Good, Clean and Fair: Spain at the Salone del Gusto Slow Food Event
Good, clean and fair. These three words perfectly capture the spirit behind the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, an event held in Turin (Italy) that year after year has had significant international repercussions and that brings together food industry representatives, institutions, research centers and chefs from all over the globe that are interested in the Slow Food movement. Representatives from Spain were, of course, on hand for this important event.
Text: Rodrigo García Fernández/©ICEX
Spain is one of the countries that develops the largest number of activities throughout the year in relation to the Slow Food concept. It is also a place where the community of people committed to this movement grows day after day. The delegation from Slow Food Spain that traveled to this year’s Salone del Gusto was comprised of farmers, producers, academics, chefs, activists from the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) and students.
Alberto López de Ipiña Samaniego, the Slow Food International Councilor for Spain and coordinator of the Añana Salt Presidium, reported that the theme of the 12th edition of this event, “Food for Change,” “provoked an interesting exchange of ideas and dialogs with people that differ from one another in terms of culture, language and customs, with the goal of fighting for a better future for our planet.”
Spanish producers at the Salone del Gusto Market
Two Spanish foods were particularly triumphant at this marketplace for Slow Food products. One of them is a spice with a deeply-rooted tradition in Spain: saffron. In the small town of Monreal del Campo, in the province of Teruel (Aragón), only a handful of farmers cultivate a saffron that is protected by the Slow Food Presidia category. We are talking about Jiloca saffron, an excellent-quality saffron whose producers are fighting for its survival.
The second product is Añana Salt, an incredibly high-quality salt that is obtained 100% naturally from inland salt mines located in Álava (Basque Country), which have been used for more than two thousand years.
Food for Change, forums for debate
Various Spanish professionals took part in research and discussion forums that were centered on five main themes: Slow Meat, Slow Fish, Seeds, Food and Health, and Bees and Insects.
For example, Basque shepherd Eduardo Urarte explored the traditional shepherding customs of Euskadi (Basque Country) and the fight that this collective is waging to defend this profession, as well as its positive environmental actions.
Spanish chef Valencian-based Yelel Cañas, who specializes in organic cuisine, dedicated his talk to exploring the diversity and quality of cold Spanish soups – the most emblematic of which is gazpacho.
Spanish company Mar de Ardora was responsible for leading a conference about seaweed, a natural product that in Spain has an important global reach. And Antonio García Allut, a researcher at the Universidad de A Coruña and the president of the Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible, discussed the recovery and maintenance of traditional fishing techniques.
Another Spanish university, that of Extremadura, was also represented at this recent edition of the Salone del Gusto, where it presented a unique project: that of creating a virtual map of the agro-biodiversity of this Spanish region.
Slow Food Chefs
Several Spanish chefs also contributed to this international forum on food and sustainability. Among them were Artur Martinez and Marc Ribas of the Taverna del Ciri, who presented a talk entitled, “Catalunya Rocks!,” with nods to the creative interpretation of traditional Catalan dishes and tapas.
Another novelty at this edition was the presentation of an agreement between Slow Food and Relais & Châteaux to promote the idea that chefs should play a crucial role in the fight against climate change. They can do so by consciously purchasing local products and collaborating with farmers, thereby influencing change and ensuring sustainability. This implies buying and consuming the products at risk of extinction that are included in the Slow Food “Ark of Taste” project. An example of this action is that of the Relais & Châteaux member-restaurant A Quinta da Auga, located near Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, which has committed to serving Celtic pork.
Translation: Adrienne Smith/@ICEX