How does climate change affect the culinary traditions and arts of which European countries are proud?
Indications are that in the long run, there will be profound changes, and farmers in northern Europe may find that they can grow the food crops that were usually grown in the south, and the Italian polenta may invade Germany.
European countries, notably Italy and France, are proud of their gastronomy and jealous of the rules that guard their traditions. The parliament of the French city of Toulouse granted Roquefort, the most famous type of blue cheese, special protection in 1550.
The fact that the source of a food product was grown somewhere famous is traditionally seen as a guarantee of its quality, but climate change may change that, according to a report published by the magazine “The Economist” (Economist).
Consider, for example, the famous Italian polenta made from cornmeal, which Italian chefs may have to import corn from other countries to make when their country’s corn yield is low due to high temperatures and dry weather.
low wheat yields
What about the durum wheat that grows abundantly in the lands of the Mediterranean and is used to make pasta, bread and couscous?
Forecasts indicate that wheat yields will decline significantly in those regions if temperatures continue to rise.
Pasta lovers worried
So does that mean spaghetti lovers should worry about its future? Gabriele Cola, a researcher at Milan University in Italy, is optimistic that this will not happen in the short term.
“I don’t see that agricultural crops are in great danger, because the field of agriculture has more knowledge and capacity in terms of technology, so it can always respond to changes,” she says.
The Economist report finds that increased irrigation could help withstand the effects of drought, and scientists may also plant varieties of crops that are better able to withstand climate change.
Italian polenta may invade Germany
However, indications suggest that in the long term there will be profound changes in agricultural crops. If temperatures rise too high, farmers in northern Europe may find that they can grow the food crops traditionally grown in the south, and polenta may invade Germany, and southerners will have to adapt.