Third Terra Madre Balkans Coming in June

Croatia… From June 19 to 21, the Slow Food and Terra Madre Balkans network will converge on Dubrovnik for a gathering dedicated to small-scale producers and local foods… Two years have passed since the last meeting of the Slow Food and Terra Madre network. That important gathering gave producers, consumers and civil society organizations a chance to share and compare their experiences. During the last Terra Madre Balkans, held in … Continued

When Hygiene Constrains Quality

Macedonia… Producing safe food is sacrosanct, but when applied with no flexibility, hygiene regulations and packages can end up creating more damage for local products than benefits to food safety… All 15 of us struggle to fit inside Hristo Kostovski’s small butcher’s shop, as he explains to us the secrets of cured pork production in Kruševo, one of the highest towns in the Balkans. The sausage of the same name, … Continued

A Wealth of Biodiversity in the Balkans

Native breeds, artisanal cheeses, fermented beverages, fruit preserves, traditional sweets… Often the treasures of the Balkans go ignored, even though they could provide an crucial boost to local communities. The Balkan peninsula is on the periphery of Europe, both physically and mentally, despite the on-going European Union integration process. In Western Europe and the rest of the world, ideas of the region tend to be hazy and indistinct, influenced by … Continued

The Treasure in the Cave at Divle

Turkey… At Divle, on the Anatolian plateau in Turkey, the traditional “tulum” cheese, an Ark of Taste product, has been made for centuries, preserved in sheep and goat skins inside a deep cave at the edge of the village… The dull hum of the little, open lift that lowers two people at a time, accompanies the vertical passage between two completely different worlds. From the wind-swept plateau flooded with violent … Continued

Oliviero Toscani for the Slow Food Presidia

Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia… Renowned Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani has turned his lens on Slow Food Presidia products from around the world. The resulting series of 63 shots of 63 products is currently on display in a Tuscan winery, hung alongside faces from his Razza Umana (“human race”) project. The exhibition has been inspired by the Slow Food philosophy and by food as an expression of liberty and humanity. … Continued

Living on the Edge

Serbia… Animal species almost forgotten are a treasure for Serbian biodiversity. A Slow Food project is now struggling for their preservation. “Traces of the Karakačanska Ovca, a sheep variety selected over the centuries by the Karakacani nomadic ethnic group, were lost for decades in Serbia, but a few years ago, during a visit to the Mount Cemernik area, in southern Serbia, some of the locals told me about two sisters, … Continued

Of Oxen and Olives

Croatia… On the small Croatian island of Unije, the fight against emigration and the abandonment of rural areas is starting from the land, with the revival of the Istrian ox breed and the traditional cultivation of olive trees. “Beco, ooooh Beco. Good Beco!” As our little tractor makes its sputtering way through the tangle of thistles and brambles, the otherwise-silent Polje plain is flooded with the still-warm sun of the … Continued

Commission fosters debate on potential “local food” labelling scheme

Belgium… The European Commission has published today a report exploring the possibilities of adopting a local farming and direct sales labelling scheme in the future, as requested by the current legislation on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said: “Increasing the role of local food systems is an answer to a clear expectation among EU citizens. It is also particularly important for farmers and for the … Continued

Homemade Hidden Treasures and Food Sovereignty

Turkey… Izmir is at the heart of the Aegean – one of the cradles of civilisation and food culture. Being a crucial Mediterranean port, its cuisine has received influences from across the region, absorbing different traditions from the many minorities who have inhabited it. Renewed journalist, Nedim Atilla, is the leader of Slow Food Izmir Bardacik convivium. He also sits on the board of directors for Mutfak Dostalri Dernegi (MDD) … Continued

Ghost Villages and the Slow Death of Rural Bulgaria

Bulgaria… Paramun is a small village 70 kilometres west of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. It is full of old houses with cracked walls, peeling paint and broken windows. Shrubs and oak trees cover the nearby hills. With its clean air and stunning landscape it could be a holiday resort but Paramun is one of 650 villages in Bulgaria with a population of less than 50 people. The average inhabitant … Continued