Slow Food at Madrid Fusion Manila

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CHIT JUAN

CHIT JUAN

It’s the time for Madrid Fusion Manila again this April 7 to 9 at the SMX Convention center. And once again, we at Slow Food Philippines are fortunate to be included in the Department of Agriculture’s stand just like last year.

At Madrid Fusion Manila we meet the chefs and culinary artists who become our bridges to consumers—through their menus and recipes they are able to translate our Slow Food principles into chewable bite size nuggets, relevant to the everyday, ordinary diner.

Just last year we displayed “Adlai “an ancient grain which we have listed in the Ark of Taste (www.arkoftaste.org) as endangered and an heirloom grain we must preserve. Well what do you know? Chefs—like Gaita Fores—have since included it in their risotto and paella and in their other recipes.

Today we see an increase in demand for Adlai, which in turn will make farmers continue planting it. I remember chef Gaita calling me desperately looking for 20 kilos as she included Adlai in a menu for a wedding reception. I quickly rounded up our stocks in ECHOstore to respond to her call. Mission accomplished. From farmer to purveyor to chef to diner. The wedded couple has no idea what we went through that eve¬ning so we could come up with the recipe calling for Adlai, as promised.


Another chef who has brought tinawon or heirloom rice to his restaurant’s menu is chef Chele of Arrozeria and Vask. Today, a year after the Slow Food launch of tinawon, we hear that a major food chain will be introducing Tinawon in their restaurants across the country. That campaign will make farmers go back to planting this heirloom “once a year” variety.

Why do we do it? Because Slow Food must be everyone’s business. The Ark of Taste entries like tinawon, kadyos, millet, Barako coffee may soon disappear from our tables if we stop eating drinking or using them. Google www.arkoftaste.org and you will find the Philippine list of what we are trying to preserve—simply by letting chefs use them again.

For the other things we can do for the Slow Food movement (www.slowfood.com), we can just do it in our homes everyday. Simply eat good, clean and fair food. Eat food that is in season so we can preserve what Nature intended for us to do. Eat food that is free from pesticides and chemicals so it’s clean for our bodies. And eat food that is fair or which gave the farmer or producer a fair value or price.

Visit the Department of Agriculture stand at Madrid Fusion Manila and you may see the Slow Food people. If you believe we must preserve nature, then do it through how we eat. And that’s not a very hard thing to do. Eat less processed food. Eat whole foods.

Eating local also helps the Slow Food movement preserve local traditions and local species. Eating more rice rather than wheat. Eating puto and gluten-free based flours like rice flour or camote flour instead of wheat flour based pastries.

Buying is done by the chefs. Eating is done by the consumer. At Madrid Fusion Manila you will see many examples of Slow Food purveyors who use biodynamic farming, who use organic principles and natural methods to produce food.

Good, clean and fair food. It’s that easy. And you can be part of it. And if you really want to complete the experience of getting involved in the Slow Food movement, come to Terra Madre in September in Turin, Italy. This is where you will meet farmers, chefs and other Slow Food advocates sharing their recipes in Taste workshops and in simply showing you the species they wish to preserve. It could be siling labuyo. It could be for kansi or sinigang like Batwan. It could be tabon tabon or sua. These are souring agents our farmers still use—and they do not come in a small box you throw into water to make broth.

For something more familiar, would you want to still eat duhat, macopa and aratilis? You are a co-producer. If you ask for it and want to eat it, the farmers will continue to plant it. And these fruits, vegetables and other plants have to be as varied as possible to contribute to Biodiversity. So, imagine what fruits you can still show your children and grandchildren? Think of your childhood and then imagine the world without those fruits you used to climb the trees for.

That is the idea about Slow Food.” Identify the food and it will be produced” says founder Carlo Petrini.

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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City, Antipolo and Iloilo City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph

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