The term Slow Food has become a popular catchphrase in foodie circles in recent years. But what does it mean?
Slow Food is literally the opposite of fast food. It is really just about using wholly natural locally produced ingredients to create wholesome flavourful food, often through slow cooking.
The Slow Food movement was started by journalist Carlo Petrini in 1989 to counter the spread of fast food restaurants in Italy, a country with a long and proud culinary heritage. It then moved to other European countries and the U.S.
Today, the movement has around 100,000 members in 132 countries. New Zealand has been involved in Slow Food since 2005, with a number of chapters or convivium springing up around the country.
The main ideas behind Slow Food, in a nutshell, are:
• Using ingredients that have been grown, harvested and sold by local producers.
• Developing an appreciation of taste and flavour
• Eating food that is good for you
• Understanding where your food comes from
You can join a local convivium of the Slow Food movement, or you can simply:
• Shop at farmers’ markets
• Buy organic foods wherever possible
• Cook meals from scratch
• Try to create dishes with distinctive flavours and think about these flavours when you are cooking and eating
Slow Food’s spread around the world reflects the universal appeal of wholly natural, locally produced foods.
Some restaurants around New Zealand that have embraced or been inspired by the philosophy of Slow Food include:
Barolo Italian restaurant takes its name from the signature wine of Piedmont, the home of the Slow Food movement. Traditional foods, such as polenta, tortelloni and risotto, that are rich yet subtle, are the order of the day. Naturally all dishes are slow cooked with much TLC.
Giapo Gelato make delectable gelato and sorbet in the authentic Italian style. They joined the Slow Food movement because its vision is very similar to their own; “food is meant to be good for you”.
The menu at Willowbank wildlife reserve’s restaurant reflects a commitment to the environment, with its extensive use of wholesome, natural products. It has a good selection of vegetarian options
Editorial by Nicholas Chidley
30 May 2012
For more information on the Slow Food Movement in New Zealand visit the Slow Food Auckland Facebook page