Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Tom Philpott: Notes from Terra Madre

Every two years, “the Terra Madre Network brings together food communities, cooks, academics and youth delegates for four days to work towards increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production.” This year, the artisanal food conference was held in Turin, Italy. Tom Philpott, writing for the Gristmill blog, was there to document it.

On Day One, Tom ran into Chelsea Green authors Sandor Katz and Jeffrey Roberts, the gurus of fermentation and artisan cheese, respectively. Their enthusiasm was infectious and their knowledge heartening, and turned what promised to be a a tasty but uninspiring trade show on olives, vinegar, and cured meat into a delightful gastronomic adventure, with a look at some little-known—and endangered—foods.

Yesterday I left off at the Presidia section of the Salone del Gusto, having met up with my friend the fermentation scholar and teacher Sandor Katz, and his friend the food scholar Jeffrey Roberts, author of The Atlas of American [Artisan] Cheese.

By that point, I was overwhelmed by the variety on display and unsure what to make of it all. Sandor’s enthusiasm changed all that. “We’re sampling some English pear cider,” he informed me. “Only she won’t let us call it that,” he whispered, glancing briefly in the direction of a formidable elderly British woman. “She calls it something different.”

She called it “perry” — and it was delicious: dry, slightly sharp, ever so slightly carbonated. Turned out it was from some sort of heirloom pear variety from the British countryside, in danger of going extinct if people stop making cider — I mean, perry — from it.

And that’s what the Presidia section was about. While the main part of the Salone del Gusto focused on prestigious Italian producers of well-established stuff — think Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma — the Presidia part focused on quirky products. And the producers hailed from all over the world, including, but not limited to, Italy.

And it’s here where I think Slow Food has done essential work — not just in terms of gastronomy, but also in terms of future sustainability.

Here’s a paradox of the modern food world: Italy, now universally hailed as a culinary nation par excellence, was until very recently largely a poor country. Indeed, the entire Mediterranean region — celebrated for its healthy and delicious cuisine — was riddled for centuries with a stunning lack of food.

Clifford A. Wright’s ironically titled A Mediterranean Feast documents the crushing poverty under which the great majority of Mediterraneans labored under for centuries. Under heavy population pressure and with few resources, Mediterranean peasants worked miracles in the field and in the kitchen to survive.

And in doing so, they created the diet now so widely admired. As we enter an era marked by population pressure and increasingly scarce resources, we may well have vital lessons to learn from these artisan peasants. Slow Food deserves great credit for fighting to preserve remaining traditions from this era.

Read the whole article here.

Read Tom’s entry from Day One of the show here.

[Thanks to for the image.]

A Thanksgiving Hit: Apple Pie with Cider Jelly

The Thanksgiving season means a barrage of holiday recipes that overflow your inbox and social media feeds. Some of these are new and innovative, meant to impress guests and sure to fade away from the culinary canon. However, there’s a reason that certain other recipes stand the test of time: they just work. We’ve had […] Read More..

Release Your Inner Viking With New Book on Mead

Unlock the mead brewing secrets of the ancient Norse with homesteader and fermentation enthusiast Jereme Zimmerman’s new book Make Mead Like a Viking. Whether you’re new to homebrewing or looking to expand your current brewing and fermentation practices, Zimmerman’s welcoming style and spirit will usher you into an exciting new territory of wildcrafted experimentations, including more than 20 recipes to try.The fermentation […] Read More..

For a Very Viking Thanksgiving, Try Homemade Mead

The people who lived the Viking lifestyle a thousand years ago enjoyed myriad foods and beverages and throwing feasts that lasted several days to show off what they had stockpiled throughout the harvest season. Bring the Viking spirit of celebration to your Thanksgiving table this year with a traditional batch of spiced orange mead. Brew up the following recipe […] Read More..

Brew Outside the Box: Making Mushroom-Infused Beer

When thinking about drinking a nice cold beer, the flavor of mushrooms doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But for the adventurous brewer – and drinker – infusing mushrooms into brews is a great way to combine the medicinal benefits of fungi with one of the world’s most consumed beverages.The best part? You can grow mushrooms […] Read More..

Recipe: How To Make Your Own Chèvre Using Natural Ingredients

Making cheese at home may seem like a time and labor-intensive process, but what if you could make a delicious, high-quality cheese that practically “sits and takes care of itself”? According to David Asher, author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, you can.Asher is an organic farmer and goatherd, so his recipe for chèvre, or goat […] Read More..
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By