Guide to the Slow Food Italy
Movement and Italian Food
What is Slow Food?
Slow food Italy is
dedicated to the preservation of traditional Italian
However, there is more to it than this. Slow food means:
1) Clean food
that is produced in a way that we don't damage eco-systems, encourage
biodiversity and respect the environment.
2) Good food that
is cooked and produced with care.
3) Fair food
where those involved in producing or growing the food are paid fairly
for their time, effort and knowledge. Farmers and producers need to
In addition to upholding these cornerstones the Slow Food Movement
in Italy has set up seeds banks to protect heirloom seeds, speaks
use of pesticides, promotes organic growing and encourages buying
The Slow Food Movement is out to protect unique traditional breeds of
animals, recipes of products, and encourages and supports artisans of
these products and farmers who raise heritage animals.
Slow food Italy is a movement that promotes the pleasure of eating food
grown in respect to the environment nd recognizes
biodiversity. Slow Food is reallyeco-gastronomy.
The History of the Slow Food Movement
More than 20 years ago the Slow Food Movement with a snail as its logo,
was started by Carlo Petrini. Its headquarters. based in the
Piedmont town of Bra, it is a movement that has swept across Europe
uniting artisans of homemade products typical of areas made from
recipes passed down through generations, and small-farming producers of
organically grown food.
The origin of the word Slow Food
Slow Food was deliberately named to oppose Fast Food. This was as a
direct result of McDonalds opening up its stores in Rome near the busy
Spanish Steps, an area also frequented by many young people.
People were horrified to think that in a country that took pride in
their food and the cooking of it, they were going to be over run with
fast food outlets and obese future generations. The Slow Food Movement
was also, in part, defiant against globalization, rather than against
McDonalds in general.
The philosophy behind slow food is that food is connected to
everything, from the economy to the environment. What we eat has
repercussions around the planet. Therefore we should be encouraged to
eat wisely, which goes hand in hand with those who advocate eating food
that has been locally produced.
Arms to the Slow Food Movement
There are several arms to the Slow Food Movement.
The Presidia and The Ark of Taste
The Terra Madre - Mother Earth
Slow Food Ark of Taste and Presidia of Italy
After the Slow Food Movement was launched it became apparent that
further measures were needed to protect the traditional products that
were in danger of becoming lost to modern generations.
One of the major concerns was the running interference from the
European Union who were imposing rules and regulations across the board
dictating how certain foods had to be made.
milk, for example being banned from use in making cheese, or
Marzu, a traditional cheese from Sardinia being
Not everyone would like to eat Casu Marzu and I certainly have always
given it a wide berth as it is a cheese filled with cheese fly maggots
and eaten by the locals with gusto.
A round of Casa Marzy
ready to be eaten. Picture courtesy Shardan
Each to his own, and what right have we to say that a local product
that has been made for thousands of years in the same way should no
longer be produced? Luckily for the Casu Marzu produces the cheese was
declared a traditional food and escaped the clutches of the
heavy-handed European Union and are no longer heavily fined for making
There are now 195 Italian
Presidia that protect foods for the future. There are a
number of Presidia categories; fish,
baked goods and sweets, cheeses, animal breeds, and produce.
Examples of presidia protection are are zolfini
beans that can only be bought in a small area within Tuscany. I love
these little beans, so creamy and unlike other dried beans that Tuscans
are famous for eating. Tuscans are known throughout Italy as bean
There are 4 main varieties of Pecorino that are all protected, but the
Pecorino that is produced near Osilo in Sardinia is protected for its
distinctive buttery, toasted hazelnut flavor.
Slow Food Earth Markets
Another branch to the Slow Food Movements are their Earth Markets.
These are farmers markets that can be found currently in the
These are farmers markets that produce organic food that you can trust.
They are community farmers who respect the mission of the Slow Food
Movement and produce good, clean, fair food for the local population.
Slow Food Italy Terra Madre - Mother Earth
Terra Madre is a chapter of the Slow Food Movement that brings together
their members and gives them a platform to display their produce and
farming methods at various meets. One major event for Terra Madre is
the food exhibition held in Turin every 2 years.
Producers and growers from Italy and Internationally have stalls where
they can showcase their farms
and products, over free tastings to visitors and inform them through
leaflets, talks and video presentations.
The next Terra Madre exhibition will take place in 25-29 October, 2012
at the Lingotto
Fiere and Oval Arena in Turin.
Here is a Short Video on the Slow Food Italy Terra Madre
Italians and Slow Food Italy
Italians are well suited to slow
food as they have always spend time consuming lunch, their main meal of
the day. It is not uncommon for lunch to take several hours and it is
an unhurried affair that is enjoyed with family and friends, enjoying
their company and the good food.
Italian food is simple and
honest, the typical foods of small villages, towns and other areas are
celebrated with pride, and people take time to enjoy the fruits of
their labor no matter what the season.
Slow Food Italy and Traditional Italian Food
Although I often say that there is no such thing as Italian food, this
is a little too simplistic, because in some ways there are foods that
have been exported from the north to the south of Italy and vice versa
that is now eaten by Italians everywhere. Pizza, pasta and polenta are
just 3 examples that come to mind.
But there is certainly traditional Italian food that has enjoyed a long
history though out Italy that is now protected by the Italian
government where certain foods can only carry that name if they were
made or grown locally with
locally grown meats and produce in a specific area. Parma ham can only
be called Parma ham if it is produced in Parma.
In order to protect local foods against industrial agriculture the Slow
Food Movement launched the Slow
Food Ark of Taste.
Slow Food Movement Recipes
love Italy for many reasons, but particularly for the traditional food.
We have travelled the width and breadth of Italy, and only once did we
have a dud meal in all the years we have traveled this lovely country.
it soon became apparent how certain dishes could only be found in
As a result our aim is to share
some lovely authentic Italian food recipes with you on our various
travel guide sections and to give you slow food movement recipes or
tradtional recipes from a particular town or region. Because of their
uniqueness these traditional Italian
recipes belong to that town or region and nowhere else.
The Future of Slow Food Italy and Internationally
The good news is that the Slow Food Movement can now be found in more
than 50 countries around the world supporting small-scale farmers and
sustainable farming. In the States, for example, the Cape May oysters
are being supported, as is the manoomin wild riced gathered by the
Native American Anishinaabeg people.
In the United Kingdon the Irish raw milk cheese makers are under
protection along with the Cornish pilchards and the artisan-made
Somerset Cheddar cheese.
cheesemakers producing yak milk cheese at 4500 meters of altitude to
nomadic fishermen on the Banc d'Arguin in Mauritania, from small
farmers in Bronte, Sicily who pick pistachio nuts by hand on the slopes
of Etna, to curadoras de semillas in Chile who still preserve the
ancient breed of the blue egg chicken, the Slow Food Movement is
helping to protect traditional food and farming for generations to come.