At the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012, Slow Food’s five-day celebration of quality food from around the world, over 180 square meters will be dedicated to the Balkans, with products from more than 50 food communities and Slow Food Presidia from the region. Four different paths will lead through the region’s incredible biodiversity, themed around artisanal and mountain cheeses, wild herbs, fruit preserves and wines and spirits.
Artisanal and Mountain Cheeses: The seasonal migration of livestock has a long tradition in the Balkans. Millions of animals, mainly sheep, were once taken from the Black Sea to the Aegean and the Mediterranean every year. Today the last guardians of this ancient tradition are the shepherds and artisans who still produce their cheeses in mountain pastures, surrounded by stunning and pristine landscapes. The Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre offers the opportunity to meet the hardy souls keeping these traditions alive. In the Marketplace, visitors can find the Slow Food Presidia Bucegi Mountains Branza de Burduf from Romania, Bulgarian Tcherni Vit Green Cheese and Mavrovo Reka Mountain Pasture Cheeses from Macedonia, as well as Belo Sirene from Serbia and the Karakachan Sheep Presidium.
Wines and Spirits: Whether rakı in Turkey, raki in Albania, rakija in the Slavic world, this spirit is made across the whole region, from Anatolia to the islands of Dalmatia. The ultimate symbol of hospitality and conviviality, everyone has their own source, a friend or relative in the countryside who still makes it at home. Different varieties from around the Balkans will be available for sampling at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre. Visitors can also explore the world of Balkan wines: Herzegovine wine from Bosnia, Kallmet from Albania and Plavac Mali from Croatia.
Wild Herbs and Medicinal Plants: The rural people of the Balkans have an unparalleled knowledge of medicinal plants and wild herbs, especially the women, the ultimate guardians of the region’s biodiversity. At the Marketplace, visitors can meet Bulgarian wild herb gatherers from Kyustendil and learn about the properties of herbs from Croatia’s Unije Island.
Preserves: The Balkans are home to some of the most outstanding jams, compotes and fruit preserves in the world, thanks to the biodiversity provided by unspoiled forests and pastures, and the existence of many areas suited to cultivating fruit trees. At the Salone, visitors will have a chance to learn more about traditional slatko directly from the producers during the Taste Workshop Albania’s Riches, which will feature Bosnian Pozegaca plum and Macedonian wild fig slatko, both Slow Food Presidia.
An area of the 2012 event is dedicated to the producers and products from six Earth Markets, two of which are from the Balkan region: Tcherni Vit (Bulgaria) and Foça (Turkey). Visitors can learn more about the project, taste and buy a variety of artisanal and traditional products and learn how we can shorten the distance between producers and co-producers.
The Balkan network of food communities will be gathering at the Terra Madre Balkans meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, from June 29 to July 1. The network is coming together to discuss the European Union’s new Common Agricultural Policy and the challenges and opportunities for small-scale farmers in both EU and non-EU countries in the region. Over 150 delegates from 10 countries will participate in meetings, round-table discussions, eat-ins and a market which will showcase quality products from the region.
Slow Food and the Terra Madre network are well rooted in the region and involve many different stakeholders, with over 1,500 Slow Food members, 11 Slow Food Presidia, 60 Terra Madre food communities, 15 food and taste education programs in schools and 25 chefs.
See the program and buy tickets for the events: www.salonedelgustoterramadre.slowfood.com/eventi.plp?pagina=laboratori_del_gusto
Pre-sale of entrance tickets available here: www.salonedelgustoterramadre.slowfood.com