Slow Sea Land

This weekend the historic fishing and agricultural town of Mazara del Vallo in southwestern Sicily is hosting the first edition of Slow Sea Land, an event dedicated to celebrating quality food production across Sicily and the Mediterranean, in particular traditional and sustainable fishing, and discussing its future. Through the presentation of these products and a series of workshops and conferences, the event aims to promote responsible seafood consumption and intercultural exchanges between the different regions of the Mediterranean.

Slow Sea Land is also hosting the Slow Food International Councilors’ Meeting and a number of important conferences and discussions. The Forum of Mediterranean Fisheries was held on Friday, meetings between ministers and representatives of scientific fisheries institutions from the Mediterranean, Middle East and West Africa are happening throughout the event and the MedSudMed project to monitor fisheries in the straits of Sicily is being presented today, Saturday June 9.

Street stalls, music, performances, seminars, and a lot of other events have also been organized to allow visitors to discover and taste Sicily’s food and wine heritage. The marketplace winds its way through the narrow alleys of Mazara del Vallo’s Kabash, the old Arabic style city center, with specific streets and historic piazzas featuring different producer groups including salt and other sea products, Sicilian citrus fruits, street foods, oils and breads and Slow Food Presidia.

Each evening Slow Food Taste Workshops will offer an in-depth sensory, cultural and productive study of some of these local specialties. The workshops are focusing on seafood traditions and lesser-known species – such as an introduction to Sicilian anchovies and an exploration of the biodiversity of fish in the Mazara di Vallo area itself – as well as outstanding products from the island’s inland areas such as Modica’s chocolate, Salina’s capers and the Sicilian Black Bee Presidium honey.

From its beginning as a Phoenician port, Mazara del Vallo is today one of the most important fishing centers for the Mediterranean. The city was intensively developed by the Arabs from 827 and has preserved the residential characteristics of the Muslim settlements in Sicily and a square perimeter wall. In 1093 it became the Episcopal See and in 1907 it housed the first Norman Parliament in Sicily. In addition to fishing, the local economy is based on Its the production of grapes, citrus fruit and olives.

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