Slow Fish in Action
Sustainable Fishing Days
The Slow Food Madrid Convivium continues to actively participate in the Slow Fish campaign, with a program of events supporting the city's wholesale food markets, the Mercados de Abastos. An initial event was held at Madrid's San Fernando market in the Lavapiés neighborhood at the same time as Slow Fish in Genoa in May 2011. Participants watched dishes based on sustainable, seasonal and cheap fish (anchovies, Atlantic bonito, mackerel, sardines) being created by chefs Miguel López Castanier of La Taberna de Liria and Germán Berlanas Breña of La Chalota.
The second part of the awareness-raising campaign took place on November 11th and 12th, in one of Madrid's most famous markets, the Mercado de la Cebada (the "barley market"). Very close to the center of Madrid, this market has historically been one of the most popular among Madrileños, and is known especially for its fresh, high-quality fish. Unfortunately, along with many of Madrid's 48 other still-functioning markets, it is now at risk, suffering from the abandonment of artisanal activities, little variety and competition, a lack of imagination among most of the traders and pressure to turn the traditional market into an anonymous supermarket or a supposed gastronomic center for tourists. The convivium's campaign therefore has two aims: to defend and promote the concept of sustainable fish and to protect the market's authenticity and survival.
The morning of Friday, November 11th was dedicated to a tour around the fish stalls with various groups of students from local elementary schools. It was a real event for the schoolchildren: Accompanied by their teachers and members of the Madrid convivium, they met fishermen and fishmongers and saw and touched fish big and small as well as mollusks and crustaceans. They learned the names of the huge range of seafood still found today in the Madrid markets, and concluded with a tasting of mussels in the middle of the market's bustle.
Saturday morning was aimed at grown-ups, almost all local residents, many of whom had never come across similar activities before. Along with an exhibition of images from Slow Food publications and the Slow Fish campaign, a film was shown about the artisanal fishing activities of the confraternity of fishermen in Lira, Galicia, along the Costa da Morte, and the convivium's coordinators talked about the need to relearn how to use the fish that were once a common part of our parents' and grandparents' diet. Miguel López Castanier and Germán Berlanas Breña were again in charge of the culinary side of things, holding a cooking demonstration and preparing pollack confit with cauliflower puree and nut oil, sautéed cuttlefish with Jerez-style vegetables, baked mackerel and sardine empanadas, while Slow Food members, friends and local residents continued cooking up mussels served with various sauces.
The Slow Food Madrid Convivium will continue the Slow Fish campaign through 2012, with new activities in the markets planned for May and June.