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

Slow Food in Bosnia and Herzegovina getting a desirable exposure at the Sarajevo Film Festival

The intertwined linkage among the food choices we make in our everyday lives and the environment we live in is what cannot be emphasized strongly enough. For many years now, Slow Food is present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through a range of activities linked to promotion of sustainable agriculture, support to Presidia projects i.e. traditional small-scale food productions that are at risk of extinction, celebration of Terra Madre day, tasting … Continued

The Ark of Taste: Anatolian Cave Cheese

Within the Anatolian caves of Southern Turkey, an age-old recipe is stored and matured deep underground. Here, pillars of goats cheese stand tall. They are made by one of the oldest shephard cultures in the world, stored within sheepskin sacks and then matured within these vast, natural refridgerators. But cheaper imposters are undercutting this artisanal cheese and modern regulations may soon put a stop to its production.   Click here … Continued

Help Us Protect Nature!

The European Commission has decided to carry out an in-depth evaluation (Fitness Check) of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives (EU Nature Directives dating from 1979 and 1992 respectively) to determine whether they effectively protect our natural world. These laws protect our most important nature sites and species and also make a vital contribution to our wellbeing. Given the current deregulatory agenda of the new Juncker Commission and its rhetoric … Continued