Slow Food: an international movement with local and national branches
Slow Food is an association type of movement from Italy that promotes a “new gastronomy”, to be viewed as an expression of local culture and identity. To defend the pleasure associated with food, reflecting on flavor and the right to enjoy oneself with a new sense of responsibility, to take into account a balanced ecosystem, defending biodiversity and ethical commitments with producers – these are some of the missions taken on by the Slow Food movement.
Founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 in Bra, Italy, the Slow Food association took root in Spain in 1989. Since then, the “conviviums” (regional or local envoys as they call themselves) have focused on the dissemination of local products, the philosophy of reasonable and seasonal consumption and the support of local producers who respect the environment and their local biodiversity.
COSTA DEL SOL established a convivium in 2012, headquartered in Marbella. http://marbella.slowfood.es
Slow Food and the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition
In all, Slow Food is a philosophy of life.
With a motto of “eat well, clean and righteous”, their philosophy realizes itself and is followed in 160 countries by more than 150,000 active members and millions of other sympathizers.
This year, Slow Food is one of the most important collaborators in the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition. They have been allocated a space of 3500 m2 in which they will set up events and showings of products from various spheres of interest, all of which fit closely into the theme of this year’s exposition: “feed the planet, get energy for life”. http://www.expo2015.org/en
The Ark of Taste and Villa El Cerrajon de Alhaurin el Grande
Out of the many different activities put on by Slow Food International, one called the “Ark of Taste” consists of retrieving and cataloging food, grouping singular families, and displaying excellent artisan gastronomic products, made in small scale and in endanger of extinction, in order to highlight the intrinsic value of these products offered by the Earth.
Since 1996, 1,519 products from dozens of countries have been added to the Ark of Taste, so as to document, recognize and protect these foods.
Around Malaga, in the heart of the Guadalhorce Valley – a source of unmatched citrus agrobiodiversity within the Costa del Sol convivium – we discovered an estate whose owners are proactive towards the preservation of the citrus varieties in danger of extinction, such as sweet lemons and Castilian tangerines among others.
We went to visit them and met with a group of students from the Slow Food University at Pollenzo (Italy) where they study food sciences.
The group, composed of ten young people of different nationalities, visited Andalucia and discovered the uniqueness of the local products, while keeping in mind the Slow Food philosophy and the framework of the Ark of Taste. Olive oils, citruses, wines, poultry farms, vegetable patches, etc., all have been put into the field of investigation for these youngsters’ week of fame.
If the El Cerrajon estate can enter into the Ark of Taste program, it’s surely because their owners are preserving the local citrus varieties in danger of extinction.
The Malaga region, in particular the Guadalhorce Valley, is home to a citrus agrobiodiversity which is a fundamental part of the local history currently being lost due to the intensive farming of agricultural holdings in the area. Below are some of the varieties of citrus being preserved at the Cerrajon estate, some of which have nearly disappeared:
Oranges: navelina, navelate. valencialate, salustiana, dulce grano de oro, cachorreña.
Lemons: verna, real, sweet, fino, mandarin lemons, criollo, French
Mandarins: clementie, clemenule, clemenville, Castillian
Others: Zamboa, grapefruit, Buddha’s hand, lime
Touring the property or purchasing some of the seasonal products is at the discretion of owners Salvador and Isabel and their desire to transmit their passion through some hands-on teaching sessions.
Walking through the rows of citrus trees, we had a nice encounter with one of the “collaborators” on the property, Roberto, a donkey and natural equine of the area and an endangered species, who helps out on the farm and transports things amongst the workers.
After our tour of the farm and having finally finished up the day, the hosts offered a typical Malagan menu made from produce found on the estate and from the organic vegetable farm annex: Cachorreñas soup, gazpacho lettuce, Malagueña salad, lemon tenderloin, toast with cane jelly, as well as other seasonal specialties. www.ecocitricos.org
Evelyne Ramelet – Redactora bilingüe.