organic
garden and attend a sausage-making workshop at a sheep farm. Further
trips include a tour of McLaren Vale, a cockling excursion on the beach
in Goolwa and a look at the cheese, wine and olive oil made in the
Fleurieu Peninsula. Then it’s a few days on Kangaroo Island to study
seafood like lobster, abalone and freshwater crayfish and learn about
the island’s famous honey made by Ligurian bees imported from Italy in
the 19th century. Throughout the stage, organized with the help of Food
SA and Slow Food SA, students will have the chance to get a truly local
perspective as some nights they will be staying in the homes of Slow
Food members, food and wine producers and volunteers.
-> More information on the Australia stage
After a few days in Delhi, visiting the Khari Baoli and Chandhi Chowk markets and the Taj Mahal, the India
stage group will transfer to Uttaranchal, where they will stay at the
Navdanya organic farm and Bija Vidyapeeth college for earth democracy.
These are part of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and
Ecology, founded by economist and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva.
Each day after early morning yoga the students will study organic
farming, soil ecology, agroecology, the dangers of chemicals and
eco-friendly alternatives to fertilizers and pesticides like composting
and bio-agents. Biodiversity and seed conservation will be important
themes, as will eco-gastronomy, with many practical cooking lessons on
traditional Indian cuisine included in the program. The students will
also have the chance to visit farmers and local farming communities in
the Uttaranchal hills.
-> More information on the India stage
In Japan the focus will be on the country’s rich
culinary traditions and on typical products like rice, sake and beef.
In Nakaniida paddyfields they will learn about an integrated method of
duck and rice production and organic vegetable cultivation, while in
Iwaizumi they will visit a Tankaku cattle farm and taste the
high-quality, low-fat beef that they produce. Soba noodles will be
sampled after a visit to a buckwheat farm, and one day will be spent at
a historic confectioner and tea room learning the secrets of wagashi,
traditional Japanese sweets. Perhaps the most famous Japanese food,
sushi, will be the object of several days of study, with practical
classes in hand-formed nigiri made with tuna, cuttlefish, shrimp,
salmon and conger eel and rolled makimono, as well as a field trip to
Tokyo’s Tsujiki fish market and tuna auction.
-> More information on the Japan stage
Meanwhile the stage in the United States
take the students to California, where they will be based in San
Francisco and the famous wine-producing regions of Napa and Sonoma.
Here they will be immersed in the multi-ethnic food culture and rich
agriculture of one of the USA’s largest states. Study trips include a
trip to a biodynamic farm and a tasting workshop to demonstrate the
effects of different types of soil on produce. Artisanal cheeses,
sustainably oysters and organic jams and marmalades are some of the
products which will be studied, as will farmers’ markets (including the
famous Ferry Plaza market) and sustainable fishing. Throughout the
stage there will be an emphasis on comparing and contrasting, with
visits to large-, medium- and small-scale farms and wineries giving the
students an overall perspective taking in the whole range of
-> More information on the United States stage
These stages are designed to be formative experiences for the
students, giving them not only an in-depth look at the food and
traditions of the specific regions, but also immersing them in a
foreign culture and broadening their horizons. We hope they will return
to Pollenzo ready for the start of their third and final year in the
degree course inspired and enriched by their adventures on stage.
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