Twenty-nine new international Slow Food Presidia will be displaying their products at the Salone del Gusto 2010 which opens this Thursday, demonstrating the strengthening alliance between Slow Food and producers in their commitment to protect biodiversity around the world.
The alliance between producers and Slow Food continues to be strengthened and enlarged by new Presidia protecting biodiversity around the world. Twenty-nine new international Presidia will display their products at the Salone del Gusto 2010 which opens this Thursday. To highlight the links between food and place, the underlying theme of this edition of the Salone, Presidia stands will be set up according to their geographical area. The following projects are making their first appearance at this year’s Salone:
Ethiopia – Harenna Forest Wild Coffee
Ethiopia is the country where coffee originated and the only place in the world where coffee plants grow wild. For thousands of years families would roast their own berries, grinding them in a mortar and offering the coffee to their guests following a solemn ritual involving symbolic displays of hospitality and respect. The Presidium was created with about 60 small farmers who gather coffee berries in the Harenna forest, in the magnificent Bale National Park.
Production Area: Harenna forest, Dollo-Mena district, Bale National Park, Oromia region
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, Rift Valley Province
Kenya – Molo Dried Nettles
Nettles have always been an important ingredient in Kenyan cuisine and were once abundant, particularly in the Mau forest in the Molo highlands. Nowadays, they are much less pervasive due to deforestation. A group of women has now begun to grow them in the Molo highlands. The nettles are harvested manually, dried in the shade and then ground. The resulting powder is used for various local foods.
Production Area: Village of Karirikania, Mau forest, Molo district, Rift Valley Province
Kenya – Ash Yoghurt
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)
Kenya – 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
Morocco – 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 may be 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
Morocco – 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
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.
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 the 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
Georgia – Georgian Wine in Jars
Georgia is one of the places where grapevines were first domesticated. Its traditional wines are made with a particular technique of fermenting and aging in large amphorae. These are distinctive earthenware jars with two handles and a long neck, made by local artisans following practices dating back to the origins of winemaking. They are buried in the earth, in cellars or outside, and the wine first ferments and then ages within.
Production Area: Regions of Khakheti and Imereti
Tajikistan – Pamir Mulberry
Introduced to Tajikistan from China via the Silk Route, the mulberry has adapted perfectly to the demanding environment of the Pamir mountains, the “Roof of the World”. There are sixty varieties, which play a crucial role in the traditional diet, earning mulberries the name of “second bread”. They can be eaten fresh (in jam or syrup) or dry (as a sweetener in tea, in fermented milk or sour cream).
Production Area: Districts of Shugnan, Rushan, Yazgulyam, Vanch, Autonomous Province of Gorno-Badakhshan
Austria – Pit Cabbage
In addition to the well-known production of Sauerkraut, another traditional method for preserving cabbage, still used in the mountainous areas of eastern Styria, involves keeping the heads in pits dug in the ground. The cabbage heads are cleaned and blanched in boiling water, dried in the sun and then stacked between layers of straw in four meter deep pits with a weight on top. The cabbages naturally ferment and are ready for eating, but can keep up to three years.
Production Area: Region of Fischbacher Alps and Wechsel region, East Styria
Austria – Tauern Rye from Lungau
Tauern rye from Lungau (Lungauer Tauernroggen) is an old variety of winter rye originating from the Tauern mountains, in the southernmost part of Salzburg province. Cultivated until the 1970s, it then almost disappeared due to the decline in growing cereal crops in mountainous areas. The flour is used to produce excellent sourdough bread and other traditional products such as Hasenöhrl (dough fried in lard).
Production Area: Lungau region, province of Salzburg
Austria – Wachauer Saffron
The cultivation of saffron in Lower Austria is documented from the 12th until the 19th century, when it was considered to be one of the best available in Europe. Due to competition from cheaper products from other countries and the imposition of high taxes on growers, its cultivation was progressively abandoned. This ancient tradition is now being revived in the Wachau region and it is being used in traditional recipes, such as Gugelhupf (an Austrian ring cake), soups or horseradish sauce, as well as in new creations of chocolate, jam, vinegar, beverages and flavored honey.
Production Area: Wachau (UNESCO World Heritage site), Lower Austria
Bulgaria – Smilyan Beans
The upper Arda valley of the Rhodope mountains, close to the border with Greece, is a little paradise where nature is still pristine and Christian and Muslim communities have lived peacefully together for centuries. Here a small mountain community has been successfully growing Smilyan beans for at least 250 years. There are two types of Smilyan bean: brown with black streaks and larger white or purple ones with streaks.
Production Area: Municipality of Smilyan and the upper Arda valley, Province of Smolyan, South-Central Bulgaria
France – Breton Pie Noir Cow
This breed derives its name (“Magpie”) from its black and white coat. It is a hardy, disease-resistant breed suited to the poor pastures of southern Brittany. In the 1960s and 1970s it was disappearing from the region, but has recovered thanks to an effective protection program. About fifty producers now belong to the Union Bretonne Pie Noir. They practice extensive farming methods which respect the environment, and cultivate direct relationships with consumers.
Production Area: The historical region of Brittany, including the present departments of Côtes d’Armor, Finistère, Ille-et-Vilaine, Morbihan and Loire Atlantique
Germany – Limpurger Ox
The Limpurger is the oldest cattle breed still existing in Württemberg. It has a tawny to reddish coat, powerful muscles, regular limbs and a fine bone structure. The pasture-raised oxen are only fed on hay during the winter and become extraordinarily large and heavy; their beef is succulent and soft with a fine grain. At the end of the 19th century there were 56,000 head of Limpurger cattle, but the breed is now at risk of extinction with just 480 registered animals, 350 of them cows.
Production Area: Limpurg district, Baden Württemberg
Germany – Bamberger Hörnla Potato
A very old native variety, the potato is small, elongated and slightly curved with uneven bumps and hollows on its surface. The skin is smooth and silky with red streaks while the flesh is bright yellow with a nutty flavor. The potato stays firm even after cooking, making it perfect for traditional local recipes such as potato salad.
Production Area: Municipalities of Bamberg, Nuremberg, Kitzingen and Schweinfurt, Region of Franconia (northern Bavaria)
Macedonia – Wild Fig Slatko
From the banks of Lake Dojran to beyond the River Vardar on the border with Greece, the production of slatko (“sweet” in Macedonian), a wild fig preserve, is an ancient tradition. It is mainly women who maintain the traditional recipe for transforming an otherwise inedible fruit into a consumable product, which involves boiling the fruit nine times. The figs are then immersed in sherbet, a syrup of water and sugar, and cooked for another hour. Lemon is added to the resulting slatko to maintain the color of the figs. It is finally packed in glass jars.
Production Area: Municipalities of Dojran, Bogdanci, Valandovo Gevgelja
Netherlands – Drenthe Heath Sheep
The Drenthe Heath Sheep is one the oldest sheep breeds in Western Europe. Small in size, it can remain outdoors the whole year, grazing on the sandy soils of the heathlands. The Presidium will promote meat from the sheep in local restaurants as well as developing an education center for schools with information on the breed’s history, its characteristics and heathland habitat.
Production Area: Drenthe province, northeastern Netherlands
Netherlands – Kempen Heath Sheep
The Kempen Heath Sheep has a white fleece, elegant profile and no horns. It is a hardy breed which spends its days outdoors throughout the year. Conserving the pasture is crucial for protecting this environment and also ensures that the sheep meat will be of excellent quality. The Presidium aims to preserve this sheep breed and reintroduce free-range grazing as a way of conserving the heathland.
Production Area: Kempen region, southern Netherlands
Spain – Zalla Purple Onion
Sweet, juicy and flavorsome but without sharpness, the Zalla onion has a medium sized purple bulb, conical in shape with a pointed end. Though mainly produced for family consumption, it can still be found on market stalls. In the pig-slaughtering season (txarribodas) the onions are used to make Morcillas de las Encartaciones, a traditional local blood sausage. They are also excellent in salads and give a delicate flavor to soups.
Production Area: Municipality of Zalla, province of Biscay, Basque Country
Sweden – Öland Island Brown Beans
Brown beans or bruna bönor are grown on the Swedish island of Öland in the Baltic Sea. Four varieties are cultivated: Stella I, Bonita, Katja and Karin. According to the traditional Swedish recipe, they are stewed in a sweet and sour sauce and served with fried bacon. The Presidium producers aim to promote the beans in a market dominated by large chains and precooked beans from other countries.
Production Area: Island of Öland
Switzerland – Traditionally Matured Emmentaler
An ancient cheese known around the world, Emmentaler is still produced in the traditional way in the Emme Valley. Presidium Emmentaler is made using local raw milk from cows fed a silage-free diet and involves the use of a whey starter culture which requires great skill from the cheesemaker; this is followed by long aging for at least 12 months in damp cellars.
Production Area: Emme Valley, Canton Berne
Switzerland – Dried Green Beans
Drying fruit and vegetables has always been a natural preservation method in Switzerland: it has been customary to harvest native varieties of green beans and then dry them at low temperatures (below 30°C). However, in recent years the native varieties have been displaced by hybrids and industrialized drying processes are increasingly being used. The Presidium was created to preserve the native beans and to promote artisan drying methods.
Production Area: German Switzerland
Switzerland – Rye bread from Val Müstair
The traditional daily bread of Val Müstair is made from rye, but here it is a lighter version with a soft floury crust and dark brown crumb. Known as paun sejel, it consists of two flat loaves joined together along one side and is made from 70% light rye flour and 30% wheat flour. It is eaten fresh, or 2 to 3 days after baking, but in the past farmers would dry the bread and keep it for weeks.
Production Area: Val Müstair, Canton Graubünden
Switzerland – Raw Milk Vacherin Fribourgeois
Vacherin Fribourgeois is a semi-hard, semi-cooked cow’s milk cheese, originally from the French-speaking canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Around 2,500 tonnes are produced annually, but only 2% are made with raw milk. The Presidium was created to promote the raw-milk Vacherin aged for at least three months, when it begins to express its unique characteristics.
Production Area: Canton Fribourg
Lebanon – Freekeh di Jabal ‘Amel
Freekeh, an unusual green wheat, has long been produced in the region of Jabal ‘Amel in the south of Lebanon. Unripe wheat is harvested and left to dry in the sun for a day. It is then laid out on stones together with branches from a local bush called balan. The branches are used as fuel for an intense but brief fire which toasts the wheat quickly and evenly. This stops ripening, improves preservation and gives Freekeh its characteristic toasted flavor.
Production Area: Jabal ‘Amel
New Caledonia – Lifou Island Taro and Yam
Taro and yam are two tubers which have always been a staple part of New Caledonian diet and play a significant role in Kanak social life. Unfortunately they are gradually disappearing, being replaced by imported rice and bread. On Lifou, the largest island in the Loyalty Islands, the producers of the Taro and Yam Presidium are spreading knowledge about the two products to local schools and working to revive local demand.
Production Area: Island of Lifou, Loyalty Islands