Monday, 17 December 2007

Slow Food in Canberra

I got back from the Slow Food Canberra Xmas party at Majura Winery - riding with some trepidation down their gravel drive with several kangaroos on either side - and realised I'd forgotten to tape Mythbusters. And it was the Pirate episode, too. Bugger.

Well, it was a very pleasant evening anyway. I sampled Minto Galloway beef sausages and meatballs; Cypress Valley smoked rainbow trout, Holmlea olives, Tallabung ham, and Kim de Poorter's terrines and rillettes, as well as an assortment of other finger food, bread, fruit, cheese, nuts and so on. I would have sampled the wine, too, but I was riding at dusk and thought I'd better keep my wits about me. All of the products I named are local, and sold through the EPIC growers' market. The ham and beef are organic free range products, and excellent. The ham was brilliant. Baked with a whisky and marmalade glaze by umm, some bloke in the group, it was moist and juicy. With no nitrates, it lacked the chemical tang of the supermarket cheapies. I want one, to do up with the Bloke's Mum's Guinness and cardamom glaze, but I don't think I can get to the market before Xmas. Bother!

This was my first outing to a Slow Food event, and I intend to join up. The people seem friendly, and there's a mix of ages and types - some growers and producers, some chefs, and plenty of ordinary people like me, who are just interested in food and not professionals at all. They also like to wear funny hats, which is another plus. I can't wait to unleash my chicken hat on them. I am a little nervous, though. I've told a couple of people that I have a blog, so I might get more readers... Will they like me? Oh, the anxiety! Melodramatic pose!

I am very much in favour of the Slow Food philosophy. It's not just about buying and eating good food, but about promoting biodiversity, and resisting the mass market degradation of our food supplies. Here is their philosophy statement from the main international site:
We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about how our food is produced and actively supporting those who produce it, we become a part of and a partner in the production process.
That works for me! Sign me up, folks!

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