The closure of McDonald’s in Altamura, Apulia, was hailed yesterday as a victory for European cuisine against globalised fast food.
Luigi Digesù, the baker, said that he had not set out to force McDonald’s to close down in any “bellicose spirit”. He had merely offered the 65,000 residents tasty filled panini — bread rolls — which they overwhelmingly preferred to hamburgers and chicken nuggets. “It is a question of free choice,” Signor Digesú said.
His speciality fillings include mortadella, mozzarella and eggs or scamorza cheese, eggs, basil and tomato, as well as fédda, a local version of bruschetta [...].
McDonald’s opened [...] in 2001, infuriating devotees of traditional Apulia gastronomy [...]. They campaigned against McDonald’s as the Friends of Cardoncello, named after a southern Italian mushroom. [...]
“There was no marketing strategy, no advertising promotion, no discounts,” Il Giornale commented. “It was just that people decided the baker’s products were better. David has beaten Goliath.”
The queues outside the bakery grew longer while McDonald’s gradually emptied, despite the best efforts of Ronald McDonald, the mascot clown, changes of management, children’s parties and special offers.
06 January 2006