Our Idea of the Balkans

The Balkans is one of Europe’s least-known regions, still suspended in a seemingly endless European Union integration process. For centuries a crossroads for people, cultures and religions; it is still home to unique gastronomic traditions. These traditions could serve as an economic, social and cultural driving force for many rural communities impoverished by decades of abandonment, migration and scarce development prospects.

And yet these traditions, still remarkably authentic, are at risk of disappearing; suffocated by the lethal embrace of a globalization that considers traditional knowledge to be an old-fashioned legacy from the past. In reality, safeguarding them would contribute significantly to the process of integrating the Balkans, including culturally, into the EU.

Recognizing that no national borders can separate food in the Balkans, the Terra Madre forum was launched in 2010; creating a common platform to investigate, understand but above all preserve and sustain the food heritage of the region. The Terra Madre network promotes the region’s often little-known foods, protects those at risk of disappearing and educates consumers on how to understand and search for local traditions, understand and value local artisan products and the communities that produce them.

ESSEDRA (Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas) project is a natural result of the growing and strenghtening of Terra Madre Balkans network. It was launched in 2012 and is co-funded by the European Union through DG enlargement. The project aims to support the integration process of the Balkan countries and Turkey into Europe, but in the same time create conditions for these countries to preserve their identity, demonstrated by their amazing food diversity and artisanal food.

News & Events

Carlo Petrini in Romania

Slow Food’s International President Meets the Local Terra Madre Network… Carlo Petrini, Slow Food’s international president, will be in Bucharest on March 15 to meet representatives from local institutions and the Slow Food network in Romania. Petrini’s trip will be an opportunity to talk about the upcoming edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, which will be held from September 22 to 26, 2016, in Turin, Italy. This will be … Continued

Protecting Biodiversity in Macedonian Vineyards

A new Slow Food project for the Stanushina grape… Stanushina is a red grape variety indigenous to the Republic of Macedonia, and more precisely, to the Tikvesh wine district in the south of the country. It is probably the best-known wine-growing district of Macedonia and boasts over 260 days of annual sunshine and 12,000 hectares of vineyards, which account for around one-third of the country’s viticulture. Tikvesh is certainly not … Continued

Let’s Not Eat Up Our Planet! Fight Climate Change

In a few days, governments from around the world will be meeting in Paris to talk about climate change. After more than 20 years of failed debate, mediation and forums, the Paris conference (COP21) will attempt to broker a binding, universal agreement for the first time. In the 54 pages of the text of the negotiations, however, the term “agriculture” does not appear once, though there are multiple mentions of … Continued