Located between the Alps and the Ligurian Apennines, Piedmont made its modern culinary mark in 1986, when, in response to a McDonald's opening in Rome, Carlo Petrini, a resident of the Piedmont town of Bra and now the head of Italy's Slow Food organization, balked and started a campaign to reclaim "the Italian way of life"—food grown from nearby farms, chemical-free harvesting practices, and traditional cooking. But Piedmont's culinary timbre was formed centuries ago. The region changed hands between the French and Italians numerous times after the 1500s, and many historians point out that, because of this, the cuisine here is heavily influenced by the French. It's peasant food, yes, but refined, and not shy about butter, cream, and cheese (see "The Cheeses of Piedmont"). It helps that the geography, a combination of flat plains and mountainous terrain, has plenty of pastures for grazing cattle, sheep, and goats.