A collaboration between Slow Food and the Catering Unit of the European Parliament was launched on Wednesday, March 26, in Brussels. As part of the initiative “Slow Food on Your Plate” eighteen raw milk Ark of Taste cheeses from across Europe were enjoyed during a tasting session at the European Parliament and one Slow Food dish was on the menu of the self-service restaurant of the Institution.
The tasting took place at the entrance of the self-service restaurant of the Institution in Brussels, which serves an average of 2,500 portions a day. The restaurant’s clientele includes elected Members of the European Parliament, their assistants and employees of the Institution.
Around 700 people tasted, savored, and discovered the cheeses offered for tasting, asking questions, eager to know more. The event lasted for about 2 hours and by the end, needless to say, there wasn’t much left. Taste buds were teased by lesser known cheeses, such as the Tcherni Vit from Bulgaria, unique in taste and history: it is a cheese in grave danger of extinction as the last traditional producer, now approaching 80 years of age, has decided he can no longer continue to produce it. Understanding the importance of preserving this cheese and the cheese-making tradition, the young Mayor of Tcherni Vit has started producing the cheese, and is looking for others to join him.
Taste buds were also treated to raw milk artisanal cheeses, more commonly known in their industrial pasteurized form, such as Gouda: a quick bite of aged artisanal gouda and the difference in quality and taste between the artisanal raw milk version compared with the industrial product is clear.
Meanwhile, inside the self-service restaurant, the Slow Food dish was widely appreciated: the traditional Belgian recipe of Brabançonne chicken. The dish featured the slow-growing Bastogne chicken and an Ark of Taste product: the traditionally grown witloof (an endive). Almost all of the prepared portions were bought, with roughly 300 people choosing the Slow Food option from the seven dishes offered on the day.
Overall the opening day of the Slow Food on Your Plate initiative was a success. The collaboration with the Catering Unit of the European Parliament will continue until June 2015, with one Slow Food dish served each week and two more tasting sessions of Ark of Taste products scheduled.
Find out more on the Slow Europe site: Slow Food on Parliament Plates
See more photos here