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Sri Lanka. Ancient civilizations and abundant nature

Culture / -

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, corresponding to the previous state of Ceylon, is famous for its tea plantations and spices. Cradle of ancient civilizations, it boasts a stunning archaeological heritage and an extremely rich natural biodiversity. It participates in Expo Milano 2015 from the Fruits and Legumes Cluster and will celebrate its National Day on Thursday October 22.

Previously known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is a jewel hanging from the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent like a tropical dew-drop. Famous for its varieties of tea and cinnamon, the island bears many traces of its millennial civilization and today is a shining example not only of economic growth and development, but also of social and cultural progress. In recent decades the country has succeeded in reducing its dependence on plantation agriculture and developing a wider economic fabric. This path has also led to its population becoming one of the best educated among Developing Countries. Its cities in coastal areas are technologically modern and innovative, while its mountainous interior maintains its wild heart and spectacularly florid tropical forests. 
 
Food security through development
 
Sri Lanka today is the result of a lengthy transition which from the latter part of the twentieth century until the present has led it out of a plantation economy into a broader model of constant development. Previously tea, cinnamon and rubber were its main products, having been introduced by the British colonizers. Exported all over the world, both tea and spices remain major sources of income, but these have been joined by many other crops which ensures the country’s inhabitants a more dependable food supply. Since the 1990s, the production of rice has practically doubled, to compensate for the increased population, whose growth rate has now stabilized.
 
Production of almost all food crops and productions has risen significantly, including aquaculture and stock breeding… the latter, in Sri Lanka, is generally combined with coconut plantation, with herds grazing in the shadow of the palm trees. As well as this agricultural development, the industrial and mining sectors too have played a fundamental role in creating modern Sri Lanka, and as a result the country is now famous for its textile industry and its jewelry sector. In recent years tourism has also developed notably, thanks to the country’s extraordinary cultural and naturalistic heritage, recognized with no less than eight UNESCO heritage sites: the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, the Fortress of Sigiriya, the ancient capital Anuradhapura, the cities of Galle and Polonnaruwa, the underground Temple of Dambulla, the Sinharaja Forest and the Central Highlands.
 
A multicultural cuisine
 
The complex millennial history of Sri Lanka is characterized by a succession of empires and rulers. This process has deposited multiple layers in the country’s culture, leaving elements of Hindu, Buddhist, Arab, Chinese and European influence. Consequently, this deep multicultural nature has shaped the nation’s extremely refined cuisine, enriched by its abundant tropical spices and fruit. As throughout Asia, rice provides the foundation of all meals, but comes with a huge variety of accompaniments – frequently curries – including vegetables, meat or fish, or even cooked “Dutch style”, with meatballs. Delicious desserts and fruit juices are numerous and varied.
 
 
 

Hungary. Water: thirst-quenching, flowing and germinating

Culture / -

© Kimberly WalkerroberthardingCorbis

October 23 is Hungary’s National Day in Expo Milano 2015. This Eastern European country has chosen to base its participation on an extremely simple, common and fundamental element: water.

Hungary is an Eastern European country bisected by the Danube River, which at 2,800 kilometers, is the continent’s second longest river. Hungary is mostly composed of plains, which as well as the Danube are home to the River Tisza, regulated by a series of dams which make it navigable while also generating electricity. It also boasts the famed Lake Balaton, a significant presence in terms of tourism and wealth. Hungary enjoys a continental climate, given its absence of coastline, but its temperatures are mostly mild, thanks to air currents from both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This climate ensures extensive and flourishing vegetation and both deciduous and coniferous woodlands. Despite this, January is always an exceptionally cold month, when the average temperature slides below freezing.
 
A wine originating from a World Heritage region
Agriculture is a growth sector in Hungary, an activity carried out largely by small farms. Over 50% of the country’s area is cultivated: one of the highest percentages in Europe, thanks to which its yield comfortably covers national food needs and leaves a significant amount for exportation. Corn, used mainly as forage, plus wheat, and also barley and rye, are the country’s main crops. Fruit production, particularly apples, plums and apricots, is also widespread and abundant. And mention must be made of the wine-making region of Tokaj-Hegyalja, declared a World Heritage region by UNESCO and birthplace of one of the world’s great wines: Tokaj.
 
A country with its heart set on preserving water and defending natural products
The participation of Hungary in Expo Milano 2015 is based above all on the importance of the quintessential natural resource: water. The theme of the country’s participation is “From the purest source”, and the aim is to present the virtues of natural and thermal mineral water. Hungary also consistently calls attention to its clear and committed decision in favor of organic farming and against GMOs, and it runs a particularly precise traceability system for its food products. Its Pavilion spreads across 1,910 square meters. Inside, its rich content shows visitors its impressive achievements in sustainability, food quality and the quest for rationalizing the use of water.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Holy See, food represents our relationship with God

Cultura / -

 
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Caravaggio Cena in Emmaus / Supper at Emmaus
Tintoretto Moltiplicazione dei pani e dei pesci / The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes
Giotto Nozze di Cana / Marriage at Cana
Leonardo da Vinci Ultima Cena / Last supper
Giotto Isacco che respinge Esaù / Isaac Rejecting Esau 
Tiziano Adamo ed Eva / Adam and Eve

From the apple of Adam and Eve, the Bible is brimming with references to food, the body and the soul. So much so that the greatest artists of all time have represented it through their immortal works.

Over a million people are already #FoodConscious. What about you?

The ExpoNet Manifesto