Japanese gastronomic culture at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto  

12 Sep 2022 | English

The 14th edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will take place in Turin from September 22-26, 2022. Terra Madre, the largest gathering of the Slow Food network, aims at designing a different future for food, a future that takes shape through the daily choices of individuals, in the collective efforts of communities, and in the policies of both public and private institutions. Over 3000 delegates from 130 countries and more than 600 exhibitors will participate in the event.

Slow Food’s delegation from Japan consists of 60 delegates, consisting of a diverse  group of farmers, producers, cooks, academics and activists, where the youngest is 14 and the oldest is 79. There are also indigenous network members, 6 of the Ainu People and 5 from the Ryukyu People.

After the 8th Slow Food International Congress held on July 16, we are proud to welcome Megumi Watanabe, member of the Board of Directors of Slow Food International. A graduate of Waseda University in Tokyo and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, she joined Slow Food during her university years and co-founded the Slow Food Youth Network Japan. She also played a central role in the start-up of Slow Food Nippon, of which she has been president since April 2019.

Taste Workshops, Forums and RegenerActions
Megumi is the moderator of the Slow Alliance that links chefs and producers on Monday, September 26 at the Gino Strada Arena. In this meeting Shinobu Namae, chef at L’effervescence, a Tokyo restaurant with three Michelin stars, Slow Food activist and member of Relais et Chateaux, is one of the representatives of the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance that brings together more than a thousand cooks and chefs in 26 countries. These cooks are united in their commitment to work with local producers and use their produce in order to protect local biodiversity, conserve gastronomic knowledge and local cultures. In this meeting they will tell stories of resistance and community, and how a dish cooked with love and care can change things, and, above all, how good agriculture needs good cooks.

The culinary traditions of Japan have long enchanted outsiders for their complex preparations and attention to detail, which may seem simple at first glance. We explore one example in the Taste Workshop Forms of rice: sake and onigiri, on Thursday, September 22 at 1 p.m., where we’ll learn how to taste sake with two producers, Terada Honke and Niida Honke, two leading names in the sector who grow their own rice to make the beverage. The sake will be paired with a selection of onigiri presented by Japanese chef Yoshie Kamiya, who explains the importance of rice in Japanese culture.

On Friday, September 23 at 4 p.m, during the workshop Edible education – tips from Japan, outdoor & edible educator Ai Onodera demonstrates a planting of Japanese soybeans using eggshell planters. She will also talk about soil preparations with rice bran and green manure, as well as tips to build community support for edible education at schools by recycling fishing nets and local bamboo materials.

With 2022 kicking off the International decade of indigenous languages, the forum Saving the languages, foods and traditional knowledge of indigenous tribes, at the Berta Caceres Arena, on Saturday, September 24 at 12 p.m. is a chance to assess the initiatives implemented to save the knowledge, biodiversity, languages and cultures of indigenous communities all over the world, from Japan to Peru. Among the speakers is Chiyo Tsukayama, an elder from Slow Food Ryukyu, who has long been practicing Slow Food concept cuisine in Miyako Island, Okinawa and will share with us her knowledge.

On Saturday, September 24 at 3 p.m., we discover the wonderful world of algae and their extraordinary properties, exploring the coasts of Japan, which has more than 1500 varieties of seaweed, mostly edible. We will touch on the diversity and versatility of seaweed in cuisine with Yuichi Tomohiro and Jun Hachiya, co-founder of Sea Vegetables, and Shui Ishizaka, Australian-born Japanese chef at the Sea Vegetable kitchen. From the Oga peninsula in Akita prefecture, a very traditional, Buddhist vegetarian seaweed cuisine culture will also be presented. You can also taste “sea basil” pasta cooked by Fishschool at the Japan stand.

Japanese products from the Ark of Taste will also be present: From Tokushima West-Awa GIAHS site, six different types of Ark of Taste cereals will be introduced and you can learn about it at the Japan stand. The Ark of Taste picture book for children, a project launched by Slow Food Nippon last year, will be presented in the forum “From the Ark of Taste to the Presidia: how we are saving biodiversity, at Gino Strada Arena, on Saturday, September 24 at 6 p.m.

Finally on Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m. Ishin Motoyama, 14 year-old farmers’ son from Hokkaido, will give a speech at the beginning of SFYN Tank. The SFYN Tank is a design thinking workshop to find practical solutions that can answer some crucial questions related to food systems. Young activists from all over the world with different backgrounds will meet and have the chance to pitch their suggested solutions to the issues they’re working on.

Seaweed Summit
From high-end gastronomy by renowned chefs to healthy diets and environmentally-friendly food, seaweed is ever more in demand all over the world. At Terra Madre the Japanese delegation organize an informal Seaweed Summit, a space for small-scale producers and activists from around the world to share their local seaweeds. The summit is an opportunity to discuss the complexity and richness of what eating seaweed means to humankind and what common problems we face, as well to exchange know-how and ideas on eating seaweed. The event will take place on Friday, September 23, just after the forum Business won’t save the sea. The following form can be filled out to register interest in the event.

Specialities at the Japan stand

Most of the essential seasonings of Japanese cuisine will be present at the Japan stand. Producers of Matsunoyama Salt make salt out of hot spring water, which is actually sea water from 12 million years ago. Most soy sauce factories use imported soybeans, and domestic soybeans are mostly from Hokkaido. Kajita Soy Sauce is a very rare soy sauce factory that uses local raw materials from the island of Shikoku.  Hatcho Miso is the oldest type of miso in Japan, which uses only soybeans, salt and water, whereas other types of miso also use wheat or rice. This traditional Hatcho Miso is now facing a GI (Geographical Indication, like DOP) issue, as the government has registered another association’s application for the sake of quantity for export. If nothing changes, the two oldest and most traditional Hatcho Miso producers will not be able to use the name “Hatcho Miso” from 2026. Matsunoyama Salt and Hatcho Miso will have a small exhibition space in the Japan stand where visitors can learn more about these rare products.

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