Slow Food
   

Africa at the Salone del Gusto


Italy - 30 Sep 10

Presidia

Spread around the Marketplace and divided by geographic area, over 200 stands (identified by the orange color) will be displaying the cheeses, cured meats, breads, sweets, vegetables, fruits, grains and honeys protected by Slow Food.
Africa is well represented.

Egypt

Dates from Siwa Oasis
At present, production and sales of the dates is organized by the SCDEC association (Siwa Community Development Environmental Conservation), which was created by the Siwa Environmental Amelioration Project funded by the Cooperation for Development Department of the Italian Foreign Ministry. SCDEC has a board of 13 members, each elected by their own village. In addition to developing agricultural activities in the oasis, SCDEC runs an education and training project.
Production Area: Siwa Oasis, Matrouh Governorate, Western Egyptian Desert

Ethiopia

Wild Coffee from the Harenna Forest
The Harenna Forest Wild Coffee Presidium was launched in 2006 as part of an Italian Cooperation for Development project. The Presidium partners are the NGO EOSA (Ethio Organic Seed Action), working to maintain agricultural biodiversity, and Caffé Speciali Certificati (CSC), an association of Italian coffee roasters. The aims of the Presidia include: promotion of a unique high quality product (wild, naturally-dried forest coffee), shortening the supply chain, and protecting African mountain forests.
Production Area: Harenna forest, Dollo-Mena district, Bale National Park, Oromia region

Wukro White Honey
The Presidium is based on a group of 17 beekeepers in an association called "Selam". The beekeepers use more than 400 modern hives to produce about 9 tonnes of honey per year. The association is working to emancipate itself from the chain of intermediaries with a small shop built on land provided by the local authority.
The Wukro White Honey Presidium has two strengths: the product itself, which is of high quality and does not require particular efforts of improvement; and also the technical and communication skills of its main representative Haleka Alem Abrha, who is involved in the training of several other communities.
Production Area: Wukro, Tigrai region, northern Ethiopia


Wenchi Volcano Honey
The Presidium has helped the beekeepers to modernize honey production so that they can obtain a pure, distinctive product of high quality, suitable for sale. To do this it has provided the association with modern production equipment, organized training courses and improved the presentation of the final product, now sold in labeled glass jars. An expert from the Italian Consortium of Beekeepers and Organic Farmers (CONAPI) assists producers in drawing up production rules to guarantee a consistent quality of the product and enable it to be sold beyond its local production area.
Production Area: Wenchi, Oromia region

Kenya

Dried Nettles from the Mau Forest
Created in 2009 following a study on traditional foods of the Molo region carried out by students of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, the Presidium wants to help growers increase nettle production and promote the product at local markets and restaurants, with the support of the Slow Food Central Rift Valley convivium. The 32 Presidium producers belong to the Utugi Self Help Group based in the village of Karirikania.
Production Area: Village of Karirikania, Mau forest, Molo district, Rift Valley

Reed Salt from the Nzoia River
In areas of western Kenya historically cut off from the main salt routes, local communities have developed a distinctive method for extracting salt from an aquatic plant. This plant is a reed which is cut and allowed to dry on rocks by the river. It is then burned on a slow fire, and the residual ash mixed with hot water, filtered and boiled. When the liquid has completely evaporated, a salty mash is left on the bottom. It is collected, packed into banana leaves and dried under hot ashes overnight.
Production Area: Naboyole area, Webuye district, Western Province

Ash Yoghurt from West Pokot
Pokot herders from western Kenya produce fresh milk, butter and an unusual yoghurt with ash from their cattle (local breeds crossed with zebu) and goats. The milk is poured into long narrow hollowed-out gourds and left to settle for at least three days. After draining the whey, the containers are closed again and agitated with regular movements. When the yoghurt is ready, ash produced by burning the local cromwo tree is added, giving antiseptic properties, an aromatic taste and a characteristic light grey color.
Production Area: West Pokot (western Kenya)

Lare Pumpkin
The Lare pumpkin is oval in shape with light green skin and orange flesh. It is planted during the rainy season (March or April) and harvested six months later. An ingredient of many local dishes, it is eaten as an accompaniment or mixed with the local white polenta. The seeds can be roasted or dried and ground. The leaves are boiled and eaten as a side-dish; a paste of the leaves is used to dry wounds, while the ground seeds have medicinal properties.
Production Area: Village of Lare, Njoro district

Madagascar

Dista Rice from Lake Alaotra
Malagasy small farmers eat rice three times a day and with their meals drink ranon 'apango, a beverage made from the rice cooking water. Apart from being the staple of the local diet, rice also has important religious and ritual significance. In the area of Andasibe near Lake Alaotra, a confederation of cooperatives called Koloharena harvests and commercializes a particular variety of pink rice with a sweet aftertaste called Varin'i Dista in the local language.
Production Area: Ambatovy Marovoa, Moramanga, Beforona and Andasibe, Tamatave province (Eastern Madagascar)

Mananara Vanilla
Mananara’s location and the existence of the Reserve have helped to preserve traditional production methods but have also restricted market opportunities, with the product being limited to local distributors. Though vanilla is one of the most valuable spices in the world, the growers receive only a small share of its market value. By creating a cooperative and facilitating certification and direct sale by the producers, the Presidium aims to provide them with higher earnings which can be reinvested in the local community.
Production Area: twenty villages in the Mananara-Nord Biosphere Reserve, near the town of Mananara

Mali

Dogon Somè Spice Mixture
The Presidium includes several villages and involves the whole chain, from cultivation, harvesting, and processing through to packaging. Dogon shallots are one of the raw materials of traditional Dogon somè, together with okra, baobab-leaves and the fruits of the nerè tree. The cultivation of the shallot involves selecting the most suitable land, using native seeds (self-produced), and sustainable methods (manual weed control, organic fertilizers). Processing has to be carried out carefully and hygienically. The packaging is adapted to the different local, regional, or international markets. Work on the supply chain will be accompanied by promotional efforts, communication and education to induce shopkeepers, families, cooks and restaurants to the use of this traditional condiment.
Production Area: Dogon plateau, Mopti region

Morocco

Argan Oil
The Argan tree, which reminds of the olive tree, only grows along Morocco’s southern coast. For centuries the technique for extracting the golden, nut-flavored oil from the fruit kernel has been handed down from mother to daughter. Argan oil is a fundamental ingredient in Berber cuisine: a few drops are added to couscous, tajines and crudités. It is also enjoyed simply drizzled on a slice of bread. Mixed with ground almonds and honey it becomes amlou beldi, the traditional sweet spread still offered to guests along with bread and mint tea as a sign of welcome.
Production Area: Provinces of Agadir, Taroudant, Ait Baha, Essaouira, Chtouka and Tiznit

Taliouine Saffron
The town of Taliouine, situated in the middle of a barren plateau at the edge of southwest Morocco’s Argan forests, is famous for its excellent saffron. Cultivated at altitudes between 1200 and 2400 meters in very dry conditions, Taliouine saffron has a high concentration of safranal and an intense aroma, with characteristic floral notes. The whole family works together to gather the flowers, which grow in small fields dug out of the rocky land, and then continue the processing work in the courtyards of their houses, sipping saffron-flavored tea.
Production Area: Taliouine, Taroudant province

Zerradoun Salt
The village of Zerradoun lies in the Rif mountains of north-eastern Morocco. Here the Al Wifak cooperative, comprising twenty women, obtains various types of salt from a natural source located between two valleys surrounded by mountains and fields of durum wheat and barley. The salt pans are at least 200 years old and have dry-stone retaining walls. After the salt is collected the women take it by mule to the cooperative's workshop where it is ground or packed in granulated form. The cooperative produces table salt (white or flavored with cumin) and bath salts scented with orange blossom.
Production Area: Zerradoun, Municipality of Brikcha, Tangier-Tetuan Region

Alnif Cumin
Alnif is located in southeastern Morocco in a bare arid valley at the foot of the eastern Anti-Atlas mountains. One of the most interesting products of the area along with henna, the cumin is cut manually with a sickle (when not completely ripe), tied into small bunches and allowed to dry in the shade. The plants are then threshed with a stick, and the obtained seeds stone ground. Cumin is an ingredient of tajine, couscous, and soup and also has curative properties (for coughs, colds, sinusitis, colic).
Production Area: Alnif, eastern Anti-Atlas, southeastern Morocco

Mauritania

Mullet Bottarga of the Imraguen Women
The Imraguen are nomadic fisherfolk who follow the movements of the large shoals of golden grey mullet and ombrine along the Banc d'Arguin off Mauritania’s northern coast. The Banc d'Arguin has been a national park since the 1970s and the Imraguen, with their motorless boats, are the only people permitted to fish in these waters. They use a traditional technique which takes advantage of the movement of dolphins to drive the precious fish into their nets. The women make a traditional bottarga by salting, rinsing and sun-drying the mullet roe.
Production Area: villages along the Banc d’Arguin and Nouadhibou

Senegal

Wild Fruit Juices from the Saloum Islands
The Saloum delta is an intricate maze of salt and fresh water, islands and open spaces covering 180,000 hectares. The main problem in the area is the increasing pressure on marine resources: this is a result of exploitation by large foreign fishing fleets and an increasing local population, which relies almost exclusively on fishing. A sustainable alternative is to encourage the harvesting of the many types of wild fruit growing on the island—such as hibiscus, baobab, ginger, tamarind, ditakh and new—and converting them to vitamin-rich juices and preserves. The Presidium involves three communities of women on the islands, supporting them in producing quality transformed products and selling them on the local market.
Production Area: Fatick region

South Africa

Zulu Sheep
The Zulu sheep is an ancient breed taking its name from the people who have always raised it. Agile and of small to medium size, it has a short speckled fleece of various colors: black, white, brown and beige. Its distinguishing features are its very small ears and fat reserve in its tail. Over time the Zulu sheep has adapted to its territory, becoming very hardy. It grazes pasture throughout the year by day and in the evening is herded into sheds. It is particularly prized for the quality and flavor of its meat. The Presidium will help the last herders to organize a cooperative and promote this native breed.
Production Area: Province of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

Conferences

The conferences at the 2010 Salone offer a full exploration of the “food += places” theme, looking at the many aspects of the relationship between what we eat and where it was made. Two are focused on Africa.

Friday Oct 22, 12 noon - Sala Gialla
Who is stealing Africa's land?
A new danger is threatening African agriculture. In the hungriest continent of the world, arable land is being sold off to richer countries, which, money in hand, are on the hunt for resources. African governments are conceding millions of acres to governments and private businesses from China, India, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Europe. Local farmers lose their land and with it the chance to grow food and live in their communities. How serious and widespread is this phenomenon, and what virtuous models can be applied to curb it?
Organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and the Piedmont Regional Authority
With Franca Roiatti, author of Il nuovo Colonialismo (The New Colonialism)

3 pm - Sala Avorio
The 29th Parallel: Land of Dates
Libya possesses an incredible biodiversity of ancient date varieties. This conference presents a project for product quality improvement and better promotion of the dates of the Al Jufra Oasis, supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Agricultural Institute, with the goal of promoting ancient varieties of Libyan dates. Includes a presentation of a publication by Slow Food and screening of a documentary on the project.
With Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity



Theater of Taste

Home to some of Slow Food’s most exciting educational events, the Theater of Taste is back this year with more Italian and international chefs preparing their signature dishes for you, offering secret tips and special techniques, their every move filmed and projected onto a large screen. World-famous stars and chefs from humble osterias will be cooking at the Salone, brought together by a common respect for the seasonality, freshness, provenance and sustainability of their ingredients.

Africa United

Sunday Oct 24, 1 pm – sala Teatro
Africa is home to many more stories than the ones of war and famine we hear all too often. It is a continent of rich cultures and millennial traditions, and in homage to the cradle of humanity, the Theater of Taste will give you a taste of the cooking of Senegal, Mali and Kenya through the dishes of chefs Bineta Diallo Dioh, Lahabib Balatif and Abdalla Masood. The food will be paired with typical beverages, and African music will accompany the presentation.
Here are profiles of the three chefs:

Lahabib Balatif
Habib—as he is called by everyone—works as a guide with the association One Step after the Other which organizes nature excursions and travels on foot, particularly in the desert. In Tagounite in southern Morocco, he manages the Café Restaurant du Sud, which was opened by his father in the 1960s. He has been in charge for 25 years now, but even as a child he would give a hand, looking for fresh produce in the local souk every day so he could make his shakes, pizza berbera or delicious tajines.

Bineta Diallo Dioh
Owner and cook at the restaurant Point d’interrogation in Dakar, Bineta has strived for over ten years to recover the traditional dishes and products of Senegalese culinary culture. She has worked with various associations to reintroduce traditional ingredients into the local cuisine, reviving respect for dishes which had practically disappeared from the menus of other restaurants in the capital. Bineta is also helping with the project Mangeons local promoted by the Slow Food Lek Mégnef Sénégal Convivium that involves 2 schools and a total of 150 pupils. Through taste education courses and special food for the school canteen, Mangeons Local is raising awareness among local people, particularly children, of the need to promote local food traditions and defend agricultural biodiversity.

Abdalla Masood
After various experiences abroad since the late 1980s, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Canada and Dubai, Abdalla decided to return to his Kenyan homeland in 2006. Here he began to further research the vast gastronomic variety of the country, sourcing his raw materials from local small farmers. Abdalla’s other challenge is to train a new generation of chefs who can promote and give proper recognition to the range of culinary identities in Kenya, made up of over 40 tribes and communities.