I went to an event billed as an “Aperitivo biodiverso”, upstairs at a very fashionable winebar in the heart of fashionable Rome. Laid on by an NGO that works with indigenous people in Ecuador and Peru, it was full. Three young women at a table took my 10 euro contribution. I fought my way through to the bar and got a glass of reasonable dry white wine from this region. Then I looked at the buffet table for signs of biodiversity. Not a thing. Totally ordinary fare. Pizza (red and white!), potato chips, corn chips, breadsticks. Little fried balls that might have been olive ascolane but proved to be rather floury falafels. Oh, and then my eyes lit upon a bowl of a small grain. Quinoa, my heart leapt. But no. Dull old couscous, with carrots in it. A man stood up and made a rambling speech, with a microphone that cut out from time to time. He praised the importance of “vegetal biodiversity” and the work of the NGO. He thanked two guests of honour, who were then presented with garish bouquets of tropical flowers -- biodiversity! -- and left almost before the applause had died down.

One could, of course, have pointed out the biodiversity and global exchange of the food that was presented, but nobody bothered to do so. I felt cheated. Everyone else seemed to be having a good time.

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