‘Slow Food’ advocates champion PHL ingredients at Turin festival

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is now helping to promote the slow food movement in the Philippines by supporting local participants in an ongoing food festival in Turin, Italy.

Messaging from Turin, Pacita Juan, owner of Echostore and a major advocate of the Slow Food movement in the Philippines, told the BusinessMirror that participating in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022 is important because, “it gives another side of the Philippines—a world of many cultures through food. It’s important to show the country in the usual tourism marketing way, but with a deeper appreciation and culture through food and drink.”

In a Facebook post, the DOT said the agency-led delegation was at the Parco Dora in Turin for a series of Philippine slow food demonstrations, lectures and food tasting and networking with the slow food champions of the Philippines.

On display at the Philippines Booth are criollo cacao, batuan, kadios, pili, muscovado sugar and adlai grains from the Visayas region along with heirloom rice and coffee from The Cordilleras. The booth also featured traditional adobo recipes, coffee beans from various provinces and Pinoy cocktails using different foraged food ingredients, among others.

“Slow food” refers to dishes carefully prepared using traditional cooking methods using locally-sourced, high quality ingredients. These are supposed to be enjoyed by eating them slowly.

Filipino creativity

JUAN said they were able to showcase Filipino creativity, for example, “in how we use ube in ube liqueur, which everybody loves.”

At a tasting event, Chef Jam Melchor, country head of Slow Food Youth Network Philippines and the founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement showed how to cook Chong-ak, an heirloom rice and ark of taste ingredient, for arroz caldo (chicken rice porridge ).

“Among the most common questions we received, for instance, during Melchor’s event, were: ‘How do you eat this arroz caldo?’ Or ‘How do you eat your rice.’ They became curious about the country because of our food sampling and taste workshops,” explained Juan.

There were also drink demos by chefs Kalel Demetrio, while Adobo chicken with batuan by José Ricaredo was featured at a ticketed event at Terra Madre Kitchen. Batuan is a fruit usually found in Western Visayas and primarily used as a souring agent.

“Slow food travel has yet to be institutionalized by DOT and I’m so glad they heeded our call to collaborate with slow food communities in the Philippines,” said Juan. “The Department of Agriculture and DOT must collaborate to use the platform of slow food travel for gastronomic tourism. This support of DOT is most welcome,” she added.

Food tourism is one of the priority tourism products of Tourism Secretary-designate Christina Garcia Frasco.

With the theme “Regeneration,” Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022 will have 3,000 delegates from 130 countries. This includes over 600 exhibitors and producers from around the world and all the Italian regions are featured at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022, including 150 Slow Food Presidia in the dedicated Presidium area and regional areas and over 30 local institutions telling a narrative of regeneration along the length of Italy.

Image credits: Department of Tourism

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