Enjoying good food is a fundamental pleasure. But the slow-food movement asks whether "good food" can mean more than simply the flavor and presentation of a meal.

"When we talk about quality food, we mean something that is good to taste but also good in terms of its background,' " said Giacomo Mojoli, former vice president of Slow Food International, an NPO founded in 1989 in Italy, and the current spokesman for Slow Food Italy. Mojoli was in Tokyo recently to attend a symposium titled "Food Culture in the Global Age" organized by another NPO, the Tokyo Foundation.

Mojoli, who has visited Japan more than 20 times, said that every time he comes here, he deepens his understanding about food culture. When he visited green-tea farmers a few years ago, for example, he considered what a travesty it would be were we to lose the quality these local producers bring to the world.