Manabí is preparing to participate in the worldwide network of Slow Food Travel destinations

19 Nov 2021

Manabí is one of the largest and most populated provinces in Ecuador. In the national territory, Manabí evokes food culture, gastronomic heritage and a background full of traditions, with people who welcome visitors and tourists with open arms.

In Ecuador, it is common to hear people from other provinces saying, “Let’s go to a Manabí restaurant to taste the good seasoning”; and the word Manabí is used as an attraction, as it is known for its exquisite dishes.  

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Manabí people have their own identity and proudly carry it to any part of the country and the world they visit. Because of their friendliness and culture, it is easy to distinguish them almost anywhere they are. In the countryside of Manabí, there is a reputation that when someone visits a relative or friend, they never leave empty-handed. Farmers in Manabí are immensely generous and unselfishly share the fruits of the crops available on their farms. 

Manabí cuisine uses ingredients such as plantains, peanuts, yucca, corn, cheese, poultry and seafood, which are combined into a myriad of delicious dishes that have already won the recognition of tourists and international organizations. The food offer is marked by a rainbow of flavors and textures that captivate locals and foreigners alike, and it merges with the stories and legends of brave and hardworking men and women. 

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Within the project, Food as an engine of transformation: Promoting the integral territorial development of northern Manabí through the first Joint Gastronomic Tourism Route of Ecuador, supported by Fondo Italo Ecuatoriano para el Desarrollo Sostenible (FIEDS), Fundación Fuegos together with Slow Food are carrying out activities inspired by Slow Food Travel. This project is being carried out in the Northern Coast of Manabí, in Pedernales, Jama, Sucre and San Vicente.

Northern Manabí is characterized by seven well-defined food sources:

  1. Humid forest (native and remnants) with mainly wild fruit trees;
  2. Dry forest with cereal crops, mainly corn and, to a lesser extent, rice;
  3. Livestock areas that produce milk, cheese, cottage cheese, white butter and other dairy products;
  4. Agricultural land (valleys, hills and gentle slopes) that produces short-cycle crops (corn, peanuts, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, melon and legumes), medium-life-cycle crops (musaceae and tubers) and perennial crops (cocoa, coffee, citrus and other fruit trees typical of the area);
  5. Mangroves, from which red crabs (guariches) and shells are harvested;
  6. Rivers that provide freshwater fishing (wild shrimps and green terrors were both submitted for inclusion in the Ark of Taste);
  7. Ocean, where a wide variety of products deriving from artisanal fishing practices.
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In the first phase, a mapping of actors is being carried out through virtual/in-person workshops and visits to farmers and cattle raisers, associations (of fishermen, collectors and farmers), grassroots organizations, and food and lodging establishments. The purpose of the project is to show the world the gastronomic and cultural richness that can be found in the northern part of the province of Manabí.

 width=After the mapping, capacity activities involving 36 initiatives will be carried out, with a specific focus on the application of the Slow Food philosophy and tools, in order to include the territory among the international network of Slow Food Travel destinations, with the participation of the different stakeholders.  

The efforts for food safety are contributing to the motivation towards preserving local products, traditions, knowledge and flavors in northern Manabí for sustainable development and to raise awareness of the food heritage in all possible areas. The aim is to create synergies and join efforts through participatory processes that allow for the empowerment of local stakeholders and the access to good, clean and fair food sources, ensuring the welfare of communities and food systems through hospitality and the exchange of experiences.

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