Thousands of artisanal cheeses are disappearing around the world along with the knowledge behind them. The reasons are many: the abandonment of mountain pastures, overly restrictive regulations, long processing times, a market in crisis… To counteract this phenomenon, Slow Food is collecting threatened products on the Ark of Taste, an online catalogue that highlights small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet. The Ark of Taste recognizes the existence of these extraordinary foods at risk of extinction and acknowledges that this common heritage of flavors and culture represents a wealth of biodiversity that must be saved.
To draw attention to the wealth and diversity of traditional dairy products that risk disappearing, the Ark will dock in Bra (Piedmont, Italy) during Cheese* this September 21-23, before setting sail again. For the occasion, everyone is invited to bring and present us an endangered artisanal cheese that they want to save. The result will be hundreds of artisanal cheeses from all over the world brought by visitors, exhibitors and producers and put on display in the city’s Piazza Valfré di Bonzo.
Slow Food thus encourages everyone, no matter whether expert or not, to bring an artisanal cheese that is linked to the memory of the nominator or a community. Our Ark Commission will examine the cheese and its story, and let the product board the Ark if it is at risk of disappearing and lives up to other criteria, such as the link to a specific territory. You can find the criteria here:
The purpose of the Ark of Taste is to make its passengers known, and thus to inspire people to do something to save them. In most cases this means increasing their consumption but in some cases, such as for endangered wild species, eating them less. At Cheese, the variety of cheeses on display from all over the world aims to create awareness about the still-existent choice and variety, but also about the biodiversity that has already been lost, which has led to the homogenizing of our diet through the production and consumption of just a few industrialized foods.
Find out more about the Ark of Taste:
To apply for accreditation for Cheese, please visit the following website:
*The international biennial event organized by the City of Bra and Slow Food is now in its ninth edition. Dedicated to “milk in all its shapes and forms,” it has created an international network of cheesemakers and artisans who gather in Bra every two years to present their products, meet co-producers, discuss old and new challenges of the trade, discuss existing laws and regulations and market prospects.
Cheese 2013 Press Office
Slow Food International: