Slow Food Brings Ark of Taste Products to Bristol Food Connections

Slow Food will feature a Slow Food Market with Ark of Taste products, locally produced British quality products that are at risk of extinction (May 3-5, College Green): From May 1-11, 2014 in fact the city of Bristol, with its diversity of communities and food cultures, is hosting an event dedicated to food traditions, education, diversity and taste.

The Slow Food’s Ark of Taste catalogue travels the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats. The market area gives visitors the chance to connect with producers and their food. Consumers get the opportunity to become co-producers, informed eaters who care about where and how their food is produced and who interact directly with producers, thus becoming part of the production process. The objective of the market is to create a space where people can find out more about food and farming in Britain.

The Slow Food Market at Bristol Food Connections features 17 stalls, each of those dedicated to an Ark of Taste product, with the presence of the producer who can share his story with the public. Furthermore, an exhibition area is created with a collection of other UK Ark of Taste products representing the whole country, from the Scottish Beremeal flour to the Formby Asparagus from the Liverpool area.

Here you find a short description of some Ark of Taste exhibitors at Bristol Food Connections:

Goosnargh Cake: The Goosnargh Cake is a circular sweet biscuit of approximately 80 millimeters in diameter and 10 millimeters deep and weighing around 50 grams. It has traditionally been produced in northwest England, and gets its name from the village of Goosnargh, north of Preston in Lancashire. Butter, the essential ingredient in the biscuit, is also produced in the region. Goosnargh cakes are produced using only flour, butter, and sugar with ground coriander and caraway seeds for spicing. As they require large quantities of butter, Goosnargh cakes suffered from wartime rationing in the 20th century. However, in recent years they have begun to be made again, and the old preference for the caraway spicing has been continued.

Traditional Caerphilly Cheese: Traditional Caerphilly is a hard white cheese made with unpasteurized milk that has a slightly crumbly texture and a fat content of around 48%. When young, it has a fresh, moist texture, which becomes more rounded through age, developing an earthier flavor. There are two traditions of Caerphilly. The earliest stems from small Welsh farms in the early 1830s, with the production of a simple, handmade cheese. A later tradition of Caerphilly making involves Cheddar producers in Somerset, who started in the late nineteenth century, because they also wanted a quick maturing cheese to sell young and help their cash flow while the Cheddars were maturing. They often made it using their cheddar equipment and their larger-scale methods of production resulted in a drier cheese. This drier, young cheese favored in later years by large-scale factory production is what is now available in most supermarkets and is what put the older, more artisanal variety at risk.

Artisanal Somerset Cheddar:Artisan Somerset Cheddar has a richly moldy brownish gray rind and an intensely hay-yellow curd. The texture is firm yet buttery, and the curd has flavors of caramelized milk, hazelnut, and bitter herbs. Cheddar is one of the most famous cheeses in the world but also one of the cheeses most often produced industrially. Barely 5% of the 400 producers who made Cheddar in the cheese’s home territory—the county of Somerset in southwest England—a half-century ago remained in business. The centralization of cheesemaking in the years following World War II had significant effects on traditional Cheddar production in Britain. First, official requirements for cheese to have specific moisture content (to enhance keeping properties) led to the elimination of moister types. Secondly, the number of farms that resumed production after the war was greatly reduced. The introduction of rindless block cheeses and frequent use of pasteurized milk further reduced the unique characteristics of Cheddar made in southwest England. But an artisan, handmade version still exists, made in the rich dairy pastures near the town of Cheddar in Somerset, where a few farmers continue to produce the region’s traditional cheese.

Wessex Einkorn Grain and Flour: Einkorn, meaning ‘single grain’ in German, is one of the oldest cereal grains to be cultivated by man for human consumption and is believed to have been domesticated around 7500 BC. Einkorn, together with the other ancient wheat types emmer and spelt, was once one of the most popular types of wheat grown in the UK. The growing of Einkorn has been revived by a small group of organic farmers in the North Wessex Downs.

Gloucester Old Spot Pig: This breed has its origins in the Severn Valley in Gloucester. The breed was developed in response to farming conditions in the 19th century: Farmers at the time needed a hardy animal that would flourish on a varied diet; the Old Spot was the result. The breed is considered the oldest spotted pedigree breed in the world (first referenced in 1850). In the 1930s, however, people were encouraged to make bacon at home. This shift marked the beginning of a decline for the Old Spot. Due to its slow rate of maturation, people shunned this breed. The trend for leaner meat proved almost fatal for the breed, and its numbers dropped steeply. Things began to look up in the 1970s, due to an increased interest in rare breeds and the work of the Rare Breeds Trust, but the breed is still in a precarious position.

Portland Sheep: The Portland sheep is one of the oldest sheep breeds in the UK. It originated in the Island of Portland, not now strictly an island but a strip of land projecting into the English Channel from the southwest coast of England near Weymouth, Dorset. There are currently about 140 registered small flocks thriving in widespread parts of the UK, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Although the breed is enjoying a revival, it is still classified as Category 4 (at risk) by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

Manx Loaghtan Sheep: These sheep graze on the natural herbage of the island, taking 15-18 months to reach maturity. The breed has come close to extinction on a number of occasions, the first during the Industrial Revolution when the demand was for white fleece. Hobby breeder John Caesar Bacon saved the breed, but when he died in the early 20th century, the sheep was again forgotten until in the 1950s less than 100 were left. This time Manx farmer Jack Quine gradually built up their numbers. At the end of the 1980s, George Steriopulos realized that the best way to preserve the breed was to create a market for its meat and fleece. After a long battle with the Manx parliament in 2001, he finally won his battle to market the meat as a distinct product. This required the setting up of a cooperative with which all meat for the market must be registered.

Welsh Pig: The Welsh pig is white with lop ears meeting at the tips just short of the pig’s nose. The modern Welsh Pig can be traced back to an indigenous, white lop-eared breed kept in Wales for as long as records exist. Unfortunately, hybrid pig production by commercial breeding companies caused a dramatic decline in Welsh Pig numbers. Coupled with the shift to a preference for a leaner less fatty carcass and an increasing intensification in farming methods, the number of pure breed Welsh Pigs dwindled. It was on the verge of extinction at the turn of the century. Due to this, the Welsh Pig was declared an endangered and rare breed in 2005. While only 82 new Welsh pigs were registered in 2002, the total number of registered pedigree sows increased to 709 by 2011.

In addition to these Ark of Taste products, the Slow Food market will also offer some other British quality products, such as olive oil, other cured meats and two coffee varieties.

If you visit the Slow Food area in Green College do not hesitate to go to the Slow Food Info Point to get more press information and support

For more information about Slow Food’s Ark of Taste project:

For more information about the event, please visit:

For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:

Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]

  • Did you learn something new from this page?
  • yesno