A Taste of the UK at the Salone del Gusto & Terra Madre 2008

This year the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre — guided by the same idea and the same conception of ‘good, clean and fair’ food production — are combining their form and content to take you on a return journey to the roots of food: from fork to field, from field to fork.

For the 2008 edition, the UK presence is as strong as ever and visitors to both events will have the chance to see the commitment of selected UK producers and food communities to producing excellent quality food.

In Pavilion 1 of the Salone, eight specially chosen companies from across the UK — each concerned with the environment, sustainable development and social justice in food production — will showcase a fantastic selection of quality foods, each connected to a specific culinary heritage and geographical area.

The Eat Natural stand features wholesome fruit and nut bars, snacks and breakfast bites made from simple recipes and simple ingredients.

Mackays, a family business with roots in the Dundee area of Scotland, will showcase their high quality preserves, marmalades and curds which they have been producing since 1938 using the traditional ‘open pan’ slow boiling method.

Only Natural Ltd will showcase a selection of goods from Duchy Originals and Dr Stuart’s Tea, Higher Living Organic Teas and Kromland Farm Organic Rooibos Teas.

The philosophy behind Duchy Originals — a company set up by HRH The Prince of Wales — is to produce tasty, high-quality organic foods using traditional methods whilst maintaining respect for the countryside and wildlife.

Dr Stuart creates deliciously aromatic herbal, green and fruit teas using herbs of only top medicinal quality, containing the highest essential oil content possible.

Fishmongers include Richard Haward, of West Mercia, where the oysters are hand-picked from the shore or dredged from small boats in the salt-marsh creeks fed by the River Blackwater. His Richard Haward’s Oysters stand will feature Colchester Native Oysters (listed in the UK Ark of Taste) and wild rock oysters.

Meat producers include:
Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) — the organisation responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat. Their stand will feature PGI Saltmarsh Welsh Lamb. These lambs are raised on the unique grazing land along the estuaries of Wales. The higher salt level in these pastures encourages moisture retention in the muscle cells which further enhances the taste of the meat.
British Pig Association — showcasing handmade pork pies from Oxford; pork from the Sandy Black breed; faggots from the meat of Tamworth pigs; collar bacon from the Large Black breed.
Yorkshire Game — will be present with wild Scottish venison; wild game birds such as grouse, pheasant, mallard, pigeon and partridge; haggis (the traditional Scottish dish of cooked offal, onion, oatmeal and seasoning); wild hare and rabbit.
Scottish Crofting Produce — featuring croft-produced oatcakes (traditional biscuit from the Highlands & Islands); preserved meat such as salted mutton, smoked lamb and cured beef and ancient grains such as beremeal. The Scottish Crofting Foundation is a charity, the only non-government organisation working to develop, encourage and promote crofting (a croft being a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable, plus a crofter’s cottage).

Sharing a stand with Yorkshire game is The Anglesey Sea Salt Company from the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. It will feature Halen Môn, a pure white sea salt extracted from the Menai Straits and their range of flavoured salts, which include organic spiced, oak-smoked, Taha’a vanilla and organic celery Halen Môn.

Slow Food UK and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) have formed a new partnership for 2008 to support the participation of these British producers at the Salone. They will both have information stands in Pavilion 1.

In the Presidia Market at the neighbouring Oval arena, the British Slow Food Three Counties Perry Presidium will also have a stand. Made for centuries in southern England, Perry is a little known traditional English drink made from the fermented juice of perry pear, often too bitter to eat raw. A refined accompaniment for British cheeses such as Single and Double Gloucester, Cheshire and Lancashire.

Products from the UK can also be savoured during the Salone’s renowned Taste Workshops, in which producers and experts talk participants through tastings.

During the Bowmore and more workshop (Saturday 25 at 6pm), Peter Gibson and master blender Iain McCallum will fly in specially from Scotland to open the doors of the oldest distillery on Islay, founded in 1779. In a tasting of three limited editions aged in bourbon, sherry and port casks, you will see how aging and wood can conjure up completely different aromatic bouquets.

The Angus lands workshop (Saturday 25 at 9pm) hosts a tasting which will show how breeding grounds and feed ‘brand’ the flavour of meat. The workshop features three types of Angus beef, served raw and vacuum-cooked, from cattle raised in Italy (by Paolo Parisi at Usigliano di Lari, near Pisa), Scotland and New Zealand.

The Ploughman’s lunch (Sunday 26 at 3pm) workshop will focus on the many diverse brewing styles in the UK through a tasting of five bottle-fermented ales. These masterpieces of the British brewing tradition include: T.E.A. (bitter), St. Peter (mild), Meantime (India pale), Brewdog Brewery (imperial stout) and Thomas Hardy’s Ale 2006 (barley wine).

At the Theatre of Taste in Pavilion 5, Stuart Gillies, executive chef at the Boxwood café in London since 2003, will lead a cooking demonstration (Friday 24 at 9pm) with emphasis on freshly sourced British ingredients. He will also serve one of his signature dishes with a glass of vintage Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Gordon Ramsay is the guiding light behind the Dinner Date cooked jointly by two of his pupils: Stuart Gillies, chef of the Boxwood Café and the new Plane Food at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5, and Angela Hartnett, chef at Murano in London and the Boca Raton resort in Florida. The menu, a seasonal combination of traditional Italian and contemporary British, will be served at the stylish downtown Hotel Golden Palace, accompanied by wines from Franciacorta Fratelli Muratori (Saturday 25 at 8.30pm).

In the Oval, Terra Madre will gather around 30 UK food communities — small-scale fishing, artisan cheese, honey, bread, orchard fruits — composed of 100 producers, 32 cooks, 26 youths and 10 academics. They include: Three Counties Perry Presidium; Old Gloucester Beef Producers; Cumberland Sausage & Wessex Pedigree Pork; three beekeeping & honey food communities, two of which work with developing countries (Bees for Development and British Wildlife Honey Producers); Herdwick Sheep Breeders and Colchester Native Oysters from the Ark of Taste; Artisan English Preserves, which is involved in Slow Food UK’s Orchard Campaign.

One of Slow Food UK’s major campaigns, Slow Bread, will be represented by the UK Slow Bread food community and for the first time food communities from Northern Ireland — including bakers & oil producers from County Down — will be joining us in Torino.

The Slow Food Markets of Devon, Bristol and London, unique to the UK, will also be present at Terra Madre.

Cooks present this year have largely been nominated by convivium leaders and represent a cross-section of the best ‘good, clean and fair’ cooks and chefs from across the UK. The Ambassador Chefs are: Arthur Potts-Dawson from England (The Acorn House Restaurant), Andrew Radford from Scotland (Atrium and Blue restaurants), Gareth Johns from Wales (The Wynnstay Hotel), and Nick Price from Northern Ireland (Nick’s Warehouse).

Other names include Paul Collins from Daylesford Organic and Peter Weeden from the Paternoster Chop House in London.

The 26 youngsters in the UK Youth Delegation for the Youth Food Movement (YFM) will play an important role at this year’s Terra Madre. ‘Key in taking action to protect and promote the ethics of good, clean and fair food for all’, in the words of UK Coordinator for YFM Katy Davidson, they will join around 500 contemporaries from around the world to highlight the importance of the land itself in any debate on the future of the earth, to promote agriculture on a human and local scale, and to create an alternative model for living.

One of the chosen delegates is Lamorna Pascoe, 18, who works at Cusgarne Organic Farm in Truro, Cornwall, which grows 80 varieties of fruit and vegetable. Here she helps rear ducks, geese and fowl, and is highly driven by the farm’s efforts to ‘preserve indigenous crops and experiment with varieties you wouldn’t find in the supermarket’. She wants ‘to be part of a movement for sustainable, ethical, nutritional and good-tasting food’.

In the UK, the push for interdisciplinary links to bring holistic change (i.e. edible gardens as part of planning and building procurement) is a driving force for the YFM, whose vision statement envisages food accessible to all; global sustainability as a priority; respect for producers; individuals and communities empowered to develop cultural diversity; strong community ties; and conviviality as an essential part of the quality of life.

For further information on the UK Youth Food Movement please contact Katy Davidson at [email protected].

For further information on Slow Food UK please contact Fiona Richmond, Slow Food UK Coordinator, at [email protected].

For the complete program of tastings, meetings, lectures and educational initiatives please visit www.salonedelgusto.com.

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