In recent years, Slow Food has undergone significant development in Europe, from local projects to more and more activities characterized by a strong political commitment towards the issues on the European agenda. The starting point is always the virtuous, small-scale food producers and the necessary alliance between them and consumers. The local projects, like the Presidia, which represent a virtuous model for food production, are being joined by important discussions with political decision-makers and a constant campaign of communication with consumers to make them understand that European policies directly affect them and that their actions can be a powerful way of impacting the current food system.
The tenth Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will be an opportunity to showcase these activities.
The Flavors of the Balkans
Bukovo peppers from Macedonia, Permet gliko from Albania, Gledic Crvena Ranka plum rakija from Serbia: Three new Presidia, which along with over 150 other Ark of Taste products will be giving visitors a chance to journey through the Balkans and Turkey within a large exhibition space covering over 170 square meters. Slow Food’s involvement with this part of the world has become increasing structured, thanks to the ESSEDRA project [www.essedra.com]. The project involves eight countries from the region, home to an enormous heritage of biodiversity, from mountain cheeses to spirits and wines, from jams and preserves to medicinal herbs and seasonings.
Promoting this immense wealth will be chefs Altin and Anton Prenga, pioneers of the Albanian restaurant scene, who will be presenting their gastronomic culture, one of the most vivid and interesting in the region, at the Terra Madre Kitchen.
Co-funded by the European Commission, the ESSEDRA projects aims to strengthen the civil society of the “new Europe” through the formation of a network of associations that support rural communities in the Balkan area, with the safeguarding of biodiversity as a primary objective.
ESSEDRA at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre:
Exhibition space of over 170 square meters in the Oval
The Cheeses of the Mediterranean
Within the LACTIMED project, five regions from around the Mediterranean basin—Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Thessaly in Greece and Sicily in Italy—are working together to promote their traditional and local cheese production. During the Salone del Gusto, it will be possible to meet the producers, taste and buy their cheeses and find out how, from a common starting point, these area’s traditions and customs diversified over the centuries. Thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of opportunities for producers who want to process milk, particularly in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, but they must think carefully about which path to follow: Should they give tradition a future, or be inspired by the international cheesemaking industry? The LACTIMED space offers some possible responses.
Coordinated by Anima Investment Network, the LACTIMED project aims to promote Mediterranean dairy by encouraging the production and distribution of both typical and innovative cheeses.
LACTIMED at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre
The LACTIMED space will cover 200 square meters inside the Oval pavilion. To find out the program of events, check the project’s website just before the Salone del Gusto.
The European Commission
For Europe, issues relating to agriculture, fishing, food hygiene, the protection of agrobiodiversity and support for rural communities, as well as the health of citizens, are of central importance. Uniquely, four of the European Commission’s Directorates-General—Environment, Health and Consumers, Agriculture and Rural Development, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries—will be participating in the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre. This indicates an increasingly held conviction at a European level that it is necessary to move towards a more sustainable food system and that direct experience of food can convey important messages about the environment, animal welfare, food waste and biodiversity.
The European Commission at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre:
The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers will have a stand covering 100 square meters, while the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will have a dedicated space close to the Slow Fish area.
Conferences with European Commission participation:
Europe’s presence at the Salone does not end here. Representatives from European civil society organizations (Arche Noah, Greenpeace, Oxfam, etc.) will also be participating, along with Members of the European Parliament.
The exhibition areas for the Balkans and Mediterranean macro-areas have been created thanks to funding from European institutions.