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Filtering by Tag: slow food movement

Celebrate Slow Wine and Slow Food, Terra Madre Day at Swirl!

Beth Ribblett

Terra Madre Day, December 10th, marks the anniversary of the founding of the Slow Food movement in Italy in 1986 by a passionate guy named Carlo Petrini.  It's a day when  food communities and Slow Food chapters around the world celebrate eating locally and sustainable local food production in more than a 1,000 events: collective meals, community festivals, protests, workshops for children, excursions to producers and much more are held to promote local food traditions and demonstrate the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean and fair food to communities, media and decision makers. This year the Slow Food NOLA event will be hosted at Swirl where we are teaming up with our friends from Fat Falafel for an evening of Slow Wine and Slow Food!  

So just what exactly does that mean? Slow Food publishes a great Italian wine guide called "Slow Wine" in support of producers who not only make great wine but who are also passionate about their bond with the land and their choice of cultivation and cellar techniques - favoring those who implement ecologically sustainable wine growing and winemaking practices.  Slow Food panels of judges visited over 400 wineries and have compiled reviews of over 3000 wines. So our role in tonight's event will be to serve wines at the bar from producers highlighted in the book for their support of good, clean and fair.

Fat Falafel will be supporting another initiative of Slow Food by preparing a dish using a food that is part of the Ark of Taste program.   Slow Food's Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods that you’ve maybe never heard of, because, for one reason or another, they’ve been cast aside by the industrial food system.  So besides all of the other great stuff they already serve on the truck, Gavin and Teresa of Fat Falafel will be preparing a special dish on the menu specifically for the event.  A portion of the proceeds from Fat Falafel's sales of that one delicious item and the bar sales from our 5 special Slow Wines, will be donated to Slow Food.

And just in case you want to know, Swirl represents many of the producers in the book and you can look for the Slow Food snail on the bottles to indicate which ones are considered worthy of the Slow Wine snail of approval!  Check out the list below and come to the shop on Tuesday where 5 of the following wineries will be represented on our special by the glass menu! The hard part is going to be picking 5 from this amazing list.

Italy's Slow Wine Producers currently available at Swirl:
Allegrini - Veneto
Occhipinti - Sicilia
Terlano - Alto Adige
Caggiano - Campania
Librandi - Calabria
Terre Nere - Sicilia
Foradori - Trentino
Velenosi - Marche
Donnafugata - Sicilia
Planeta - Sicilia
Gaja - Piemonte, Toscana
I Vigneri - Sicilia
Travaglini - Piemonte
Le Morette - Veneto
La Spinetta - Toscana
Boscarelli - Toscana
Bartolo Mascarello - Piemonte

The Slow Food Movement in a Snail Shell

Beth Ribblett

To the uninitiated, the exact meaning of the Slow Food movement can be a bit elusive. Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Slow Food burst into being in 1986 as a protest to McDonald's establishing its first outpost in Rome's historic Piazza di Spagna. The prospect of the golden arches among the city's baroque facades was too much for Carlo Petrini (pictured below), a journalist and gastronome from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Petrini and fellow founder Folco Portinari wrote a manifesto to champion slow food as an antidote to the "fast life" and "fast food" that have drastically altered cultures worldwide over the last 100 years. As Portinari wrote, "Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food." The Slow Food Manifesto was signed on November 9, 1989 at the Opera Comique in Paris and was endorsed by delegates from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and Venezuela.

The gist of the manifesto and the movement is to cook, eat and live slower. This is done by avoiding mass-manufactured products and preserving local and regional foods and traditions and especially focusing on the cultural cuisine and the associated food, plants and seeds, domestic animals and framing within a region.

Slow Food has over 100,000 members that are involved in over 1,000 convivia - local chapters - worldwide. Membership dollars fund a host of programs dedicated to educating through school and campus based initiatives, promote local and regional foods, safeguard biodiversity and connect people around the country with their food and the people who grow it.

Feeling moved by the Slow Food movement? Derrick Schneider, author of the food blog Obsession with Food and a Slow Food member for years, had a few suggestions for those hoping to slow down.

1. Become a regular at the farmers' market.
Local growers have the freshest ingredients you can buy and are a great source of information. As Schneider puts it, "Don't feel shy about asking how to cook something or how it grew." Farmers and food artisans are usually happy to educate their customers about the products they grow and create.

2. Get a cookbook to guide and inspire your changing habits.
Getting used to buying whatever looks best (as opposed to the specific ingredients needed for a particular recipe) can be a challenge, but a good cookbook can help you plan meals and menus around the treasures you find at the farmers' market.

3. Be willing to look around for high-quality food.
Depending on where you live, a wide variety of products, from cheeses and wines to grains and sweeteners may be available. Contact your local Slow Food chapter to find sources for hard-to-find products, or ask around. You may be surprised by the variety of high-quality food that's out there once you start looking.

4. Sit down and share meals with others.
Enjoying food in the company of loved ones is an important part of the Slow Food philosophy. As Schneider suggests, "Sit down with your family--or even your roommates--at the dinner table and enjoy each other's company. Open a bottle of wine or beer and just take a moment to slow down and appreciate your life. Eat slowly and have a conversation."

If the Slow philosophy piques your interest, please join Jeff Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, on Wednesday for a free Slow Food New Orleans event at St. James Cheese Company. This evenings “American” themed festivities will include small plates by local chef Bart Bell, samplings of sustainable and organic California wines by Swirl Wines, accompanied by artisan American cheeses from St. James Cheese Company and beer by Kirk Coco of NOLA brewing.

We’ll have a Slow Food information and membership table set up if you are interested in joining or you can go to Call Swirl, 504.304.0635 or St. James Cheese, 504.899.4737 for more information. St. James Cheese is located at 5004 Prytania Street