The slowfood movement was originally born in Italy in 1986 when sixty two founding members of the forerunner of Slowfood met to inaugurate 'Aricogola'. In 1989 delegates from 15 countries signed the 'Slowfood 'Manifesto, an order that today has 100,000 members in 15 countries.
|Sue and Brian Pilkington (owners of Cathedral Cove Macadamias and Slowfood Auckland convivium organisers) with sons Justin (left) and Hamish (right)|
Their philosophy is this - "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".
Sadly, the reality of our world is this:
75% of global fish stocks are at risk of disappearing
In one century three hundred thousand plant varieties have become extinct
Today one plant variety disappears every six hours Since the beginning of the 20th century, America has lost 93% of its agricultural diversity and Europe, 75%
The objective of slowfood is to defend biodiversity, protect small producers, their communities, the environment and local areas and promote sustainable agriculture and the world's cultural food traditions.
Slow foodies talk about eco-gastronomy and the strong connection between plate and planet. Good, clean and fair food is their alma marter - food produced in a way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or health by food producers that receive fair compensation for their work to produce food that tastes good. Essentially consumers become co-producers, by being informed about how their food is produced and supporting those that operate under slow food principles.
I was introduced to Slowfood in August of this year by Sue and Brian Pilkington, owners of Cathedral Cove Macadamias, who run the Auckland convivium and their sons Hamish and Justin. Their 'slowfish challenge' held in their Greenlane home, requested you to submit your favourite scallop recipe , traditional or invented, using those they had bought fresh from the Coromandel. Although neither your own culinary skills or a recipe isn't a prerequisite to your attendance after the fact, you may be inspired to at the next event. What is a certainty following your attendance however is that (as am I) - you will be hooked!
The premise of slowfood is to leisurely lunch with like minded people and enjoy a meal of food and wine that is good, clean and fair over stimulating conversation. It is a misperception said Hamish Pilkington "that slowfood is about food being cooked slowly - its not - its about busy people taking time to prepare and consume it".
The menu was a gastronomic delight - buffalo mozzarella cheese crostinis (using cheese sourced from Clevedon) and seafood from the Coromandel - Kingfish dip, macadamia crumbed barbequed scallops, cerviche of scallops in lime juice and coconut milk with coriander and capsicum and scallop sashimi with couscous and salad. To finish, a macadamia nut chocolate brownie, macadamia nut fudge and lemon cake was served with tea and coffee.
The macadamia nuts in particular worked so well with the seafood that the combination borders on being addictive - as does the concept. (The judges at the Whitianga Scallop Festival in 2007 agree - their macadamia crumbed scallops won the best dish award.) A more inspirational group of people with some tall food tales to tell I have not meet in a long time, from Madonnas ex-chef to the galloping gourmet who travels the world learning cooking technigues from the locals, whilst backpacking - these people make you feel like you have returned home - essentially you have - this is the way we used to eat.
We reflected after returning to our own home that night - on what we had done all day. We had lunched! What a luxury in this day and age to be able to take time to talk and eat and what a result - we relaxed!
Spring planting Amaranth, asparagus, basil, beetroot, broccoli, burdock, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celeriac, celery, chilli, chives, climbing beans, coriander, cucumber, dwarf beans, eggplant, endive, fennel, globe artichoke, gourd, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuce, luffa, marrow, mustard greens, nz spinach, parsley, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, salsify, shallots, silverbeet, snow peas, spring onions, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnip, watermelon, zucchini
Spring harvesting Amaranth, asparagus, basil, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, coriander, cucumber, dwarf beans, garlic, globe artichoke, kohl rabi, kumara, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, nz spinach, onions, parsnip, potatoes, pumpkins, radish, silverbeet, spinach, squash, swedes, tomatoes, turnip, watercress, yams, zucchini, gala and rose apples, kiwifruit, melons, oranges, tangelos