Forget fusion, exempt exotic, and move over modern. The Slow Food movement goes old-school on food.
Slow Food is all about old-fashioned, good quality cooking utilising locally produce (‘zero kilometre’ food) which is simply and sensationally turned into delicious, healthy meals.
The number of people going Slow is rapidly rising. Initially founded in 1989 to protest the building of a McDonald’s in Rome, the Slow Food Movement has grown into a new food religion that is quickly gaining appreciation around the world, with over 800 members in more than 100 countries.
There are Slow Food publications, Slow Food events, Slow Food education in schools, Slow Food community projects like vegetable gardens, even a Slow Food University!
Events are regularly held to provide information and training, or sometimes just to have a wonderful dinner with top-notch wines.
This month, in the land where it all began, Slow Food is hosting a range of fun, informative and delicious events.
Thursday 10th February at 4.30 p.m., a mini-itinerary of Florence’s 4th quarter will be led by Paolo Gramigni. Get a taste for the short production chain politics, sustainable production and fair trade. Learn the smarts behind intelligent supply, the benefits of small producers versus big productions, see how conventional commercial exercises can affect consumers and producers, evaluate prices, quality, marketing strategies and other such helpful aspects whilst keeping in line with Slow Food philosophies. Bookings taken by the BiblioteCaNova Isolotto library on +39 055 710834.
On Sunday 13th February, 8.30 a.m. to c.a.7 p.m., there is Le Nozze del Porco. Translating to ‘The Wedding of the Pig’, it is actually a day honouring the much-loved pork. In the small Tuscan town of Casentino, the Suino Grigio (Grey Swine) raised in the open land of the National Park land of the Casentino Forrest will be turned into a range of traditional pork products under the watchful eye and expert hand of two local butchers. The art of pork cuts, salami making and ageing techniques (such as that used in the creation of Parma/Prosciutto Ham) will be studied. Attendees are invited to bring their own aprons and warm clothing if interested in the more hands-on approach to schooling in the ancient (and somewhat cool) salami rooms. Lunch will consist of plate after plate of delicious, local food made in ways traditional to the area. Casentio Salami and Crostini Neri start the feast, followed by Pasta with Pork Ragout, a main meal of Mixed Pork Roast and White Wine Pork Spezzatino, accompanied by roast potatoes and Casentino beans. For dessert, expect bio-fruit tarts. Bio-fabulous fruit, vegetables, preserves and conserves, as well as honey will also be available for tasting and purchasing. In the afternoon, sandwiches and the waste-not-want-not dish of Pork Terrine will be available in the afternoon. Price is 30 euro per Slow Food member, 35 for non-members. Reservations must be made to Giancarlo +39 3355921224 or Susan on +39 330218317.
Wednesday 16th February at 8.15 p.m., at the Osteria dei Riffaioli, a special evening with Silvio the Fire Eater! The menu is themed, ‘La Granda: carne di razza piemontese Presidio Slow Food e i vini di Suvereto con l’azienda La Bulichella’ ? Piemontese meats and Suvereto wines by La Bulichella vineyard. And if that is already not enough of a mouthful for you, the menu will feature: Battuta a coltello con sale grosso di Trapani, Cuore di manzo saltato in teglia condito con aglio, prezzemolo e pepe; Stracciatella per scardassi, Spaghettone Cavalieri con ragù di brincelli in bianco alla salvia e rosmarino, Troiai lessi con mostarda di mangiafoco e salsa verde, Vera cioncia con purè di patate, Mousse di ricotta con cioccolato caldo o frutti di bosco. Just 35 euro per Slow Food member, or 40 euro otherwise, call the restaurant Osteria dei Riffaioli on +39 055 5088070 for bookings.
Friday 25th February at 8.30 p.m., the Sicilian and Tuscan Slow Food groups will unite over plates of Tuscan Sea Palamita with slow-cooked Ustica lentils and onion cooked under ash. Cavaletti with Zeri white lamb ragout with Bronte pistachios and wild fennel. Valdarno chicken with Ciaculli mandarin, baked olives and moscato. Noto Almond Biancomangiare with Carmignano dried fig sauce. 40 euro per Slow Food member and 45 for non-members, including wine. Call the restaurant on +39 055 6519000 to reserve your place at the table!
If you would like to learn more about Casentino and the ways of the past, author and Florence local Lisa Clifford talks about life and death near on 100 years ago in this small Tuscan village in her book, Death in the Mountains. Not only does the book detail how the families lived and worked, but also what they ate and the painstaking lengths they went to to keep warm and fed in the harsh conditions they faced. Along the way, Lisa also happens to solve a 100 year old murder mystery!
Lisa Clifford is one of several fascinating people you can meet at the Artviva Festival, happening Monday evenings in Florence and hosted by Artviva.
If you would rather experience a typical Tuscan lunch for yourself, we’d be happy to help you! We have an extensive range of small-group Tuscany tours , some including a delicious Tuscan lunch.
You could also opt to learn more about Italian cuisine with an in-depth Italian hands-on cooking class, making traditional Tuscany recipes. We also have a market tour followed by an Italian cooking class available.
Artviva is a proud supporter and member of Slow Food, and specialises in small-group, quality (and fun) tours in Florence/Tuscany, Rome, Venice and beyond. Visit www.italy.artviva.com for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.