World leaders attending the UN food summit in Rome settled down today to a “modest” lunch in order not to be accused of “hypocrisy” as they were at the last world food summit six years ago.
Lobster, goose and foie gras have given way to pasta, mozzarella, spinach and sweetcorn. “It does not look good if leaders discussing global starvation are seen to be dining lavishly,” an official of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. “At the last summit in 2002 we did not give enough thought to the menu and were open – unfairly, in our view – to the charge of hypocrisy.”
The summit six years ago aimed to halve the number of the world’s hungry by 2015. Like this week’s meeting, it was held amid tight security at the FAO’s palatial headquarters, housed in the former Fascist Ministry for the African Empire near the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.
The 2002 menu, published by The Times, began with foie gras on toast with kiwi fruit and lobster in vinaigrette, followed by fillet of goose with olives and seasonal vegetables and ending with a compote of fruit with vanilla, all accompanied by an array of fine wines.
This time the catering was scaled down. Leaders first ate vol au vent stuffed with sweetcorn and mozzarella, followed by a pasta dish with a sauce of pumpkin and shrimps, and then veal meatballs and cherry tomatoes, with a fruit salad and vanilla ice-cream for dessert. The wine was a “straightforward but very acceptable Orvieto Classico”, officials said.