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 Almanac 2014

This year, more than ever before, the Slow Food Almanac recounts what we are and what we are becoming through the concrete projects that our association is putting into action around the world. At the last International Congress, these projects were given numerical goals, which represent the three major strategic objectives towards which Slow Food will work in the coming years. Ten thousand products on the Ark of Taste, in … Continued

Heirloom Seeds to Cultivate the Future

With a free downloadable guide, website section and video, Slow Food launches its commitment to protect heirloom seeds… A song by an Italian singer, Sergio Endrigo, goes: “To make a tree it takes a seed, to make a seed it takes a fruit.” That is how a generation of Italian children learnt that there is a link between a seed planted in the ground and a table made of wood. Even more … Continued

Terra Madre Day is even celebrated in the International Space Station this year

Slow Food International Celebrates the Sixth Edition of Terra Madre Day on its 25th Birthday. On December 10, 2014, the international Slow Food network celebrates the rich heritage of food diversity from around the world in a series of events including meetings and debates, picnics and dinners, film screenings, farm visits and much more. Held every year since 2009 on Slow Food’s birthday, the day is an important opportunity for … Continued