“Luxurious Simplicity”

Self-sufficient food production in Italian ecovillages

Authored by: Alice Brombin

The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Food and Gastronomy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415702553
eBook ISBN: 9780203795699
Adobe ISBN: 9781134457335


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Luxury and simplicity are concepts usually considered contradictory especially in the context of food consumption and food products. The success of Italian culture is undeniably linked to the production of luxury goods known worldwide. Products associated with Italian brands and labels are indicators not only of quality but also of distinction. In the field of food, wine is a good example of these associations. The Pinot Gray, Tuscan Chianti, and Prosecco di Valdobbiadene fall within the category of luxury not only because of the high prices for which they are sold but also for the fame associated with the brand and with a specific design, making these wines immediately recognizable. The consumption of these products requires a distinguished knowledge that is frequently a prerogative of expertise requiring an educated taste. Conversely, simple food is non-label associated and locally produced in farms. It is inexpensive food, carrying with it the ability to enter any household. It is anonymous, with no character or specific taste corresponding to it. Simple food is not associated with luxury, therefore it does not offer any relevant history or reputation to the consumer and is not associated with rituals or narratives that add meaning to personal identity.

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