culinary diplomacy

As President Obama recently announced, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, in collaboration with Brand USA, supports the National Travel and Tourism Strategy goal of bringing 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021. In July, five members of the American Chef Corps will travel to East-Asian markets to promote U.S. tourism and agricultural exports.

Antica Rome restaurant opened its first branch in Riyadh in May. Italian Ambassador Mario Bovo and members of the embassy staff were present at the opening.  The ambassador lauded the close bilateral ties.

Anthony Bourdain pays a neighborly visit to the United States' "brother from another mother," the politically complex nation of Mexico, and finds an equally complex type of food. "I think most American’s view of Mexican food is like beans, fried tortilla, melted cheese and some chicken," Bourdain says.

West Africa hasn't competed with the likes of Paris or Barcelona as a culinary destination, but a handful of food lovers there are making inroads to change that. Visitors to Ghana can now sample the work of mixologists who specialize in liquors made with local ingredients. In Bamako, Mali, vinophiles can head to the annual Beaujolais Nouveau wine festival. And in Dakar, Senegal, there's Trio Toque.

December 23, 2013

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared 2013 as the International Year of the Quinoa, a high-protein, grain-like crop from the Andes. Whether consumers of quinoa around the world associate this crop with Peru, a major producer of quinoa, is debatable. Nevertheless, quinoa’s widespread popularity is helping the Peruvian government expand its international presence via culinary diplomacy.

Some will say that after a considerable amount of time, expansion is the first piece of good news coming from Old Lady Europe. However, not everyone is enthusiastic about it, especially in Croatia – the 28th member as of July 1st. To put it more clearly, the very first toast could leave some with a bad taste in their mouth should they make it with prosek – the indigenous Dalmatian dessert wine variety. Accession to the EU could mean – hello EU, goodbye prosek!

New York State is now the yogurt capital of the nation. The state’s chief yogurt promoter, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, claimed victory on Thursday in the battle for national yogurt supremacy, citing state data that showed New York topping California in production for 2012. Hoping to milk the announcement for all it’s worth, Mr. Cuomo’s office issued a nearly 2,100-word statement celebrating New York’s triumph.

The type of bomb used in at least one of the Boston attacks is one that many recent veterans are all too familiar with. It was fashioned out of a pressure cooker. The devices are common in kitchens around the world. Instructions for turning them into bombs are distressingly easy to find. But I hope that their misuse as devices to wound and kill won’t obscure their value for bringing people together.

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