Coffee & Gastrodiplomacy

Some of you asked me what is gastrodiplomacy after the interview I gave to Comunicaffè and the stories I have posted on my Instagram profile. And I am glad this word made you curious. I have Always loved this concept and I have made one year research for this theme when I was attending my master course. Well once you get the concept I am sure it will be very fascinating for all of you.

Basically gastrodiplomacy is a concept that came from two combined words as it’s easiy to understand: gastronomy + diplomacy. Some of the call it also food diplomacy, gastro-politics and so on but the concept remains the same. Gastrodiplomacy referes to all the activities taken in the frame of so called “soft diplomacy”.

Soft diplomacy include among this initiative not only food but also culture, art, sport, music… It basically means activities tanne in order to connect people and make different cultures come closer. Sport is one of the most powerful tools we have to connect people all around the globe: just think about Olympic games. In ancient times Olympic games where carried on during a period of peace. Wars were stopped and then after the games continues. But that time of the year it was something sacred, only sport and competition, only physical exchange among different cultures.

Food and coffee – in our case – is something that works in the same way. Many years ago, around 2010-2013 Korea started a huge and massive campaign of soft diplomacy. For decades we had never thought about Korea and then it was suddenly am explosion of Korean music, kimchi and kombucha referring to food and so on. Thin about it. How powerful could be this.

Coffee is the same. How many drinks (and brewing methods) come from different cultures and, without even noticing this, we are enclosing them (drinks and cultures) in our daily life: matcha, flat white, cortado, chai, syphon and..ibrik of course!

You know my love for ibrik. So let me explain you how ibrik connects different cultures and a wide list of states, all so different. Ibrik comes from the Middle East/Arabic culture and way of living. Then through the years of the Ottoman Empire for logic reasons, the Turkish army and population that moved into other regions of Europe brought with theselves the copper pots called ibriz/cezve. When the occupation ended, and state after state declared the indipendency, the coffee culture has been so deep with solid roots that it was “normal” to consider it as part of the cultural Heritage we received until nowadays.

I loved drinking ibrik coffee when I was little and we travelled through the Balkans on the road with my family (eheh low cost companies didn’t exist and ferries were not so easy to be booked as it is now). I rememeber when we were in Romania, I was 8 and my grandma stopped there at a rest area. She took too much time and we were a little bit worried. We found her sitting with other two ladies drinking coffee sorrounded by chickens, cats and other animals in the backyard of the gas station. Just with a cup of coffee…They offered us Romanian delights and we continued our journey.

The same happened when I was travelling in Turkey, the last time five years ago, in Bodrum, before in Istanbul. But I can name other places where I Always find easy to connect to people through a cup of ibrik coffee.

This is exactly what I mean that coffee connects us.

I don’t know if it is true but I have read that it’s common for the Turkish people to say that:

“a cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship”.

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