SLOW FOOD, SLOW TRAVEL by Cecilia and Sandro from Barcelona Plan·it
Let’s change the world starting at our own table.
The above sentence sums up very well the philosophy behind the Slow Food Movement, a worldwide grassroots organization, founded exactly 30 years ago to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions.
SLOW FOOD SLOW TRAVEL BARCELONA
The person who put the seed for the creation of this association is the Italian activist Carlo Petrini. He and a group of friends organized a demonstration in 1986 on the intended site of the first McDonald’s shop to open in Rome. They came up with the very self-explanatory expression Slow Food in contrast to the growing fast-food culture and consumerist lifestyle of the ’80s. Some years later on the 21st of December of 1989, the International Slow Food Manifesto is signed in Paris and the movement is officially founded. Read more here: Slow Food Manifesto
Slow Food goals are simple to understand: good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. Because there are strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture.
Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food and their approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair.
- GOOD: quality, flavoursome and healthy food
- CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
- FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions for producers
Petrini is still today president and the main public face of the Slow Food association, but the organization has grown exponentially into a global movement and works in over 160 countries to protect food biodiversity, build links between producers and consumers and raise awareness of some of the most pressing topics affecting our food system.
The motto for the 30 years anniversary of the Slow Food Manifesto is Our Food, Our Planet, Our Future. This campaign wants to celebrate the history and look to the future of the planet, starting with food. And they want us all to participate. What’s your personal vision for the future of food, how do you think we will be eating in 2050?
GLOCAL – global but first local
Every Slow Food member around the world is part of a convivium – a local chapter – that brings the Slow Food philosophy to life through the events and activities they organize in their communities. In the capital of Catalonia, for instance, the farmer’s market ‘Mercat de la Terra’ is organized by Slow Food Barcelona.
Every Saturday from 10 to 16h local producers from all regions of the Catalan territory join at Poble Sec neighbourhood to sell their products directly to the consumers: bread, cheese, sausages, wine, vermouth, marmalade, honey, fruits, vegetables and more. The local vibes are accompanied with live music and a seasonal inexpensive menu (artichokes in Fall, Catalan ‘calçot’ leek/onion* in the Winter, sardines in the Summer, for example). A great way to easily understand what’s Slow Food about!
*(check a local calçot recipe at the end of the article!)
Got interested? If you want to know more about the world of Slow Food this is the international association’s website: https://www.slowfood.com/ and some extra vocab’s follow.
SLOW FOOD VOCABULARY
Ark of Taste
Project to rediscover, catalogue, describe and publicize forgotten food types. It was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction and invite everyone to take action to help protect them.
A local Slow Food chapter, responsible for organizing events and activities at the local level, from simple dinners and tastings; visits to local producers and farms, conferences and discussions.
Neo gastronomy is a concept of gastronomy as a multidisciplinary approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture.
A person with a responsible, comprehensive approach to food, with a desire to defend the environment and food biodiversity. For this kind of person, eating is not only a biological necessity but also a convivial pleasure. A neo-gastronome is aware that one’s food choices have a direct effect on the market and the food production; and that everyday choices can be made for the benefit of our palate, the environment and society.
And much more:
Slow Fish, Slow Cheese, Slow Wine, Slow Meat, Slow Bees and of course Slow Travel!
Behind every place lie stories, gastronomic traditions, artisanal flavours and time-honoured culinary practices.
Slow Travel offers a new model for tourism, inviting the visitor to connect with the destination in a broader sustainable mindset. The idea is to start understanding the local life through the gastronomy culture and avoid the obviousness of the touristic façade. Have you asked yourself while visiting another place: what are the real local dishes? Is the tomato in season? Is the production of the food served in the restaurant you visit done in a responsible way? Does the place belong to international franchising or is it a local business?
For someone visiting Barcelona, all this may sound a bit difficult to overview as tourism is a massive industry and very often the quality loses over “quantity” on your tapas plate. But yet there are several ways to enjoy an authentic local gastronomic experience, getting a real feel of the rich culinary world of Catalonia and Spain.
HOW TO TRAVEL SLOW IN BARCELONA
Buy seasonal and fresh products in a local food market and cook your own meal (if you have a kitchen where you are staying!).
- choose to go to the food market close to your accommodation and avoid supermarkets or convenience stores. Ask for the seasonal products, vegetables and fruits. Be curious, get into a conversation with the people who sell the products, they sure have lots to tell. Here the full list of the food markets of the city of Barcelona, there is more than just famous Boquería Market: http://www.mercatsbcn.cat/
- find and buy from small food stores in the neighbourhoods like speciality shops for meat, cheese, wine, grains, fruits, etc. Trust the local business and feed yourself with regional and seasonal specialities. Some vocabulary for local shops: colmado: general name for a small local food shop; granja: local bar/cafe; cansaladeria: store for cold cuts; forn: bakery; xurreria: churro place; bodega: wine shop
Give preference to a good local restaurant that cares about what they serve. Barcelona has plenty of good quality restaurants!
– try more selective Google searches than just “best tapas place”. Be a bit more creative and you will certainly find good suggestions online at different food guides or expert blogs (like Appetite & Other Stories!!). Very recommended is the second edition of freshly published Barcelona Slow Food guide with 101 places to enjoy local good, clean and fair food, from restaurants, bars, bakeries to ice cream shops. You can buy the guide here. Attention: there are several restaurants in the guide which are also Michelin-starred cuisines! But that’s a whole other story.
– look for quality seals or recommendation stickers at the entrance door from local sources like newspapers La Vanguardia, El Periódico, Timeout Barcelona, associations like ‘Restaurantes Sostenibles’ or ‘Gremi de Forners’ (local bakers) and of course the above-mentioned snail symbol of a Slow Food certified restaurant.
Choose to hire a personal specialized guide to explore local food in-depth, enjoying only hand-picked places to eat like a local foodie.
– select amongst the many options of tours in the city of Barcelona and find the personal guide you like the most (private or in an open group) and experience local food from an insider perspective. But how to select a guide? Yes, there are thousands of tapas tours out there, we know it. But if we are talking about Slow Food and exploring more than just sightseeing, the duo from Barcelona Plan·it are experts in the city. They propose different neighbourhoods and their Walk & Eat tours are a simple combination of a walking tour and a food tour.
SLOW FOOD SLOW TRAVEL BARCELONA
Cecilia and Sandro are two locals to Barcelona with a strong passion for the city, its barrios and gastronomic culture. They joined their personal expertise on food and tourism and created urban slow travel experiences around the culinary world. The idea is to uncover the city like you would do together with a local friend and totally made-to-measure to each traveler’s taste.
The Walk & Eat tours are done in small groups (max. 6-8 persons) and there are five main neighbourhoods they cover: hip local Gràcia with an approach to healthy food; central but off-the-beaten-track Poble Sec & Sant Antoni including astonishing views from Montjuïc gardens; old-town bohemian El Born uncovering past and present of the city; and two others which really stand out from any other tour around: La Barceloneta barrio and its fish market and daily auction (a visit normally restricted to professionals), and last but not least Montgat, 20-minute train ride away, a fishermen village and its local singing fish auction, a fully Mediterranean experience.
All experiences take around 4 hours and always include a wonderful local seasonal meal, fully tuned with the Slow Food concept. In fact, they always give preference to the ‘snail’ certified restaurants like for example Zero Patatero, Gat Blau or La Peninsular.
Cecilia and Sandro from Barcelona Plan·it also welcome any special request to tailor-make a tour from the scratch and create an even more personal experience.
And you what are your priorities when you travel: food, fun, feel like a local?
To prepare the calçots, take off any rough outer leaves, trim the green stems and cut off the very tip of the base (be careful not to cut off too much or the calçot will fall apart). Wash the calçots thoroughly then lay them side-by-side in an oven tray. Drizzle some olive oil over them and season with salt. Bake in the oven at min 220º for about 15 minutes or until the skins have darkened.
3 dried sweet red peppers
30 gr. almonds
A cup of oil
A slice of stale bread
A bulb of garlic
2/3 tbsp of sherry vinegar
30 gr. hazelnuts
Salt to taste
Halve the onions and garlic bulbs and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil, season with salt, then cover with foil and bake in the oven at 180º for 30-40 minutes. At the same time, on another tray, halve the tomatoes, drizzle with oil, season with salt and bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered.
Soak the dried peppers in warm water for 10 minutes, then extract the flesh by scraping out the skin inside with a knife. Toast the almonds, hazelnuts and the bread in the oven or in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Then, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and blend them, adding a little oil and vinegar at a time until you have a smooth paste. Salt to taste.