38 Delegates from south Africa made up as follows:

  • 12 from Gauteng (3 from NGO’s)
  • 10 from Cape Town/Stellenbosch (3 from NGO’s)
  • 8 from KZN (6 from Dbn town counsel)
  • 4 from Garden route
  • New Slow Food in Graaf Reinett

What was on offer at Terra Madre

3 halls of food products  – over 1,000, of which just under 200 were not Italian.

112 taste workshops costing between 16 & 65

14 theater of taste  – one presentation from Africa

23 conferences and lectures

24 dinner dates

and a lot more behind the scenes.

My impressions

  • I attended 6 taste workshops, concentrating mainly on pork and meat cured products:
    • Basque Cured Pork – a small family operation starting in 1992.  Pigs of free range, slaughtered @ 22 months at 135kg dressed weight.  They spend most of the time foraging, therefore moving and finding their own food, supplemented with a bit of nuts, corn and broad beans, as well as organic soy beans. the company makes a variety of cured dried sausages and hams.  We were fortunate enough to taste and eight year old ham.
    • Also tasted very interesting and different polenta’s made from  chickpeas and a variety of other legumes.
  • 6 conferences – Interesting and sometimes very heated controversial debate.  Sitting through many of them both confused me as to my road forward, but the same time helped me to better visualize the path I am traveling.  There are a few of the interesting facts and thoughts I picked up along the way :
    • Less meat, Better meat
      • 50% of all antibiotics produced in the USA are used in the meat industry.
      • European organic animal farmers produce more CO2 emissions than conventional factory farming, and many of these large scale organic farmers have become no better than feedlots, especially with regard to poultry and pork.
      • Met the executive director of the American Grassfed Association, whose is happy to share her knowledge with interested south African parties who would like to set up a similar association.
      • The Portland Meat Collective, a network of Portland citizens who buy cost-effective meat directly from Oregon’s small ranchers. It is also an up-close-and-personal traveling butchery school. Once PMC procures that carcass, members can take part in master butchery and charcuterie classes on how they want their animal carved up, and they’ll learn what to do with all those specialty cuts.
      • A number of small independent abattoirs are being set up across America catering especially for small independent producers.  The very flexible, and diverse so may for instance store to cattle on Monday , pigs and Tuesday, chickens on Wednesday, etc.
      • Conventional meat grading systems do not apply to free range carcasses, and new grading systems are being considered by a number of first world countries.
    • 1 000 gardens in Africa
      • At times rather passionate and heated debate. Slow food Italy has appointed a young canyon, as director of the Africa program.
      • Main purposes – Create a community and family gardens to feed communities, and food security.
      • Food is a basic commodity to sustain life, yet agriculture and food preparation is no longer taught at school.
      • Agriculture should become part of the schools syllabus and encouraged as a pleasure not a punishment.
      • local foods should be preserved , together with recipes.
      • It is no sense creating gardens without creating an infrastructure  – local markets, abattoirs, marketing skills and adding value.
    • Food Policy: The Terra Madre Vision – Sala Gialla
      • Some of the most eminent alternative brains from around the world sat in at this conference.  It was interesting to listen to international concerns many of which are as important to the South African scenario.  These include:
      • Teaching entrepreneurship, give students experience is not information, or knowledge with understanding.
      • Present educational systems turn out corporate executives, not entrepreneurs.
      • You can only understand what you are a part of.
      • While government’s own electrical systems, farmers will be held to ransom.
      • There is  never enough for those who have nothing, but two much for those who have everything.
      • To continue as a species, human beings will need to learn to de-grow, consume less, especially with regard to material possessions;
      • Politicians and leaders needs to start giving value to silence.
  • And visited most of the market place stalls:
    • by the end of the five days, I never want to taste another salami, ham or cheese.  So what jems were in between?  In no particular order:
      • American micro breweries – Most started off as own consumption home brewers.  Magnetic collectible bottle caps;
      • Italian and Cyprus biltong (some from goats)
      • Acorn coffee
      • Austrian artisanal bread Baker and oven,
      • Wide variety of hams with some interesting packaging
      • Dutch ham and salamis from sheep;
      • Lardo – with different spices, note the price R250/kg
      • Salami with the fillet;
      • Goose confit, made from five to eight months old geese, Sous-vide @72°C for 10 hours.  Have a shelf life of approximately one year.
      • Swiss cheese balls – brilliant concept ;
      • French cheeses – worst product on the show;
      • Red celery – introduce from France in the 17th  century to the market gardens near to Turin.  Almond flavour.
      • Fish sauce – return of an age old Mediterranean practice;
      • Naugat – from France
      • Italian jams  – no sugar added, sweetened with an apple syrup.  Not boiled so as to keep the fruit structure, with added pektin