Friday, December 25, 2009

Taste Education - from Terra Madre Newsletter

Taste Education

Becoming Co-producers...

Through its educational activities, Slow Food endeavors to create a new connection between food, the land and people. Various initiatives are organized for members and the public, and for both adults and children: innovative Taste Education approaches based on the discovery of food through the senses – taste and pleasure of food – as well as a commitment to clean production, short food chains, protecting local cultures and traditions and giving recognition to small food producers. Using a wide range of methods - stories, simulation, cinema, tastings, school gardens - Slow Food education promotes a move from consumer to co-producer.

This approach is focused on helping people to better understand where food comes from, how and by whom it is produced. Many education projects develop through the creation of a “learning community” - bringing together different people with varied skills (e.g. parents, farmers, dieticians, teachers, city councilors and cooks) whose joint influence can bring about better, more aware and more responsible food choices.

While some countries have an extensive Slow Food network that has been focusing on education for years, other regions are in the very early stages, with just a few convivia that are slowly, but creatively integrating education into their activities. From Uganda to Canada to Italy, Slow Food is developing innovative educational activities all around the world. To read more about these activities, download the Slow Learning report here.

To bring Taste Education approach to more people, the Slow Food Education Office produced a new kit To the Origins of Taste in 2009. Available in eight languages, the sensory course is made up of three elements: an introductory video in which participants are familiarized with basic taste concepts; a series of interactive games to be set up at six sensory stations and a pre-recorded, guided tasting. The kit has had around 350 requests so far, mainly by convivium leaders, and it has been used across all continents at community events and in schools, and is getting very positive feedback.

Another international project launched this year is the Slow Food Dream Canteen, a European network of schools working towards better student meals and increased awareness of food issues. So far 18 schools from 16 countries are participating in the project, each working on various aspects of improving their canteen service: reviewing tenders, shortening the food chain to use fresher, seasonal local food, waste management, promoting conviviality and healthy food during meals, as well as integrating sensory education and food culture topics to their classrooms.

In 2010, Slow Food will reflect on the wealth of experiences generated by our education projects around the world and bring them together to produce a Slow Food Taste Education Manifesto. This manifesto will provide a clear, common platform for the future, and will be presented at Terra Madre in 2010.

What is Terra Madre?


Extract from Terra Madre, Carlo Petrini’s latest book.

Terra Madre first appeared on the global political and economic scene in 2004. It began as a large meeting of people from all over the world, but soon turned into a permanent network—or rather a number of networks—whose members work day by day, wherever they happen to be, to create a new economic, agricultural, food and cultural model.

Terra Madre is a concrete way of putting into practice what has been defined as “glocalism”: a set of actions carried out on a local scale to generate major repercussions on a global scale. It has evolved in the course of time and now has a policy of its own, shared values and medium and long-term objectives. Terra Madre is thus much more than just a biennial get-together. ...-... It is an open network of local food communities that welcomes anyone who shares its ideals, even if they do things differently or work in diverse geographical and operating contexts. It embodies a new approach to the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food, drawing liberally on the history of the world’s populations, but also looking ahead. It’s conscious of the mess we have gotten ourselves into, but it’s not afraid of the future.

The 1,000 events organized for Terra Madre Day by the Slow Food and Terra Madre network, together have just proven this. Congratulations and keep the good work and the spirits up.

Carlo Petrini
Slow Food Founder and President

Season's Greetings from Slow Food

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Terra Madre Day in Hamra Beirut

Celebrating local wine, local food, and the conviviality of being together!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Terra Madre Day: Dec. 10 2009

Terra madre

Slow Food will be introducing a worldwide Terra Madre Day, with the first edition to be held on December 10, 2009 – Slow Food International’s twentieth anniversary. This day will be celebrated by the Slow Food network, across the 150 countries in which it is active, to celebrate ‘eating local’ and the crucial work being done by the Terra Madre food communities – a network of farmers, artisan producers, cooks, academics and youth for sustainable food production launched by Slow Food in 2004.
‘Terra Madre Day is a way to celebrate our connection to the earth’, said Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini. ‘It doesn’t matter how we celebrate it – you can celebrate it at home, or organize a community or school event, the important thing is that we celebrate eating local.’

Petrini identified some of the key considerations at the base of the Slow Food philosophy to be celebrated and promoted through Terra Madre Day:

- Food is a right for everyone;
- Small-scale farming is the future;
- Food sovereignty is key to communities;
- Biodiversity is essential to a healthy food future;
- We have the right to preserve our cultural and local identities;
- Agriculture is closely linked to the environment;
- Food production and trade must be socially just.

We will be organizing in Lebanon a special event, so keep posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slow Food Manifesto... on Fast Life

"The culture of our times rests on a false interpretation of industrial civilization; in the name of dynamism and acceleration, man invents machines to find relief from work but at the same time adopts the machine as a model of how to live his life...Against those, and they are in the majority, who can't see the difference between efficiency and frenzy, we propose a healthy dose of sensual pleasures to be followed up with prolonged enjoyment."

If you would like to read a very interesting story about the Slow Food Revolution:
The Slow Food Story: Politics and Pleasure by Geoff Andrews.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Darfieh - Lebanon's first Slow Food Presidium

© photo Barbara Abdeni Massaad

Text of the Brochure printed in 2006, Lebanon's first presidium:
(in French)

Fromage Darfiyeh

Dans l’arrière-pays libanais, forteresse traditionnelle des maronites, là où paissent les chèvres Baladi (une antique race locale), les cèdres séculaires résistent sur les flancs du Mont Liban, Dans cette région à 100 km à nord de Beyrouth les chèvres Baladi sont élevées pour leur lait mais aussi pour leur viande. Et c’est à côté des villages de Ehden, Inata et Bcharré où a vécu le poète Khalil Gibran, auteur du célèbre Le Prophète, que l’on produit encore aujourd’hui le fromage Darfiyeh : avec le lait cru de chèvre selon une méthode traditionnelle.
Une des caractéristiques de ce fromage antique est sa confection plutôt particulière : la peau de chèvre (Dariff), est lavée et salée pour être ensuite utilisée comme besace dans laquelle on affine le fromage. Le lait de chèvre est tout d’abord filtré pour éliminer les impuretés ; on le laisse ensuite reposer pendant un minimum de 24 heures. La présure, souvent de chevreau, est ensuite ajoutée au lait ; la coagulation se fait à 30-35 degrés. Le caillé est coupé au couteau ensuite moulé de façon à obtenir une boule de fromage qui s’égoutte peu à peu et que l’on sale.
On réchauffe le lactosérum qui reste pour obtenir l’Arichi, une espèce de ricotta, que l’on mange d’habitude sucrée. La peau de la chèvre est lavée et salée, les pattes sont nouées avec une corde solide en laissant uniquement le cou ouvert. On remplit la peau de couches successives de fromage et de arichi, en salant entre une couche et l’autre et on ferme bien. Les peaux sont placées sur des plateaux en bois ou en métal dans une cave naturelle humide, pendant une durée d’affinage de 1 à 6 mois durant laquelle on les tourne périodiquement.
Le Darfiyeh a une pate blanche qui s’effrite dans la bouche : quand il est frais la sensation hircine est intense, au fur et à mesure qu’il s’affine le goût est plus complexe et pénétrant avec des notes piquantes.
La production de ce fromage a besoin de la contribution de toute la famille : le père abat les chèvres, les enfants s’occupent du troupeau alors que la mère se consacre à la production du fromage. La vente du fromage frais se fait souvent directement dans la boucherie du village, où l’on peut aussi acheter la viande de chèvre: les clients de la côte font un long voyage pour venir en montagne acheter du fromage frais de chèvre. Et même à Beyrouth, la plupart des gens n’a jamais entendu parler du Darfiyeh.

La Sentinelle

La Sentinelle libanaise est née pour sauvegarder la production traditionnelle d’un fromage en voie de disparition : le Darfiyeh, produit avec du lait cru de chèvre et affiné dans la peau de chèvre (dariff). Le projet impliquera petit à petit tous les producteurs de ce fromage, mais parmi les différents objectifs il y a celui d’aider à résoudre le problème des pâturages pour les chèvres, qui devront être réglementés et non pas interdits.
Grâce à sa longue période de conservation, on peut trouver du Darfieyh tout au long de l’année, c’est essentiel pour intégrer le revenu des bergers. Mais il y a encore beaucoup à faire : la Sentinelle devra en effet aider les producteurs à créer une association et, avec l’aide de techniciens et de vétérinaires sur place, travailler sur la qualité du point de vue sanitaire et organoleptique.
Il faudra enfin définir un cahier des charges pour la production et promouvoir ce fromage antique, en commençant par la capitale.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Biodiversity in Words ...

Please take time to read this very important text. They are very important words written by the Slow Food Foundation- let the words seep in and try to make a difference everyday to make this world a better place!

Biodiversity is not an abstract concept.
It is life itself: populations, nature and our planet.
Biodiversity is made up of people, wild and cultivated plants, domesticated and wild animals.
Biodiversity is made up of natural climates and environments, languages and cultures and food.
Its custodians are herders, farmers, fishermen, and artisans, yet they are threatened by the rules of global market, the food industry and standardized agriculture.
300,000 plant varieties have become extinct in the last century and one more is lost every six hours.
33% of native cattle, sheep and pig breeds have disappeared or are close to disappearing.
75% of the planet’s fisheries are at risk of elimination.
The deluge of homogenization affects vegetable, fruit and animal breeds, as well as cheese, cured meats, bread and cakes and biscuits.
This is the folly of a hyperactive agricultural system.
Rather than feeding the planet, it has polluted it, eliminating the cultural identities of entire populations and dramatically reducing diversity.
It is for these reasons that Slow Food fights for sustainable agriculture and a quality food that is good, clean, and fair.
This is why the Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity was founded.
Thanks to the Ark of Taste project, the Slow Food foundation has catalogued 700 quality products from all over the world that are at risk of extinction.
The Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity is working to create a farmer’s market and a worldwide network.
Promoting farmer’s markets means promoting short production lives that reduce the number of intermediaries between those who produce and those who consume.
With more than 300 presidia in 42 countries, Slow Food Foundation involves approximately 10,000 small scale producers all over the world.
The presidia give farmer’s, herders, fishermen, and artisans cultural recognition.
They protect unique regions and ecosystems throughout the world.
The presidia safeguard native breeds, local plant varieties and traditional processing methods.
They promote sustainable agricultural techniques that respect the environment and animal well being.
Help us save the world’s best
Support the Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cheese in Bra

This is for those who had the occasion to go to Bra this year for the Cheese festival - and for those who did not, here is a small taste ...

Lebanon showcased in last year's Cheese two important local cheeses: the darfieh (the first Lebanese presidia) and the famous vegan cheese called kishk el khameer (the second presidia) ...

© Cheese photo (upper left) Barbara Abdeni Massaad

This text is taken from the official Cheese 2009 site:
for more details:

Why Cheese?

What is Cheese 2009? In short, it is a story – told through words, voices, images and aromas – set primarily in the mountains.

The work of herders who pasture their flocks in mountain meadows and make cheese in Alpine dairies, with great respect for the principles of environmental sustainability, is an important social, economic, rural and cultural resource for their local areas.

Cheese has aimed to offer visitors an opportunity to learnThe event in Bra will recognize these values, highlighting the fundamental role cheesemakers play in safeguarding mountain ecosystems and the environment in general. Since its first edition, Cheese has aimed to offer visitors an opportunity to learn (and isn’t it perhaps true that we learn more having fun!), and to be an event rich in information, which is passed on directly by those whose lives revolve around the world of dairy.

At Cheese, people are enticed from many regions and countries, filling the streets to browse and taste among the stalls of the busy market. A place blends into another place and a time into another time, thus revealing connections and bonds.

Through meeting producers and sampling their cheeses, attending Milk Workshops and other educational activities as well as enjoying the concerts and Street Food stands, during the days of Cheese visitors will be able to gain awareness about the importance of agricultural and rural activities in relation to environmental protection.

 In this way, we seek to reverse the trend of depopulation in mountain areas and the resulting abandonment of traditional pastoral practices, endangering centuries-old equilibriums and causing the disappearance of products, customs and traditions.

It is these products, customs and traditions that Cheese wants to help promote and protect.

What is Slow Food?

What is Slow Food?

Slow food is an international non-profit organization association.

It was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 as a response to the standardizing effects of fast food and frenetic pace of the “fast way of life”.

It now involves over 80,000 people in 104 countries around the world.

In each country conviviums are created numbering 750 all around the world, thus the creation of Slow Food Beirut in Lebanon.

What are the aims of Slow Food?

Slow food’s aim is to link ethic and pleasure.

It celebrates differences in flavors, artisan food production, small-scale agriculture, sustainable approaches to fishing and farming.

It works on restoring cultural dignity to food, to promote taste education and strives to defend biodiversity.

Slow Food defends biodiversity:

Slow food records plant species and animal breeds at risk of extinction and bring them into the Ark of Taste.

Slow food supports practical initiatives through Presidia projects aiming to safeguard animal breeds and plant varieties, protect tradition production methods, save outstanding food products and their places of origin.

Slow food celebrates through the slow food award for the defense of biodiversity, the defenders of the planet.

Slow food provides resources through the slow food foundation for biodiversity. Financial support is required to implement the many initiatives in defense of biodiversity.

Slow Food educates:

Slow food organizes educational programs at all levels and for everyone: children and teacher, members around the world and anyone wanting to attend a slow food event.

The University of Gastronomic Sciences – the only university of its kind, where high level research is carried out .

Slow Food events:

Slow food events give people the opportunity to meet producers, to learn more and taste the fruits of their noble and essential labors.

Salon del Gusto in Turin, Italy

Cheese in Bra, Italy

Slow fish in Genoa, Italy

Westward Slow, in Denver, USA

Aux Origines du Gout in Montpellier, France

The German Cheese Market at Nieheim, Gemany

And many more…

© Photo Barbara Abdeni Massaad