Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow Food Presidia: 29 good, clean and fair reasons for travelling to and around Sicily

I was surprised and incredulous the first time I I run up against a Chinese garlic at a famous local chain of supermarkets. "What the hell I have to do with a Chinese garlic?". Made in China, when I expected to find a Made in Italy or better a Made in Sicily, since we produce top quality varieties. I was really very disappointed. Nevertheless, it was late, I needed it and I bought it as I had no alternative. Let me tell you that I got really pissed off when cooking I realized that, apart from its pefect shape, it stinks. I threw it away.

It's like buying Chinese pasta or Chinese lemons! In Sicily! No way, at least for me.

During Christmas time, I went to Aldo at Enoteca Sicilia to buy some wine and I left with a with a typical treccia d'aglio, a plait of original Sicilian garlic from Nubia, a Trapani town district. It's named the red garlic, it is tasty and smells properly. I was happy and satisfied!

This aglio roso di Nubia (red garlic from Nubia) is part of the Slow Food Presidia in Sicily whose goal is to protect products at real risk of extincion, connected to a group memory and cultural identity, produced in limited quantities using traditional methods, of high quality and respecting environmental and social values.

Food tells a lot of a territory and its people's culture, it tells about its roots, its present time and its future.
Sicily has a heritage of specialty agrifood products rivaling with any in the world.
Slow Food (for those who still do not know about Slow Food it is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world) has focused 29 Presidia in Sicily (based basicly on bread, oil, cheese, vegetables, seafood) achieving an impressive result by promoting and coordinating dialog between small producers, helping to create a sense of social solidarity and contributing to local economic and social development.

Food might be a good excuse to travel or might be a chance for a proper travelling style.

If you are a foody kinda traveller you have 29 good reasons for travelling to and around Sicily. The map of the Sicilian Presidia reveals how diffused these produtcs are in the region and therefore how close still is the relationship between pastoral agriculture, biodiversity, tradition and economic development.

While visiting the top tourist Sicilian sites such as Taormina, Mt Etna, Catania, Aeolian Islands, Noto an Syracuse, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Palermo and Monreale, Trapani and Erice, take a map of the Presidia with you and add a visit to local producers or restaurants using the Presidia products, just to mention some of them:

Red Garlic fron Nubia (Trapani), caper from Salina (Aeolian Islands), onion from Giarratana, cuddriredda (sort of bread) from Delia (Agrigento area), lentils from Ustica island, Interdonato lemon type, Maiorchino cheese from Novara di Sicilia (Messina area), almonds from Noto, black bread from Castelvetrano, peaches from Leonforte (Enna area), pistach from Bronte (Etna area), provola cheese from Nebrodi Mountains, sea salt from Trapani, black pork from Nedrodi Mountains.

Your travel will be enriched with tasty memories and unforgetable images of our island.

Buon viaggio e buon appetito!

Picture: "Red garlic from Nubia" © Doriana Briguglio

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