“Eat local and you’ll find foods which are never exported,” enthuses Lironi. “You’ll find foods which are only made in that region. If you aren’t buying from supermarkets, but from market stalls or local shops, you’re going to get food from sea or fields within just a few kilometres.” The fresher the mozzarella, the better – so mozzarella is always better in Italy than in the UK, three days after making. Ditto Scottish scallops, say, or Fin de Claire oysters shucked at a shack in Marennes.
In a material and increasingly digital world, we’re learning to value experiences as much if not more than possessions. Meals make memories – not just of food, but of our companions and our conversations whose recollection may one day be rekindled via that same flavour or smell. We want memories, not cheap souvenirs. We want to feel connected; not through an app or an algorithm, but through breaking bread, clinking our glasses together – and being immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of being abroad.
The Female Chef by Clare Finney won Fortnum and
Mason’s Debut Book Award last year. Her next book
Hungry Heart, an exploration of food and love, was
shortlisted for the Jane Grigson Award and is published
by Quarto in June 2023.