Slow Food – The Ark of Taste
Slow Food are an international organisation who campaign for a better food system. They fight for food ‘security’ and ‘food sovereignty’ – the right to grow, cultivate and store food as a culture – so that countries and cultures can feed themselves. Unfortunately this is a serious global issue, with many people unable to feed themselves. Slow Food’s core message is simple yet profound: food should be good, clean, fair and for everyone. Slow Food hold a biannual conference and food market in Turin, Italy. The market is full of thousands of artisanal and indigenous producers from every corner of the world. The producers are there to share the biodiversity of their cultural heritage. Farmers from all around the world bring rare ingredients to nominate as part of the Ark of Taste: Amarillo Angosto corn from Argentina – a narrow, long, 10 rowed corn; Mangafototry ‘blue root’ rice from Madagascar; Mountain forest Pu’er tea from China – picked by the Bulang ethnic community.
The Ark of Taste protects ingredients from around the world that are threatened by industrial agriculture, environmental degradation and homogenization, to preserve the edible biodiversity of our planet. These products and/or the knowledge of the peoples who prepare them is in danger of becoming extinct. Slow Food UK are adding to this list, seeking products that are becoming forgotten to protect our food heritage. Conventional farming methods, agribusiness and corporate ownership of the food system are a serious threat to independent farmers and growers of products for flavour and diversity. We can all help save these ingredients and the knowledge of their preparation by supporting the farmers and artisans who make this food. Keeping our diets diverse and rich also intern rewards us with good health and food that tastes like it should.
In and around Bristol we are spoilt for choice when it comes to produce that is already recognised by the Ark of Taste for it’s excellence. Robert Buttle farm at Compton Bassett rears Ark of Taste rare breeds of pig, such as Large Black, Tamworth, and Berkshire. Other products from our region include Blue Vinney cheese, Montgomery Cheddar, and Devon Red Ruby Cattle.
Wild garlic salsa verde, wildes cheese and clementine bruchetta
Rinse the wild garlic, roughly chop and mash in a pestle and mortar to bruise the leaves and bring out flavour. Add a dash of wine vinegar (any will do) and enough extra virgin olive oil to make a sauce like consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve on slices of rye with thick hunks of crumbly cheese and slices of sweet clementine for a quick and mouthwatering lunch.
Go to the Slow Food website to find a list of Arch of Taste products and producers: www.slowfood.org.uk
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