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

The Battle is Just Beginning

Two years on from the launch of the ESSEDRA project, Ivo Kara Pesic, Dubrovnik Convivium Leader and organizer of the most recent Terra Madre Balkans takes a look back…  The Terra Madre Balkans network met in June this year, in Dubrovnik, to discuss issues crucial to the survival of the small-scale food producers and traditional fishers of our countries. For us organizers, the event was a great challenge. But if … Continued

Get Ready to Celebrate

Worldwide… As you know, the most important thing we can do is nourish the Slow Food movement from the bottom up. That is why we need everyone who supports Slow Food to get involved in this year’s Terra Madre Day! This global celebration of local food, held every year on December 10, is your chance to engage with communities across the globe, right in their hometowns. We invite everybody, members … Continued

Under the Croatian Sky

Croatia… The Balkans: a region rich in culture, traditions and foods of great value, many of which are still little known but which could act as a driving force for the many rural communities that produce them The third edition of Terra Madre Balkans was held in Dubrovnik from June 19 to 22. After two editions in Sofia, the challenge of moving the event to a new location paid off, … Continued