Food Communities at Terra Madre Balkans
05 Jul 10
This community operates in the district of Përmet, a region 230 kilometers (140 miles) from Tirana near the border with Greece and the World War II Italo-Greek front. The area is known for its production of wine, raki (a grappa-like spirit), and cheese, specifically kaqkavall (a pressed-curd sheep-milk cheese made with natural rennet), dhjath and bardhe (a brined feta-like cheese). Two other interesting products are gliko (a mixed preserve made with plums, watermelon, grapes, walnuts, cherries and eggplant) and rosewater (Përmet is also known as the city of roses). During the troubles of recent years the region was hard hit, triggering a significant drop in population and severe economic recession.
Production area: Përmet
Community coordinator: Nikolla Vasillaq
tel. +355 682081334
Elbasan olive oil producers
Three associations of 380 olive growers from the municipalities of Shirgjan, Gostime, Belesh, and Mollas came together to form the FBE (Agricultural Federation of Elbasan), with the goal of improving and developing the district’s local products, particularly olive oil. Three cooperative olive mills are now in operation, equipped with small-to-medium continuous-cycle presses. After acidity analysis, the oil is stored in stainless steel cans in which it decants naturally. Member producers grow mainly local varieties of olives: koker madhe, elbasanit and mixan. Olive-oil production is a long-standing practice in Elbasan, as restified to by the old wooden presses and clay storage jars that are found in the cellars of historic houses and the existence of the traditional sweet, fuli, made with olive oil.
Production area: Shirgjan, Gostime, Belesh, and Mollas, district of Elbasan
Community coordinator: Dhimiter Piligriu
tel. +355 682299269
Situated at an altitude of 1,250 meters, Lepushe is the highest village in the Albanian Alps, hence in the country. After the emigration of its young people, its 70 remaining residents continue to produce cheese, raki (a plum distillate), sauerkraut, potatoes, and caj (infusion of wild herbs). One distinctive dairy product is mishavin, a fermented cow-milk cheese that, along with sauerkraut, pork and raki, provides sustenance during the bitter Alpine winters. Jardun is made from salted sheep milk, thickened by slow cooking, and eaten primarily by children. Raki, a ritual drink par excellence, is made using red plums harvested in October, left to ferment for a month, then distilled. The infusion herbs, dried in the dark, include oregano and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum maculatum).
Production area: Lepushe, district of Shkoder
Community coordinator: Gjystina Grishaj
tel. +382 169586403
While being one of Europe’s most stunning mountain regions, with one of the most distinctive cultural landscapes, Thethi suffers from a high level of environmental degradation and depopulation. Of the 249 families living in the village of Thethi in 1991, today only 60 are left, of which just eight stay also during the winter. This community produces several traditional products, from raki – a local brandy made from plums or various other fruits, to honey. Products are either self-consumed or sold in local markets. Of great interest is their production of white flour, obtained from a local variety of maize and that is ground in local water-driven mills.
Production area: Thethi, Shkoder
Community Coordinator: Rupa Mark
Tel. +355 692 039696
Lezhe Honey producers
The Qendra Rajonale Bletarise is an association of beekeepers and young people committed to developing the land and traditional produce of the northern Albanian countryside. This group was established through the producers’ associations’ experience and connections, and produces high-quality honeys (including a renowned wild sage honey), as well as improving the beekeepers’ working conditions. The QRB also works to improve honey production and processing standards, given the somewhat contradictory phenomenon of a sophisticated product with no production-chain certification. The presence of a number of professionals (agronomists, veterinarians, beekeepers, marketing and trade experts) within the association has allowed what has been a traditional and widespread industry to take on a more active role on the local food scene. Honey making is now a strong point of the Lezhe community and provides the base for an improvement in the quality of honey products throughout northern Albania. The association has direct contacts with approximately 50 beekeepers and periodically gets in touch with around 300 round the region, hence with their families who are frequently involved in the beekeeping activities.
Production area: Lezhe
Community coordinator: Lleshi Gezim
tel. +355 682822613
BOSNIA - HERZEGOVINA
Sir iz mijeha Presidium
Sir iz Mijeha (“cheese in a sack”) from Herzegovina is characterized by the large chestnut-colored sheepskin sack that encases it. The size of the sheep itself, whose skin provides the casing for the cheese, dictates the size of the finished product, which ranges from thirty to seventy kilograms. It is the container, “the sack”, that makes this product unique. Traditionally from Herzegovina, Sir iz Mijeha is produced with raw sheep milk or cow milk, or a combination of the two. The portion of sheep milk comes from the Pramenka, a heritage sheep breed prized for its milk, meat and wool, is white with black heads and legs. The cow milk comes from two native breeds – the Busa and the Gatacka – which were once common throughout Bosnia Herzegovina, but have now been largely replaced by imported breeds. The Busa, which has been present in the Balkans since the Neolithic period, is a small, hardy cow well suited to the area’s harsh environment and severe winters. Usually the Busa’s coat is gray, chestnut red and sometimes black (with a darker dorsal stripe). The Gatacka is a cross between the Busa and Tyrolian gray bulls brought to Herzegovina to the Gatacka region in 1906. Slightly larger than the Busa, it is characterized by its gray coat. Shortly after milking, it is filtered with a cotton cloth and immediately processed. Coagulation takes about an hour and a half after the rennet is added and the curd settles at the bottom. Using a large ladle, the curd is broken into walnut-sized lumps to facilitate the draining of whey. The mass is then arranged on a cloth and pressed with a stone for about 12 hours. Later, the curd is broken again by hand, salted and packed into the sheepskin using a stick (the curds must pressed into the bottom of the sack to avoid forming air pockets, which results in undesirable fermentation). It takes many days to fill a sack since such a large quantity of high quality milk is required. Once filled, the sack is sealed shut and placed in a cool place suitable for aging. The aging period varies between two and three months. Preparation of the sack requires a particular technique: the sheep must be slaughtered without damaging the skin, shorn and washed with boiling water and whey. When the sack is dry, the feet and the neck are tied and it is filled with air. It is then hung to dry in an area used for smoking meats. The sack is washed a second time and dried in open air until it becomes supple. The cheese becomes white or pale yellow once aged. In Herzegovina, it is traditionally served as a first course, accompanied with boiled potatoes or with ham and ustipici (fried dumplings). The Presidium The presidium was founded in collaboration with the Province of Arezzo and Ucodep, an Italian NGO operating in South East Europe and forms part of the project “Taste of Herzegovina”, sponsored by the Tuscan Regional Government. The Presidium is now part of a project for the “Protection and development of traditional and valued farm products of Herzegovina”, developed by the NGO Ucodep and CEFA, with several institutional and technical partners. Among Italian partners, the Associazione nazionale per la tutela e la valorizzazione dei formaggi sotto il cielo (ANFOSC) makes a fundamental technical contribution to the realization of the activities. The cheese is currently produced in three ways: with cow’s milk (in winter), with sheep’s milk (in summer) and with a mixture of both. In an initial phase, the presidium will create an association of producers. Later, a production protocol will be developed to establish regulations in order to obtain a consistent, recognizable product of high quality. Production will need to be reviewed to ensure that producers can operate according to regulations and market the cheese. By promoting this cheese, the presidium hopes to safeguard the two native breeds: the Pramenka (sheep) and the Gatacka-Busa (cow).
Production area: Six villages in Herzegovina
Tel: +387 65 343 978
Tel/Fax: +387 36 552 376
Project Partner: Ucodep
Farming services of the Tuscan Regional Government
Province of Arezzo
Council for Research and Experimentation in Farming (CRA)
ANFOSC (National Cheese Association Sotto il Cielo) of Potenza
Agrarian Faculty the University of Sarajevo
Association of farmers of the Municipality of Nevesinje
Ministry of Farming of Srpska Republic and Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina
Pozegaca plum slatko Presidium
Slatko, is the name for a preserve made of sweet, firm, whole peeled plums packed in dense sugar syrup made throughout Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. The whole process, from peeling to packing, is handmade. The plums are first washed and then peeled; then, the peeled plums are placed in a saturated solution of water and lime for about 45 minutes to firm up their flesh. Next, the pits are removed using a steel needle or skewer so that the plums keep their shape and stay whole. The peeled and pitted plums are boiled in a clear sugar syrup flavored with lemon slices. The conserve may also be varied by flavoring the syrup with cloves, or by adding walnuts or almonds into the pitted plums, according to the maker’s recipe. The city of Goradze, about 120 kilometers southeast of Sarajevo, straddles the Drina River and is surrounded by a low mountain range that touches the border of Serbia and Montenegro. After II World War, this formerly agricultural region became a choice spot for big industrial complex manufacturing weapons and chemical products. The last decade events caused the destruction of these industries, and unemployment soon soared to over 80 percent. Gorazde was also one of the hardest hit regions during the war in the '90s. The Upper Drina Valley has always been a fruit-producing area, but the role of agriculture has become quite irrelevant for the economy after industrialization. Now, in the aftermath of the war, they are trying to recover the old orchards and plant new ones. While Slatko was once produced only in private homes, local women are now producing it for income. Pozegaca plums, a particularly robust local ecotype of Prunus insistitia, are the main ingredient of Slatko. In the Upper Drina Valley, the first crop of Pozegaca plums is eaten out of hand, while the second crop, harvested towards mid-September, is used for making Slatko and Slivovitz, a popular distillate. When picking the plums for Slatko, the women of Goradze look for fully ripe fruits that are small and have slightly shriveled skin at the stem end, which makes them easier to peel. Once preserved, the plums have a wonderful light, creamy texture and a sweet flavor reminiscent of Turkish rose jam that pairs well with various cheeses. Locally, it is eaten alongside kaymak, rich unpasteurized double cream, with crumbly sheep feta, or by itself in specially designed cups that hold a single whole plum to be served alongside tiny cups of dark Turkish coffee. The Presidium Currently a small group of women produce Slatko, but the group will expand with the success of the project. They have worked with several older women in Goradze to find the most traditional recipe, and their Slatko is cooked over a wooden fire in the town of Filipovici (Ustikolina- Gorazde), with Pozegaca plums grown in that area. In November 2005, with the assistance of the Italian NGO CEFA (European Committee for Agricultural Development), that signaled Slatko to Slow Food, the producers constituted the EMINA association, whose aim is safeguarding and promoting traditional culture. Supported by the Agropodrinje Cooperative, the project technical partner, the producers have started selling Slatko in Sarajevo (two supermarket chains) and they will attempt the way of exportation.
Production area: Ustikolina, Drina Valley
+387 619 36 48
Tel. +387 (0)61 206467
This community includes 30 or so dairy farmers on the Livansko Polje plain and a smaller number in the Glamoc region. The cheese is produced according to a tradition that survives from the 1800s in the Cicar mountains and the Livno plateau, Tomislavgrad and Glamoc. It is made with Pramenka sheep plus a 20% addition of cow milk. The sheep are only milked a few days every year, from mid to late May and from early to mid October. The milk used is generally raw, though some cheesemakers pasteurize it. This sheep’s cheese has the typical aroma and taste of the typology is eaten both on its own and grated on soup. Sliced very thinly, it is often served with smoked cured meats. A Protection Consortium is planned to be set up in collaboration with Ucodep, an NGO.
Production Area: Livno
Community Coordinator: Baković Jozo
tel. 00387 63403 033
Trebinje poljak bean growers
The Petrovo Polje cooperative is made up of around 50 producers of wine, cheese and vegetables, particularly beans, in the Trebinje region on the Croation border. The Poljak bean is a dwarf variety, wrinkled and variously colored. Albeit in different shapes and colors, the bean is found in every country in the Balkans, particularly in the hot, arid regions of Dalmatia and Herzegovina, where it was widespread until 20 years ago. It is a hardy plant, needing neither feeding nor irrigation, which, in certain vegetative phases, reduce its growth. The cheese of the region is called škripavac, made with Pramenka sheep raw milk or a blend of milks, the name deriving from the noise it makes when it is chewed.
Production Area: Trebinje
Community Coordinator: Gordana Radovanović
tel. +387 65577271
Beekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina is historically very widespread, largely because of the high degree of plant biodiversity in the country (Bosnia is home to more than half the plant species in all the Balkans). Hence the production of honeys with the most diverse organoleptic and nutritional properties. The Žalfija Cooperative operates in the area of Trebinje, which straddles Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, and was hard hit by the war in the 1990s. Thanks to the support of Ucodep, an NGO, this cooperative receives training and technical assistance and has drawn up a honey production protocol and bought the equipment necessary to package the product properly. Founded in 2005 with the goal of reviving beekeeping in Herzegovina, Žalfija comprises 48 members and more than 160 affiliates in six municipalities in eastern Herzegovina. Of the most important products of this community, the so-called ‘vernal’ honey is one of the most interesting. Produced in just one area of Trebinje, it has a characteristic flavor due to the presence in the area of of a distinctive sage variety.
Production Area: Trebinje
Community Coordinator: Kozjak Rade
tel. +387 59273810
Travnik cheese producers
Travnik cheese boasts a a long tradition, exclusively in the region of Mount Vlasic. It is produced using local-breed sheep (Pramenka) and cow (Busa) milk, and the rennet is made according to a secret recipe: the only known detail is that 17 different animal and vegetable substances go into it. The fresh curd, a mass of about 20 kilos, is cut into cubes of one or two kilos, which are then brined in characteristic wooden containers. Only in the Travnik area is the cheese packaged like this; for commercialization, it is cut into pieces of about 500 grams and put into plastic bags with its brine. A breeders’ association, Eco-Vlasic, controls cheesemaking and sales. Some of the cheese produced will soon be certified as organic.
Production Area: Travnik
Community Coordinator: Dizdarević Tarik
tel. 00387 33653033
Furthermore, three new projects from Bosnia Herzegovina will be presented at Terra Madre Balkans:
Head Quarter: Mostar
Association coordinator: Svijetlana Sakić
Tel. +387 36 554 150
Promoted by: Ong Ucodep
Financed by: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Region of Tuscany
Province of Arezzo
Prijedor small producers
Production area: Prijedor
Community coordinator: Drasko Stanic
Promoted by:Progetto Prijedor
Bratunac small fruits producers
Production area: Bratunac, Drina valley
Community coordinator: Radmila Zarkovic
+387 61 205 346
Karakachan sheep Presidium
The community is from a small nomadic ethnic group traditionally dedicated to sheep farming in the Balkans. The members live on Mount Pirin, the second highest peak in Bulgaria, and rear indigenous breeds, most notably the Karakachan, the oldest sheep breed in southeastern Europe, and one which is not unlike the Mouflon. In most cases the flocks are taken up to altitudes of 2,000 meters and are driven dozens of kilometers between summer and winter. The Karakachan is a hardy sheep with a black coat. Its milk is used to make yogurt and other local produce: a young white cheese kept in brine; the yellow Balkan cheese kashkaval; and tulum – or tomarotiri – which is preserved in sheepskins. The community, which is overseen by the Bbps Semperviva NGO, also raises Kalofer goats.
Production area: Pirin mountains, Blagoevgrad region
Green cheese from Tcherni Vit Presidium
From the Tcherni Vit village, near the Tetven municipality, 100 km east of Sofia, this community has an interesting product to share. The mountainous terrain where they come from, situated at the northern foothills of the Central Stara Planina, and its abundant pastures provide ideal conditions for breeding cattle, sheep and goats. All the community’s sheep are gathered together on the 6th of May, the shepherd’s day in Bulgaria. The herd consists of about 100 animals that graze freely until November. In autumn the animals are milked in a strict schedule and given to the sheep owners with the quantity of milk given corresponding to the number of animals that each owner has in the joint herd. Milk is transformed into white cheese, similar to feta that is eaten all across the Balkans, and then is transformed into a new discovery with a particular alternation. The community ages the white cheese for a year in the cellar of an old lady from the village in beech wooden barrels. Gradually the brine in which the cheese had been soaked evaporates and a green mould begins to grow adding a remarkably spicy flavour. The contact with the wood renders the development of moulds that would fully transform it into a blue cheese. Falling under the category of a blue cheese, this green delight maintains an inner paste with a creamy color and the rich taste of a Balkan white.
Production Area: Cherni Vit – Tetevan
Smilyan beans Presidium
The community is formed of a cooperative of bean growers living and working in the Upper Arda valley. Traditional activities in the area are milk production and the cultivation of potatoes and beans (Phaseolus coccineus). The same techniques have been used in growing the beans for over 250 years: fertilization with manure, irrigation with water from the river, and winding the plant stalks around pine canes. The quality of the soil and the ideal temperatures give rise to an excellent bean, which is used in a number of local recipes. Various initiatives have been undertaken to maintain and raise awareness of the traditions surrounding the bean, including a popular festival, organized each year in the village of Smolyan.
Production area: Smylian, Smolyan region
Troyan region beekepers community
Troyan Region Beekeepers The association groups 230 beekeepers and honey producers. Troyan is in the center of Bulgaria, straddling the regions of Sofia and Gabrovo. It’s a mountainous zone, with a temperate-continental climate, and has long beekeeping traditions. The honey produced is poly-floral and sometimes has hazelnuts or toasted sesame seeds added. The community also produces honeydew. Communal hives are now utilized; in the past characteristic hives known as travni were used.
Production area: Troyan, in the Sofia and Gabrovo regions
Elena ham community
Elèna Cured Ham Producers The town of Elena rises on the northern Balkan slopes, between the Danube and Maritsa valleys, not far from Lake Jovkovci. One farm in the village of Harvalovtsi has returned to traditional pig rearing, which was compromised by the years of political turbulence. There are seven members, joined in a cooperative, whose few animals are destined almost entirely for own consumption. The pigs feed on acorns, hazelnuts and barley, and are butchered shortly before Christmas. The shoulders and haunches are salted and left in semi-underground caves; the shoulders are eaten in spring, but the haunches remain until summer when they are brought out to dry in the sun. They are then lightly covered with a flour-based paste and return to the coldest part of the caves until the depths of winter where they become ready for eating.
Production area: Elena, Veliko Turnovo region
Smilyan diary farmers
Smilyan Cheesemakers This is a cooperative of 450 breeders and producers of hand-made cheeses, all of whom live and work in the Upper Arda valley. The milk comes mainly from the Rhodope cattle breed, a hybrid obtained in the 1950s from a cross of the local Rhodope Shorthorn and the American Jersey. The milk, partially skimmed, is coagulated and, after an hour and a half, the temperature is gradually raised so that it cooks. Once the curd breaks up it is removed and cut into roughly 200-gram pieces. These are left for three or four days for the whey to drain out and the cheeses to turn yellow. They then ripen in juniper wood barrels for four or five months. A small amount of sheep’s milk cheese is produced between the months of May and September, following the same method.
Production area: Smilyan, Smolyan region
Producers of fruit preserves from Glogovo village
Settlers to the Central Stara Planina Mountain in Tetevan are known for their specific food traditions, which through periods of Ottoman rule have developed a notable Turkish influence. Today in Glogovo Village more than 35 people are involved in producing typical products from the area. Traditional baked goods and pastries are still prepared and in being so close to the mountain the people transform its abundance of wild berries and fruits into sweet preserves. The Tetevan area boasts its own local plum variety that grows in orchards dating back centuries; it is incorporated in many ways in the local diet, a favorite being Madzhun preserve that allows the fruit to be enjoyed even in the winter months accompanied by local breads. The preserve making carries into the fall as the community produces pumpkin and walnut preserves from the local harvest. The preserves are the center now of joint activities to engage tourists with the food culture of the area through increased identification with the village’s particular quality products.
Production area: Glogovo
Artisan mountain food producers
The Smolyan Momchilovtzi village is home to a community of producers of various mountain foods. About 60 people, mostly women, make up the food community as the collectors and transformers of the products offered by the rich meadows and forests in the semi mountainous area. From pine honey to herb mixtures for infusions and food seasoning, the community finds many uses for local foods found in the pine and spruce forests. They transform young pine shoots into pine honey, Borov Med, by cooking them with sugar and water until the mixture becomes think. After being stored in jars, the ‘honey’ is used to dress pancakes and adorn sweets by being mixed also with walnuts. Borov Med is also a popular remedy for soothing acute coughs and to stimulate the immune system. By collecting and processing herbs the community produces Bilkov chai as well, an infusion often made with a mix of St. John’s Wort, strawberry and raspberry leaves, various species of mint, thyme, oregano, and wild fruits – hawthorn, blueberries, black thorn fruits, and European cornel. Each family practices its own proportions and combination of the herbs to cure fever, stomach aches and other ailments, while also elaborating their dishes with Podpravki spices of mint, thyme, savory, dock, sorel and of course red paprika for seasonal preparations of bean stews and baked lamb.
Production Area: Momchilovtzi Village
Krokmach cheese producers from Rakita
In the Pleven district of Northern Bulgaria, there is a group of Rakita Village Krokmach cheese producers living in the town of Lukovit. Krokmach is a liquid cheese produced from sheep’s milk collected in the late summer and autumn months when the fat content is high. Milk is heated slightly, but not allowed to boil, and then cooled and left still for cream to form. Cream is then skimmed off the top and salt is added to the milk allowing for also open fermentation. After a few days and stirring regularly, the fermentation process has reached its optimum and the Krokmach is ready for storing in glass jars for at least a year until it reaches its typical taste. Each family traditional produces cheese for personal consumption, averaging between 60 to 70kg per year. While in the 1990s the number of sheep in the area was around 3000 animals, it has now diminished to around 400.
Production Area: Rakita – Pleven District
Learning community of Lyuben Karavelov school, Sophia
This school has 1140 students who are served breakfast and lunch and daily. The municipality owns and pays for the canteen and the services are contracted on an annual basis, with the lowest bidder chosen. The food is monitored by the school nurse, the director of the school and state hygiene authorities. The students buy weekly coupons which they then exchange for food. The students usually prefer sandwiches for lunch, but the canteen hopes through the project they will begin to eat larger meals.
The school is striving to change the selection criteria for service providers, increasing fruit and vegetables, and local food on the menu.
Bulgaria - Gabrovo bread house
An old house is renovated and turned into a bread house where people from the neighbourhood gather together to make their bread, to chat and to share their life. Thus, the community life is inspired to get new dimensions of sharing and mutuality.
Nadezda Savova – the city of Gabrovo
Suasages from Gorno Dragliste
The traditions to preserve pork meat during the winter and for the spring and summer time has resulted into delicious sausages that the people of Gorno Dragliste still make in their families. Nadezhda Kroteva has a guest house and serves her guests with a variety of local dishes among which is the meat as well.
Nadezda Kroteva – Razlog district
Learning community of Musical School "Georgi Benkovski", Tcherni Vit
This school has about 75 children at the age from 7 to 14 years. The children study and cook themselves the food of their mothers and grandmothers thus preserving the food traditions of their village. The school manages its own canteen and a classroom for cooking classes is planned to be renovated. A special program dedicated to the education of young consumers will start from the autumn.
Fruit gardeners from Shipkovo village
A group of people have decided to collect and adapt for cultivation of wild fruit trees that have been used by the local people. They have planted a small orchard and they are planning to expand it. Additionally, they are collecting recipes based on these wild fruits that have been used in the past by the local people.
Production aria – Shipkovo village.
Sarac Ljubitovica garlic Presidium
Trogir is one of the pearls of the Adriatic: built in Venetian times on an island, it is linked to the mainland by two bridges. Its white stone buildings and stupendous Romanesque cathedral have qualified it as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located on the Dalmatian coast half way between Split and Zadar and the local economy, driven by ever growing tourism, is booming. But just a few kilometers inland, you find the real rural Dalmatia, a little known and sparsely inhabited area. The land rises steeply from the coast, making agriculture particularly difficult. The karst soils have to be cleared of stones in order to cultivate. Houses, roads and boundary walls are all built using material removed from the land. Cultivated areas are usually small and used for growing grapes and olives. One of Dalmatia’s best known and most important wines, Babic, is produced in this area. In Ljubitovica, a village a few kilometers from Trogir where life seems to have stood still for centuries, a variety of garlic famed throughout the region is grown. Called Luk in Croatian and Cesnjak in Dalmatian, this Allium sativum is a preservable, full-flavored and fragrant variety which is often streaked with reddish veins. Grown by local families to augment their incomes, it is gathered into strings and sold mainly by women at the markets of Split, Trogir and Sibenik, or to tourists traveling the coastal roads in summer. The women of Ljubitovica gather along the sides of these markets, displaying on wooden crates their strings of garlic, dried officinal herbs and, occasionally, some alcoholic distillates (such as travarica herb grappa). They proudly gesture, repeating that the garlic was grown and prepared in Ljubitovica, where the product is better and keeps longer than the garlic sold on the market stalls. The Presidium The Presidium was set up in 2007 on the occasion of the first Ljubitovica Garlic Fair, planned and organized by the Slow Food Zagreb Convivium: while millions of tourists from every corner of Europe streamed along the Dalmatian coast, the village schoolyard hosted more than 50 producers, mostly women, exhibiting their strings of garlic. The first step was to identify the authentic historic variety with streaks (Sarac in Croat). Then in agreement with the farmers, rules for natural cultivation were established. In 2008 the Producer Association for Traditional Ljubitovica Garlic was created, which agreed with and signed the Presidium rules. The aim of the Presidium is to promote and once again make this ancient variety commercially available, since it risks being completely replaced by the ubiquitous Chinese garlic. Producers Ljubitovica Šarac Garlic Producer Association (Udruga proizvođaca cesnjaka "Šarac"- Ljubitovica) Debak Mladen (President) +385 91 7886668
Production Area: Ljubitovica, Split-Dalmatia Region
Presidium coordinator: Sasa Sever
Tel. +385 997 987 802
Isle of Unije food producers
Unije is one of the western most islands of the Croatian archipelago in the upper Adriatic. The landscape is mountainous and soils are limestone-based. In the southwest lies the small peninsula of Polje, where the soils are fertile and which has a source of drinking water. The rest of the island is covered with Mediterranean scrub. The flora and fauna on Unije and in the sea surrounding it are completely uncontaminated, helped by the fact that no motorised transport is allowed on the island. But unemployment has reduced the number of inhabitants from a thousand at the beginning of the 20th century to a mere 80. About 20 of these are members of the community. It includes producers, breeders, fishermen and processors, all of whom work to safeguard and promote their island’s natural resources. Recently the members have returned to harvesting olives from the indigenous Greek varieties Orcola (orkula) and Lussino (Starovjerka).
Production area: Unije Island
Community coordinator: Nikolić Robert
tel. +385 98 80 10 49
Furthermore a new project from Croatia will be presented at terra Madre Balkans:
Vinager and aquavite producers from Bijele Zemlije
Production area: Bijele Zemlje, Istria
Community coordinator: Martina Clai
00385 52 776175
Rugova valley honey makers
REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
Belo Sirenje cheese producers
This food community is made up of 20 cheese producers from the area of Radika valley, within the National Park of Mavrovo. Producers still graze their sheep, a mix of Merina and Šarska races, using the system of transhumance. The Šarska race is an original race from the Šar Mountain, on the border between Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania, that adapted to the extreme conditions of the mountains of Western Macedonia. Belo Sirenje – literally white cheese – is produced during the spring and summer when shepherds bring their sheep in the high mountains of the Mavrovo National Park. The rich variety of native herbs and vegetation give belo sirenje an incredible fresh and soft taste. Moreover, one of the producers is also producing the well-known Kashkaval (Caciocavallo) of Lazaropole village, one of the best hard cheeses of Macedonia. He is the last one producing this kind of cheese here, keeping alive a tradition that has almost disappeared from the area. All members of this community are directly involved in initiatives for the promotion of sustainable and gastronomic tourism in the Radika valley.
Production area: Radika Valley
Community coordinator: Unterhofer Filippo
+389 71 944 776
Maroon honey makers from Porecje
Porecje region is a landlocked area in the heart of Macedonia, surrounded on all sides by high mountains, rich forests and fresh springs which favour the production of excellent honey. Indeed, some half of the population of this district, made up of 50 rural settlements, deal with beekeeping.
In addition, the Porecje region is well known for the quality of its maroon. The honey obtained from maroon flowers is considered a rare delicacy. It is particularly rich in calcium and magnesium, which forms the basis for proper development of the human bones and the overall human wellbeing, especially for the active sport players.
This community includes 35 beekeepers and maroon producers, organised in the Porecanka cooperative, and ensures a top quality product that is widely demanded on the national market.
Traditionally the honey was transported to the cities on horseback in large clay pots. Today it is packed in glass jars and sold locally and nationally.
Production area: Porecje
Community coordinator: Stojceska Milena
Tel. +38971 564 838
Tikvesh mushroom and honey producers
If all the western Balkans are renowned for their mushrooms, Macedonia is definitively the best place for mushroom foraging and production. This community is located close to the town of Negotino, in the central Povadarije-Tikvesh region of Macedonia, an area that enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. Wild oyster, morel, boletus and chanterelle mushrooms are commonly found in the region’s mountain areas. While they are mostly gathered for self-consumption, they are also exported to the EU market. Oyster mushrooms are easily cultivated on a small-scale level in the home, and are a perfect product for self-consumption and for sale at local farmers’ markets. Fresh oyster mushrooms are known for their excellent taste and texture, as well as for their versatility for use in the kitchen. In addition, the Negotino area is one of the most popular wine regions of Macedonia, which is why this community also engages in the production of local Vranac grapes and wine.
Production area: Negotino
Community coordinator: Todorov Sasko
Tel. +389 43 362 643
Furthermore five new projects from tha Republic of Macedonia will be presented at Terra Madre Balkans:
Wild fig slatko Presidium
Production area: Dojran lake
Presidium coordinator: Nada Karaivanova
+389 7 0511593
Kavadarci wine and madjun producers
Production area: Kavadarci
Community coordinator: Unterhofer Filippo
+389 71 944 776
Kcna salt producers
Community coordinator: Unterhofer Filippo
+389 71 944 776
Pastrma producers from Polog region
Production area: Polog region
Community coordinator: Unterhofer Filippo
+389 71 944 776
White maize and beans producers
Community coordinator: Unterhofer Filippo
+389 71 944 776
Saxon village preserves Presidium
Parallel rows of short houses with colorful shutters and hexagonal facades painted blue, purple and green line the wide dirt road in the Siebenburgen, or seven villages of Transylvania. In front of each one is an old pear tree, and just behind the gate is a cobbled farmyard. Further in, there is a henhouse. These villages have been inhabited by the Saxons for eight centuries. Summoned to Romania at the beginning of the 13th century by King Geza II of Hungary to rebuff raiding Muslims, the Saxons settled in this narrow swath of land in the Carpathians. They constructed fortified churches, cultivated the land and spread their culture. With the end of Communism in 1989, most returned to Germany, abandoning everything, including the blankets on their beds and dishes on their tables. Today, Siebenburgen is a sort of lost paradise, inhabited by Romanians, Saxons, Hungarians and Roma. Cell phones don’t work in the villages and there are no cars – only horse-drawn carriages, children, elderly people, dogs, cats, flocks of geese and silence. At night, the cows return to the stalls in small groups from the surrounding pastures. Their milk, sold to large companies, is the area’s only economic resource. The few cheeses produced here are mostly fresh and kept for household consumption along with cured meats and numerous fruit preserves. These jams, compotes and dulciazia (a type of very sweet fruit syrup) are homemade with fruit harvested from the garden or gathered from the surrounding woods. The most interesting preserves are those made with rhubarb, wild fruit (dog-rose, mirabelle plums, strawberries and blueberries) or apples and cinnamon (prepared with the piele apple variety, a slightly acidic, gray-green apple that matures between the end of September and the beginning of October). The use of cinnamon is very ancient and tied to Mitteleuropean traditions, as this region was once a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Women prepare this extraordinary variety of preserves for their families, changing the recipes according to the season in order to make use of their home fruit gardens. Traditionally, the preserves are eaten at breakfast with bread or used in sweets and pastries. The recipes are very simple and consist of fruit, sugar and, in some cases, a small addition of natural pectin (made with unripe apples). The mixtures are slowly cooked over the fire but not for too long in order to preserve the taste and smell of the fresh fruit. The Presidium Although an ancient tradition in the Saxon Villages of Tarnava Mare, up until 2005 preserves had been exclusively for domestic consumption. No attempt at organising production for the market had ever been made. The presidium has provided this community – which relies primarily on agriculture and animal husbandry – with a new source of income. The project was made possible through Slow Food’s collaboration with Fundatia ADEPT, which has been operating in Romania since 2004 and has opened a tourist information centre in one of the villages where local produce is on sale. Inspired by attending Salone del Gusto in 2006, a selected group is producing preserves for the presidium. The preservatives will be packaged in glass jars and sold in hand made baskets crafted by one of the local families. A food production unit has just been built and the presidium producers will work together as the Tarnava Mare Producers Association. This winter a pruning course will be organised in order to improve the yield of the families’ fruit trees.
Production area: Saxon Villages of Transylvania
Tel. +40 (0) 748 2000 88
Tel: +44 (0) 1844 352385
Branza de Burduf in Coaja de Brad Presidium
A cheese wrapped in fir tree bark In Transylvania, on the slopes of Carpathian Mountains, droving shepherds still make a living as cheesemakers. They collect animals from local farmers and herd their flocks to mountain dairies (stâne). Here they process the raw milk and, in return for this service, they keep part of the cheese and some lambs. The Romanian heritage sheep breeds are Turcana and Tigae, the first having a thick fleece traditionally use to make jackets and rugs. They are hardy breeds, very well adapted to mountain pastures, mostly reacheble only with narrow paths; with their milk, Transylvanian shepherds make Telemea – similar to Greek cheeses– Urda, Cascaval and Caş. The latter is the basis for Brânzá de Burduf, the most valuable among Romanian cheeses. To make Caş, calf or lamb rennet is added to fresh milk, which is left to curdle after being heated to 40°. The curd is then broken into small pieces. This is left to settle for about 45 minutes, after which the curd is wrapped in a cloth. To drain the whey, the cloth is wrung fro three times and the curd pressed under a wooden board over which heavy stones have been placed. The paste is then placed inside a wooden container for 10 days. Cas can be eaten fresh or left maturing in sheep’s skin or bladder, after being ground and salted, although in the rarest version the cheese is aged inside coajă de brad (fir tree bark) and is named Brânză de Burduf. Brânză de Burduf in fir tree bark is produced from May to July, when the trees are rich in aromatic resin: after the bark is scraped, it is softened in hot whey and then sewed to obtain cylindrical containers 20-25 cm high and 10 cm wide, sealed with bark discs at the edges. Brânzá can be aged from 20 days up to 2-3 months, its flavor becoming increasingly spicy with length of aging. Fir tree bark imparts a resinous flavor on the cheese and enriches its taste qualities. The Presidium The Presidium – established in collaboration with Brasov County – aims to defend traditional Brânzá de Burduf aged in fir tree bark. This age-old cheese is produced throughout Romania, but the project is centered in the Bucegi mountains in the Southern Carpathians – the most traditional area from a historical point of view – where the many fir trees provide bark for wrapping the cheese. There are many artisan cheesemakers in the area, but there is much work to be carried out in order to improve the conditions of the dairies and to curtail the lack of consistent quality among the various cheeses. A production protocol will be drafted, valorizing the complete natural feeding of the animals, that grazes on the pastures rich in herbs near the stâne, defining the production phases and the aging process, vouching for the final product’s traceability and high quality. Then Brânzá de Burduf will later be promoted in Romania and on the international market as well.
Production area: Bucegi mountains, Bran and Moeciu
Presidium coordinator: Marian Popoiu
Tel +40 754 91 90 45
The Tarnava Mara area of Romania has a long standing history of dairy production, but with the newly imposed European Union regulations on milk hygiene, the way of life of many small producers there is under great threat. This community is working to develop guidelines to improve hygiene to meet the minimum standards and to develop a range of mature cheeses from cow, sheep and buffalo milk. The milk for their cheeses comes from animals that graze in the last remaining hay meadows in Europe, giving it unique flavor and its loss would represent a significant impact on the biodiversity of the area. This community makes a variety of cheeses and since 2007 has been experimenting with trial batches of cheddar types from cow and buffalo milk using an ancient recipe from England. In May 2008, trial batches of cheese were made from sheep milk under the instruction of a cheese artisan making Lanark Blue and Lanark White in Scotland. The initial results have been encouraging and a facility has been opened for training dairy farmers and shepherds in the area.
Production area: Tarnava Mare
Community coordinator: Charles Dalmasso
+40 752 264 582
Dulceatea preserves community
The historic region of Bucovina is divided between Romania and Ukraine, and is also part of the geographic region of Moldova. Located in a densely forested valley in the district of Suceava, lives this unique community of three: the mother, father, and son of a family of farmers and cooks. The community produces a number of specialties, including a type of fermented, and smoked Branza cheese. Its other main product is Dulceatea, a jam made of berries that typical of the Bucovina region. The product is unique to the family and is made primarily with a type of blackcurrant, rich in Vitamin E and other healthy properties, found only in these woods. A small amount of fruit juice is also made with the same berry. The jam is prepared by boiling the fruit with a small addition of sugar. One other product is Zacusca, peppers, eggplant and mushrooms cooked separately with a small amount of tomato, then packed in jars with a sprinkle of salt and oil for consumption during the winter.
Production area: Bucovina region
Community coordinator: Lupescu Cornel
A rich variety of natural products can be found in the Brusturoasa and Palanca villages of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, including cheeses, meat, fish, pasture honey, jams and medicinal syrups. The current market for many of these traditional Romanian products is rather restricted because the farmers are not organized into associations and the products are not labeled. Indeed, many are produced for home consumption, and often exchanged rather than sold on the open market. The region is beautiful, rich in wildlife, history and tradition and almost every family in the village owns sheep and cattle, particularly Baltata Romaneasca and the Romanian brown cow breeds, while the sheep are mainly Tsigai, Romanian Zackel or Tsurcana Zackel, with an extremely soft fleece. This community respects the ancient practice of bringing the animals together in late spring to pasture in the surrounding mountains under the supervision of skilled and respected shepherds through the late autumn. Only now, some of the owners that have more animals have started to register themselves as producers. Most of the farmers are practicing a subsistence farming that meets most of the family needs. The community has now organized themselves into a Slow Food convivium and participates in local markets and fairs across the country.
Production area: Brusturoasa, province of Bacau
Community Coordinator: Camelia Zamfir
tel. +40 236 462 564-745 075 753
The people forming this community are about 40 small-scale producers in the Province of Vâlcea, a region partly occupied by the Transylvanian Alps with the River Olt flowing through it. They all practice traditional farming activities: bee-keeping (they produce acacia, lime, peppermint, pine and sunflower honey, honey derivatives and honeydew), apple-growing (including several local varieties, such as parmen, cretesc and domnesc), bread-making and brewing, producing beer which is fermented twice using local malt and hops.
Production area: Province of Vâlcea
Community coordinator: Alexandrina Sirbu
tel. +40 744 993 123
Saxon villages pickle producers
Pickling is a major tradition in the Tranava Mare area as a way to extend the region’s range of fresh fruits and vegetables for the winter, but unfortunately fewer and fewer people today are doing it at home. This community still makes pickles in a homemade fashion that deliver tangy character with the crunchy texture of garden produce such as: beetroot, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, melons, mushrooms and cauliflower. The vegetables are picked before becoming too ripe and then fermented in brine or vinegar, and even sometimes mixed with a spicy marinade. They are eaten as an accompaniment to grilled meats, an addition to salads and as a snack with beer.
Production area: Tranava Mare
Community coordinator: Calugar Anca
Wild and medicinal plant gatherers
The Saxon Villages in the Jud Brasov region of Romania have one of the most extensive flower-rich grasslands remaining in lowland Europe. Low intensity agriculture in the area coexists with an abundance of flora and fauna, including many Red List species, which means that the area requires specific conservation measures if their precious heritage is to survive. This community comes from a long family history of collecting wild plants and is said to know the forest better than anyone else still around. The traditional knowledge of how to care for the plants has now been passed down to young men from their grandmother. After they are collected the herbs and flowers are left in the sun to dry and used for medicinal teas and sometimes cooking.
Production area: Jud Brasov
Community coordinator: Gabriel Anghel
+40 748 049 802
Furthermore seven new projects from Romania will be presented at Terra Madre Balkans:
Learning community of Brusturoasa-Palanca
Area: Brusturoasa and Palanca
Community Coordinator: Camelia Zamfir
tel. +40 236 462 564-745 075 753
Bucharest Earth Market, "Targul Taranului"
Targul Taranului, farmer's market in Romanian, represents a desire by small producers to reclaim the right to sell their own products at an honest price, and the wish of consumers (or coproducers) to really know what they are eating. The market is held every weekend in the area around ARK - Bursa Marfurilor building, the old site of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, which a group of designers has recently converted into the Creative Stock Exchange: it is entirely dedicated to design, architecture and contemporary art. The opportunity to encounter the best of Romanian gastronomic traditions and artistic creativity in the same place makes a visit to this market a truly unique experience.
The number of stalls at the market varies between 20 and 25, but a total of about 50 attend on different occasions. The two Romanian Presidia, Branza de Burduf and Saxon Valleys Preserves, are there of course, as are many other small-scale producers of amazing quality, selling products such as pastrav afumat (smoked trout preserved in pine branches), pastrami, raw milk cheeses, fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, traditional pastries and artisan syrups. Due to the quality of its products and relaxed, authentic atmosphere, the Bucharest Targul Taranului has become a regular fixture for many people.
Each weekend it attracts a rising number of customers seeking genuine products at an affordable price. In addition, the market Management Committee has recently opened a small bistro where visitors can sample street food prepared with products from the market.
Calea Rahovei 196 A, sector 5 - Bucuresti
Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm; Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm
+40 720 764 054
Learning community of Dr Ion Ratiu Nursery, Turda
Area: Turda, Romania
Project coordinator: Marta Pozsonyi
Tel: +40 746 366728
Aries valley producers
Production area: Turda,
Community coordinator: Marta Pozsony
tel. +40 746366728
Learning community of "Mihail Saulescu" highschool, Predeal, Bran-Moeciu
Area: Bran and Moeciu
Community coordinator: Manuela Palamari
Salaj bread makers
Production area: Salaj, Cluj
Community coordinator: Gabriela Ratz
Rotbav diary producers
Production area: Rotbav, contea di Brasov
Community coordinator: Silviu Catean
Smoked Goat cheese producers
Just outside Belgrade, in the countryside of Obrenovac, this small community has, for four generations, dedicated itself to the production of an excellent goat cheese that is popular throughout Serbia. Many reasons combine to make this cheese very special. It is above all the local area’s profusion of alfalfa and fruit trees and a production process solidly grounded in tradition that give it its unique flavor. Obrenovac goat cheese is redolent of hay, a note delicately balanced with a strong hint of ripe plums and quince. Numerous inhabitants of Belgrade go to Obrenovac during the weekend to buy the cheese at the great weekly market, as well as to enjoy the stunning landscape and the slow-running waters of the Sava as they flow gently towards the Danube.
Production Area: Obrenovac
Community Coordinator: Ivan Mudric
Pozegaca plum growers from Topola
The pozegaca plum, an ecotype of the Prunus insititia species, is very common throughout the Balkans and other Eastern European countries. Introduced in Serbia at the beginning of the 19th century, the pozegaca is smaller than other varieties on the market, but its pit is so minute that the percentage of pulp per fruit is actually higher. It is made around the city of Topola, south of Belgrade, by about 100 growers from the Bio Top association. No chemical agents are used in their orchards, which cover 80 hectares of land, because the plant itself is very resistant to pathogens. In addition to being eaten fresh, thanks to the high sugar content the plums are also dried and used for making a traditional jam called pekmez.
Production area: Topola, Western Backa district
Community coordinator: Senad Hopic
tel. +381 1133 41875
Stara Palanka Kachkaval cheesemakers
The West Stara Planina mountains, situated on the boarder between Bulgaria and Serbia, are known for their rich biological and geographical diversity. With many years of nomadic Karakachans tribes grazing their sheep flocks from Greece to Serbia came the art of producing Kachkaval cheese, a hard yellow table cheese is made of sheep’s milk. It is aged for about six months, during which it develops a pleasantly tangy flavor. The semi-firm, straw colored cheese has a smooth surface without any spots and consistently throughout the Balkans is known for its creamy and nutty taste. Stara Planina Pirotski Kachkaval cheese is produced from May to September, when sheep are grazed in the high mountain pastures. The cheese is manufactured through traditional methods of soaking the mature product and hand making each wheel. Ripening and salting under the particular climate conditions of the Stara Planina give Pirotski Kachkaval its recognizable taste and favor optimal preservation.
Production Area: Pirotski
Community Coordinator: Sergej Ivanov
+381 63 461 207
Vojvodina organic Jouice producers
The Vojovdina area situated in stretch of the Pannonian basin, thanks to its rich loess soil and favorable climate, has been known throughout history for agriculture and offers a great abundance of fruits and vegetables. Producers of this community grow organic fruits and vegetables and when they have reached optimal ripeness apply cold filtering methods to make juice. They produce, beet, apple, tomato and grape juices without the addition of water or sugar. For other types of juices such as peach, strawberry, apricot, sour cherry and raspberry, they mix the pulp of the fruit to a preparation of apple juice for a prefect-blended consistency. The juices are highly valued for their healing properties and even sold in local pharmacies. Doctors in the area have been known to prescribe beet juice for example for the treatment of anemia, blood circulatory disorders, and high blood pressure due to its remarkable antioxidant properties and iron content.
Production Area: Vojvodina
Community Coordinator: Tomislav Jakic
+381 63 1044 759
Furthermore two new projects from Serbia will be presented at Terra Madre Balkans:
Futos Kiseli Kupus producers
Production area: Vojvodina
Community coordinator: Pascal Bernardoni
+381 1 337 0557
Ibar valley millers
Production area: Kraljevo
Community coordinator: Dragana Veljovic