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 Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance Comes to Albania

Slow Food and VIS Albania (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo), in collaboration with the Albanian Ministry for Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management, are proud to announce the launch of the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in Albania. The Alliance will be officially presented on June 19, 2015 at 9am in the hall of the Ministry for Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management, Sheshi Skenderbej 2, Tirana. Speaking at the event … Continued

Proud to Be a Peasant

Albania… Asserting pride in working in close contact with the land can be revolutionary in Albania, where these days a connection to the earth can be a source of ill-concealed shame. Self-esteem is something strong, simple and courageous. Sometimes the most important ingredients are not found on the pages of menu. Instead, uncovering them means carefully observing the eyes and hands of those who match flavors in a subtle balance … Continued

Slow Food to Participate in the Round Table on Food Hygiene Organized by the European Union at Expo

Dessislava Dimitrova, Coordinator of Slow Food in Bulgaria and Slow Food International Councillor for the Balkans, will attend a round table organized by DG SANTE called “Hygiene and Flexibility for Small Food Producers. Fit for Purpose?” taking place at 13 pm on Friday, June 12 in the EU Pavilion at Expo. Tackling the issues of hygiene and flexibility measures for small-scale producers in the Food Hygiene Package is currently an important topic as several small-scale food producers face daily difficulties linked to the too stringent application of … Continued