There is a stirsh emerging this week in the Barossa Valley as the kings of obesity promotion McDonalds wish to open in Nurioopta.
On one side of the argument course is the fine food promoters who have done so much to profile it as a regional food hub.
Television food presenter and Barossa food brand Maggie Beer told AdelaideNow, “We need to protect the culture of the Valley that brings us so many tourists.”
And she finds it hard to see the region promoted as a serious foodie destination with the golden arches protruding so prominently.
Another creator of the great cooking culture in the Valley is the Lehmann family. I can recall one occasion when telephoning the Lehmann household Peter Lehmann had a monster 40 kilogram Murray cod on the kitchen table under serious preparation.
Margaret Lehmann says, “it’s out of place here, and it’s sad. We have a wonderful, unique food culture but McDonalds is exactly the same everywhere in the world; it irons out the differences that regions produce.”
Of course this fast food organisation is the opposite to the wine and food tourism fabric of the Valley where Food Barossa put local, carefully grown produce on a pedestal of being low-input, flavoursome and unique.
Jan Angus of Food Barossa goes on to say that 10 years of profiling the region has now been threatened; with McDonalds being seen as the high point and visible icon of globalisation of a once fragile, local food economy. In the Barossa that has all changed with great efforts.
On the other side are the young palates who could not give a toss about regional food, and who have to drive further than they need to find a BigMac. There is a 763 member Facebook group wishing McDonalds to come to town, and no doubt it will grow.
Meanwhile the eco-gastronome group Slow Food has successfully campaigned against an application for McDonalds to establish an outlet in the western Sydney suburb of Haberfield on December 8.
The Ashfield council has quashed this application after given more negative support when SlowFood creator Carlo Petrini visited the site last October.
Petrini is notorious for his antipathy towards McDonalds and this globalisation target was the reason for his founding this non fast food society 20 years ago. www.slowfoodaustralia.com.au
Meanwhile we wait to see if the same rejection comes from the Barossa Valley Council.
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