Few times in my life can I say that I have been totally in awe. The miracle of the birth of my two children when they were put in my arms would take precedence over anything but the last two days definitely fall into that category of life changing events. From the vivid costumes to the languages heard around me, the revolution of food is alive and growing. Friday at lunch we had a dining partner from Kosovo. He spoke no English and we spoke no Albanish (the language I believe he said he spoke) but were were able to communicate through sound effects, hand gestures and crude drawings to the point we know he owned a restaurant at the base of a mountain where they conducted hiking, skiing and biking tours. Pretty good for two parties that don’t speak each other’s language. Such is the way at Terra Madre. A smile opens the conversation and the dedication to clean, fair and nutritious food is a common denominator for all attending.
Most of the afternoon was spent walking the aisles of Salone de Gusto. A giant trade show of sorts, I tried samples of goat cheese, sheep cheese, buffalo cheese, smoked hog jowl, olive oils, and a ton of things I have no idea what they were and probably will be better off with only the enjoyment and not the knowledge.
I sampled the cheeses, olives, fish, dried meats, cured meats but my favorite was a tsamarella, sun dried goat meat with salt and oregano. Definitely something I want to try on the farm when the days comes for us to finally become the” real farmer”. It originates in Cyprus and is almost a lost art, utilizing a breed of goat which came to almost extinction but is now back into a production breed. Another stand was putting samples of smoked lard on a piece of bread and it was surprisingly good.
When we meet for the individual sessions it deals with not only our local productions, laws or even cultural acceptance but issues on a global basis. I sat on Saturday morning in a session on small producer policies and found that not only milk is an issue, but various plants and produce are contested in other areas of the world. From dealing with heritage meats, small producers getting lost in the system to future prospects, it is all a world wide issue that needs to be addressed or small producers may never come forth. Through dialogue food policies will become more fair and to benefit the small farmers.
There are native productions from the showing of wares of the country to the musical performances that are continuous in front of the oval. Soon you will see the opening ceremonies, the closing part of those ceremonies, on YouTube where I recorded it. During these ceremonies I felt like I was watching Discovery Channel, History Channel and Green Planet all rolled into one. Ciao for now!