The Slow Food Movement: Searching for Perfection in the Kitchen
Principles of “Slow Food”
This movement started when Carlo Petrini from a tiny Italian town called Bra dared to stand up and go against the whole huge industry of the “fast food”. He loudly said -Basta! For the questionable quality and opened a new blank page in the gastronomic history with a motto “Good, clean and fair”. When you dig deeper into this idea, you understand that there is no magic, there are no mystical rituals. It is just a very simple thought of eating quality food which, unfortunately, today appears more as an aspiration than reality.
First of all, a special selection of raw materials should be done: products from wholesale trade chains do not exist in there. Secondly, the locality appears as an important aspect, when all the materials should be chosen from the nearest, in the terms of distance, producers. For example, a restaurant in Florence working with the idea of “Slow Food” will definitely prepare a dish with vegetables grown in Tuscany and for sure will not use carrots from Spain or olives from Greece. Then, let’s not forget the principles of freshness, seasonality, fair trade or the manner of cooking, following deep traditions from grandmother’s wisdom in the kitchen. Then again, this is just a part of the ways, how the whole “Slow Food” ideology should be maintained. It is necessary to mention that all these principles must be followed by the listed restaurants. Otherwise, if any nonconformities appear, the place can be suspended from participation in the movement. “The main idea of our restaurant is to prepare home-made-feel-like food, similar to that, made by mother or grandmother. Also, we are paying big attention to tradition, price and quality ratio”, explains the delegate from Florentine restaurant ”Trattoria Sabatino”, which is officially listed as one of the “Slow Food” followers.
For seasonality – “Huge Attention”
Previously mentioned aspects reflect the theoretical view, how the philosophy of “Slow Food” should be maintained. But how does it look like in reality? And, for this overview why not to go deeper to, for example, the aspect of seasonality? Restaurant “Mangiando Mangiando”, located in Greve in Chianti, gives a very clear answer.
Its chef – Salvatore Toscano explains that they have only a few annually served main dishes, like Il Peposo, lo Stracottoor Taglierini, because they are like the emblem of the restaurant. But, for example, Risotto ai funghi porcini is served only from September to November, and totally winter soup Ribollita could never be found on late spring.
“In summertime everyday from Thursday to Sunday from Orbetello arrives fresh fish, which is taken straight from fishermen’s cooperative “Cooperativa dei Pescatori di Orbetello”. Summer as well is the season of tomatoes.
In fall arrives fresh olive oil as well various dishes with polenta or chestnuts flour from Casentino is made. What about homemade dessert of chestnut pudding with some cream?
Winter is a time for various types of vegetables as cabbages, broccolis, cauliflowers, beans and so on. It is impossible to make better traditional Tuscanian soup Ribollita in any other time. During such season a dish most wanted there is risotto with turnips.
Spring appears as a time for asparagus and artichokes. After a long winter, finally arrives the fresh goat cheese. It means that traditional chianina meat rolls with goat cheese from Greve and tomatoes from Torre Guaceto can be served again”, so that’s how the story of seasonality looks like in restaurant “Mangiando Mangiando”.
Not An Easy Journey
However, the goals of “Slow Food” philosophy in reality are being achieved not so easily. “You should always be careful not to get carried away by the rhythms of the world around us”, says representative from family restaurant “Mario” in Florence.
“I would say that it costs twice as much, but the satisfaction of the customer repays that all”, says representative from restaurant “Mario”. He also added that – maintaining the movement of “Slow Food” itself is very important for today, “because it pursues the idea of excellence true, made up from things that are true, not a choreography. The thought is not about being nice, but about being good and concrete”.