Cittaslow grew out of the "Slow Food" movement, which itself started in Italy
in 1986 as a reaction to a "fast food" restaurant opening in Rome. This movement
is now hugely successful with 50,000 members worldwide, cherishing local food
and traditions. Each group is known as a "Convivium" and Slow Food Aylsham was
formed in August 2004, with the minimum 5 members - now grown to 23. The
Convivium arranges events for both its members and the whole community -
Aylsham's Big Slow Breakfasts (2 a year) - using local produce, Fairtrade tea
and coffee - provide the opportunity for leisurely eating, good conversation and
chance to read the Sunday newspapers. These events are already famous within the
Slow Food movement.
The principles had subsequently been applied to quality of life, and all that
is "special" to a town, beginning in Italy, hence the name Cittaslow - "A town
where the living is good" - for both residents and visitors.
The independent assessment of the town's characteristics against very
stringent criteria provides an internationally recognised seal of approval for
the quality of life the town provides. The scheme emphasises and celebrates
local distinctiveness such as good quality local food and drink, traditional
skills, heritage, environmental quality and hospitality, to encourage people to
take time to consider and appreciate the quality of their surroundings. Aylsham
joined the Cittaslow movement in November 2004, and in doing so, became the
second UK Cittaslow (the first was Ludlow in 2002).
During summer 2005, the Carnival was successfully re-introduced after a break
of seven years. It proved to be a springboard for a series of ongoing community
Being a Cittaslow enabled 12 GCSE Catering Students from Aylsham High School
to travel to Orvieto in October 2005 to cook an English dinner as one of the
events of Orvieto con Gusto, the town's annual week-long food festival. The
students rose to all the challenges and they have all gone on to either further
training or employment in the catering industry. The original Cittaslow Working
Group is now a full Committee of the Town Council -the Cittaslow Committee.
Membership includes Town, District and County Councillors and representatives of
many local groups.
For further information contact; Maureen Reynolds, Clerk of Aylsham Town
Council (see Town Council information for contact details).