29 Jul 2021 | English

Relais & Châteaux and Slow Food join forces to protect heritage and biodiversity 

For the first time in Relais & Chateaux history, the association unites to add local, endangered products to Slow Food’s Ark of Taste; the chefs are saving near-extinct foods in their respective terroir to ensure the preservation of culinary heritage, which will culminate into the Food for Change campaign, celebrated in partnership with Slow Food from 7-10 October.

Created in 1996, Slow Food’s Ark of Taste is an online catalogue of over 5500 foods (plant varieties, animal breeds and traditional processed products such as cheeses, cured meats, breads, sweets, etc.) from small-scale quality production. The Ark of Taste is an authority on biodiversity charting edible history, and it creates an invaluable connection between small producers, chefs, academics, consumers and policymakers. As an international reference, it preserves culinary heritage and biodiversity for the future of our food systems.

To date, Slow Food has already approved 39 products from Relais & Châteaux properties in 21 countries, with the objective to achieve 99 new nominations by October when this milestone will be celebrated through a joint campaign called Food for Change. The nominations must undergo a strict evaluation process through 20 technical committees, Slow Food’s Content and Projects Hub and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo before being approved to the Ark of Taste.

The Food for Change campaign 2021:

In order to protect and preserve these Ark of Taste products, many need to be rediscovered and put back on the table, and producers need to be supported and have their stories told. So from 7-10 October, Relais & Châteaux chefs will raise awareness of the near-extinct foods that they nominated and explain to their guests and followers why biodiversity and culinary heritage matter as well as how to protect and cook the ingredients. On the other hand, some Ark of Taste products are endangered wild species, which either need to be consumed less or not at all in order to allow the species to rest and regenerate. Overall the goal is to raise awareness of how to protect these products on a case-by-case basis.

Agricultural biodiversity and small–scale, family-based food production systems are in danger throughout the world due to industrialization, genetic erosion, changing consumption patterns, climate change, the abandonment of rural areas, migration, and conflict. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result. Relais & Châteaux members, most often located in remote areas, are all committed towards making a better world through cuisine and hospitality as pledged at UNESCO in 2014. In cooking local and seasonal produce (<50km / 30mi), increasing demand for heirloom varieties, eliminating meat from industrial livestock production and focusing on a plant-forward approach, chefs significantly reduce each plate’s carbon footprint and support farmers that raise heritage livestock breeds or save heirloom vegetable seeds. Through Food for Change, Relais & Châteaux and Slow Food hope to inspire people around the world to be more mindful about our food system, which is responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Biodiversity is not only genetic, but also cultural; it comes from and belongs to the heritage and traditions of the entire planet,” comments Slow Food president Carlo Petrini. “With the industrialization of our food system, we risk losing both the hundreds of corn varieties and the savoir-faire of a small village’s cheese producer.”

For Olivier Roellinger, Vice President of Relais & Châteaux, “What’s the point of eating the same food or drinking the same wine in every country around the world? Relais & Châteaux properties represent the diversity of cuisines; they are guardians of biodiversity, sharing all that is good and beautiful in this world.”

This initiative reflects the ongoing partnership – now in its 5th year – between Relais & Châteaux and Slow Food, which will culminate in the 4th annual Food for Change campaign from 7-10 October 2021.


  1. Algarroba, ARGENTINA

Nominated by chef Léo Bramajo of Relais & Châteaux El Colibrì

  1. Ulluco, Jujuy, ARGENTINA

Nominated by chef Diego De Fernandez of Relais & Châteaux House of Jasmines

  1. Murray Cod, AUSTRALIA

Nominated by chef Josep Espuga of Relais & Châteaux Laura at Pt Leo Estate 

  1. Les Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve (Traditional Herbes Salées), CANADA

Nominated by chef Alex Bouchard of Relais & Châteaux Auberge Saint-Antoine

  1. Jicote Barcino Honey (Miel de Jicote Barcino), COSTA RICA

Nominated by chef Nicolás Di Paolo of Relais & Châteaux El Silencio Lodge & Spa

  1. Malanga, COSTA RICA

Nominated by chef Quentin Villers of Relais & Châteaux Nayara Springs

  1. Chontaduro, cachipay, jijirre, bobi, cachipaes, pichuguao, pijuayo, pupunha, supa, tembé, ECUADOR

Nominated by chef Cristian Puente G. of Relais & Châteaux Pikaia Lodge

  1. Raw Milk Farmhouse Chaource, FRANCE

Nominated by chef Philippe Mille of Relais & Châteaux Domaine Les Crayères (chef: Philippe Mille)  

  1. Pois blond de la planèze, FRANCE

Nominated by chef César Troisgros of Relais & Châteaux Troisgros

  1. Ixcan cardamom, GUATEMALA

Nominated by chef Alvari Perera of Relais & Châteaux Casa Palopó

  1. Kumatiya, Rajasthan, INDIA

Nominated by Maître de Maison Miss Megha Verma of Relais & Châteaux The SUJÁN Jawai

  1. Seeraga Samba, INDIA

Nominated by chef Kannan Sridhar of Relais & Châteaux Svatma, Thanjavur

  1. Irish Dexter Cow, IRELAND

Nominated by chef Stephen Hayes of Relais & Châteaux Cashel Palace

  1. Cece Rugoso Maremmano, ITALY

Nominated by chef Fabrizio Reffo of Relais & Châteaux Gallia Palace Beach Golf Spa Resort

  1. Pollo Valdarno, ITALY

Nominated by chef Gaetano Trovato of Relais & Châteaux Arnolfo Ristorante

  1. Zotolo, ITALY

Nominated by chef Loris Indri of Relais & Châteaux Hôtel Londra Palace

  1. Vaciarin Valsesiano, ITALY

Nominated by chef Fabrizio Reffo of Relais & Châteaux Gallia Palace Beach Golf Spa Resort

  1. Farro della Garfagnana, ITALY

Nominated by chef Luca Landi of Relais & Châteaux Hotel Plaza e de Russie (Lunasia Ristorante)

  1. Mascherpa d’alpeggio, ITALY

Nominated by Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani of Relais & Châteaux Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia 

  1. Ragusa carob, ITALY

Nominated by chef Vincenzo Candiano of Relais & Châteaux Locanda Don Serafino

  1. Miel des ruches d’Inzerki, MOROCCO

Nominated by chef Jean-Claude Orly of Relais & Châteaux Villa des Orangers

  1. Wessex Saddleback Pig, NEW ZEALAND

Nominated by chef Jimmy McIntyre of Relais & Châteaux Otahuna Lodge

  1. Galinha Preta Lusitânica, PORTUGAL

Nominated by chef Ricardo Costa of Relais & Châteaux The Yeatman

  1. Alentejo breed, PORTUGAL

Nominated by Rodrigo Madeira of Relais & Châteaux Herdade da Malhadinha Nova

  1. Copălău garlic,­­ ROMANIA

Nominated by chef Bogdan Alexandrescu of Relais & Châteaux Epoque Hotel

  1. Maellana Sheep, SPAIN

Nominated by chef Rubén Catalan of Relais & Châteaux La Torre del Visco

  1. Pita Pinta Asturiana, SPAIN

Nominated by chef Ignacio Garcìa Canellada of Relais & Châteaux Palacio de Luces

  1. Iberian Pork – Cerdo Ibérico, SPAIN

Nominated by chef Toño Perez of Relais & Châteaux Atrio Restaurante Hotel

  1. Tomate Rosa d’Albesa, SPAIN

Nominated by chef Alain Guiard of Relais & Châteaux Hotel Neri

  1. Buchu, SOUTH AFRICA

Nominated by chef Peter Tempelhoff of Relais & Châteaux Ellerman House

  1. Lotus Root, SRI LANKA

Nominated by chef Susantha Medagedara of Relais & Châteaux Wild Coast Tented Lodge

  1. Brabant Gray Buckwheat, THE NETHERLANDS

Nominated by chef Robert Levels of Relais & Châteaux Chateau Neercanne

  1. Fire shrimp (velvet shrimp), TAIWAN

Nominated by chef Jackie Chou of Relais & Châteaux Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort

  1. Badger faced Welsh Mountain Sheep, UNITED KINGDOM

Nominated by chef Gareth Stevenson of Relais & Châteaux Palé Hall

  1. Candy Roaster Squash, North Carolina, USA

Nominated by chef Jake Schmidt of Relais & Châteaux The Swag

  1. Staghorn Sumac, Northeastern USA

Nominated by chef Daniel Boulud of Relais & Châteaux Restaurant Daniel

  1. Ramp, Ramps, Ramson, Wild Leek, Wild Garlic, Northeastern USA

Nominated by chef Matt Voskuil of Relais & Châteaux Ocean House

  1. Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying Pepper, California, USA

Nominated by chef Robert Curry of Relais & Châteaux Auberge du Soleil

  1. Gravenstein Apple, California, USA

Nominated by Kyle Connaughton of Relais & Châteaux SingleThread Farm Restaurant Inn






About Relais & Châteaux

Established in 1954, Relais & Châteaux is an association of more than 580 landmark hotels and restaurants operated by independent innkeepers, chefs and owners who share a passion for their businesses and a desire for authenticity in their relationships with their clientele.

Relais & Châteaux is established around the globe, from the Napa Valley vineyards and French Provence to the beaches of the Indian Ocean. It offers an introduction to a lifestyle inspired by local culture and a unique dip into human history. Relais & Châteaux members have a driving desire to protect and promote the richness and diversity of the world’s cuisine and traditions of hospitality. They are committed to preserving local heritage and the environment, as encompassed in the charter presented to UNESCO in November 2014. @relaischateaux #relaischateaux #deliciousjourneys


Slow Food

Slow Food is a worldwide network of local communities founded in 1989 in order to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and the spread of fast food culture. Since then, Slow Food has grown to become a global movement that involves millions of people in more than 160 countries and works so that we can all have access to good, clean and fair food.



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