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Nationalization and Globalization Trends in the Wild Mushroom Commerce of Italy with Emphasis on Porcini (Boletus edulis and Allied Species)

Professional Consulting Mycologist Loc. Farné 39—I-40042 Lizzano in Belvedere Italy
Economic Botany (Impact Factor: 0.77). 11/2008; 62(3):307-322. DOI: 10.1007/s12231-008-9037-4

ABSTRACT Nationalization and Globalization Trends in the Wild Mushroom Commerce of Italy with Emphasis on Porcini (
Boletus edulis
and Allied Species). This paper presents an historical overview of wild mushroom commerce in Italy, with a focus on recent trends in the production
of porcini (Boletus edulis and closely allied species). Over the past century, two major trends—nationalization and globalization—have been apparent
in the wild mushroom commerce of Italy. First, a simplified national mushroom menu has emerged through processes of governmental
regulation and culinary fashion, but it has come at the expense of differing, localized mushroom traditions which may suffer
under the European Union’s free trade principles. Second, Italy has emerged as a focal point of a global market for a small
number of mushroom species—particular porcini. While the name porcini has become synonymous with Italian cuisine, and in spite
of a vibrant tradition of recreational mushroom collecting in Italy, most of the porcini commercially available in Italy or
exported by Italy are no longer of Italian origin. Porcini and other mushrooms now flow into Italy from all over the world—especially
from China and eastern Europe—and are then often exported as “Italian porcini.” This globalization of the wild mushroom trade,
while offering significant income to rural producers and processors around the globe, has other effects as well, for example,
a kind of national branding as “Italian” of globally-produced products, of which porcini is one, that is in direct opposition
to some of the European Union’s rules for regional denominations.

Processi di Nazionalizzazione e Globalizzazione nel Commercio Italiano dei Funghi spontanei, con Particolare Riguardo ai Porcini
(
Boletus edulis
e Specie Affini). Questo articolo presenta una panoramica storica sul commercio dei funghi spontanei in Italia, con particolare riguardo alle
recenti tendenze nella produzione dei porcini (Boletus edulis e specie affini). Nello scorso secolo si sono osservate due tendenze principali—di nazionalizzazione e di globalizzazione—nel
commercio dei funghi spontanei in Italia. In primo luogo si è affermata nel territorio nazionale una tradizione limitata al
consumo di un numero contenuto di specie, sia per effetto di alcune normative che di mode culinarie, ma ciò è avvenuto a discapito
di tradizioni locali più ricche, che potrebbero ulteriormente risentire dei principi per il libero scambio all’interno dell’Unione
Europea. In secondo luogo, l’Italia si è posta in evidenza come un punto nodale per il mercato globale di alcune specie fungine,
in particolare dei porcini. Nonostante quest’ultimo termine sia tradizionalmente associato alla cucina italiana, e nonostante
esista in Italia una vivace e radicata tradizione nella raccolta amatoriale dei funghi, la maggior parte dei porcini ivi commercializzati
(allo stato fresco, essiccati o variamente conservati) o esportati verso altri paesi non sono più di origine locale. I porcini
e altre specie fungine giungono attualmente in Italia da ogni parte del mondo—in modo particolare dalla Cina e dall’Europa
orientale—e sono successivamente spesso esportati come “prodotti Italiani.” Questo processo di globalizzazione del mercato
dei funghi spontanei, pur offrendo un significativo introito ai raccoglitori e commercianti rurali su tutto il globo, è responsabile
di altri effetti, come per l’appunto una sorta di marchio nazionale “Italiano” su alcuni prodotti di provenienza globale,
come per l’appunto i porcini, cosa che contrasta con alcune delle regole dell’Unione Europea in materia di denominazioni regionali.

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