SALONE DEL GUSTO – The Bitter Sweet Tastes of Central Tunisia

“This Salone is a chance to tell people about this project, to offer a window into a part of Tunisia rarely seen by foreigners and to raise awareness of the problems it faces,” said Lilia Zaouali, researcher, Slow Food Jury Member and Professor at Paris’ Ethnologic University, at a press conference last night to present ‘The Bitter Sweet Tastes of Central Tunisia’.

Zaouali’s project for Italo-Tunisia Cooperation is a unique collaboration between the Provincial Authority of Turin, the International Organization for Migration and the FAO. It involves and funds programs such as archaelogical digs, cultural exchanges and agricultural initiatives for the vast, arid agricultural regions of central Tunisia, focusing on the zones of Kairouan and Kasserine. These areas are rich in history, with a once-strong food culture featuring local produce such as fragrant purple pistachios, pine nuts, wild roses, olive trees, sesame, vines, figs and pomegranate. “Europe has closed its doors to Tunisian migrants,” Zaouali continued, “and with unemployment high in the country’s major cities, these marginalized rural areas need support.” This is where the Tunisian presence at the Salone del Gusto comes in.

An information point for the Italo-Tunisia collaboration, the ‘Bitter Sweet Tastes of Central Tunisia’ also offers daily tastings of typical sweets from the region. From baklawa, the famous honeyed pastry sweet common throughout the Ottoman empire to kaak warka, pastry sheets filled with marzipan and pistachio. These delicate sweets, perfumed with rose water and rich in pistachios, pine nuts, raisins and almonds, are served here at the Salone with pistachio milk and pomegranate syrup.

The sweets were prepared by Turin-based Tunisian pastry chef Sabiha Gharbi.

For more information, visit the stand in Pavilion 1.

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