Slow Food Brisbane October, 2018 Newsletter 

In this newsletter, a brief update on forthcoming Slow Food Brisbane events and a a virtual visit to the Slow Food Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin last month, through the eyes of members who attended.


Slow Food Brisbane’s forthcoming events:

Thursday 25 October 2018 at 6.30pm – Stafford.

Topic: Wine and Cheese Masterclass with Glen Robert from Bent Road Winery
Venue: The Cheeseboard, 31 Wolverhampton St, Stafford

Bent Road Winery and The Cheeseboard are working together to bring you a wine and cheese event that celebrates Queensland artisans.

Enjoy a guided tasting of Bent Road wines, each paired with an Australian artisan cheese with winemaker Glen Robert and affineur Wendy Downes.

Ticketsare $55.00 and can be bought from the Cheeseboard website or in store.

Thursday, 8thNovember.6.45-9.30pm – Bardon.

Topic: Backyard Bee Keeping presented by Paul Wood, Brisbane Backyard Bees (SFB Snail of Approval recipient) and Beneficial Insects presented by Abigail Makim.

Venue: Community Jubilee Hall, 180 Jubilee Terrace, Bardon

Delicious supper and wine included.

Cost: $35 members – $45 non members

Slow Food Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto Event Turin, 22-25 September, 2018

Again, this biennial event was a touchstone for all campaigns of Slow Food around the world ( Undoubtedly taste education and “protecting biodiversity” were omnipresent!

Ian and I have been to this event five times now, Mary-Anne has been several times so we are all fairly familiar with the “smorgasbord” of possibilities. It takes a bit of navigation to sort out the program which is an amazing and delicious mix of foods and producer exhibits, workshops, talks from cooks and chefs and opportunities to chat with artisans and producers. The event is inspirational and offers each participant a chance to follow their passions and add to their knowledge as well as learn more about the global initiatives of protecting agriculture for the future of the planet.

This year Slow Food Brisbane was well represented with 7 self-funded delegates and two partially funded delegates (Dani Phelan and Jayne Agiuar, teachers from Cannon Hill State school). The event is a part of the Slow Food journey and below we have some snapshots and impressions from some of us who are regulars to this event and some first timers.

First timers at the event had this to say:

Jayne Agiuar (and Dani Phelan), Teachers, Cannon Hill State School and members of Slow Food Brisbane:

There was so much on offer as a first time delegate at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018. We explored the four massive pavilions learning about and sampling quality produce from every region of Italy, and many international destinations. There were numerous taste workshops on offer and our ‘Coffee Cocktails’ experience at Musee Lavazza was an afternoon to be remembered. We attended a variety of informative and inspiring seminars, and visited thought provoking displays, exploring topics and issues surrounding the theme ‘Food for Change.’

A real highlight of the event was being part of the international delegation and the opportunity to meet like-minded people from across the globe. There were 7000 delegates from over 130 countries in attendance, and as we marched together during the Closing Ceremony the sense of community, passion and determination to ‘Protect Biodiversity’ and ‘Vote with your fork’ was incredibly powerful. As a teacher with an interest and focus in Kitchen Gardens in schools, I met motivating educators from all over the world. We shared stories, food, photographs, experiences, resources and contacts to establish partnerships with our schools and organisations. Terra Madre is just the beginning!

Bruce White, Wine and Food Traveler and committee member, Slow Food Brisbane:

This was my first time at Terre Madre and in all my years of attending large scale travel trade shows, I was amazed at the size of the event. To put it in perspective, size wise, for those of us in Australia, there were 4 halls for the main part of the exhibition, each the size of the entire Brisbane Convention Centre (BCEC).

With over 900 exhibitors from all regions of Italy, and then the 100 international Slow Food exhibitors including a delegation from Australia, it took stamina and a lot of walking to discover the diversity of products, all available for tasting.

For me I wanted to find out as much as I could about the range of product coming from the regions I work with, and it was mind boggling to say the least. The Taste workshops offered a way of learning while tasting (and smelling, touching, hearing and seeing), stimulating the senses while delving into topical issues and fascinating products and hearing stories directly from the producers. Some were only verbalised in Italian, others had translation, all were well received. I also met with the people promoting the relatively new Slow Travel concept, and will be reporting to the committee.

As if all of that wasn’t enough there was another area the size of Suncorp stadium, in a central city Piazza where the Enoteca and Street food was available until 11pm every night.

Myra Lowe, committee member, Slow Food Brisbane:

Colourful exhibits and costumes, traditional foods, passionate producers, artisans and chefs from around the world showcased how Slow Food’s commitment to “Food for Change” can improve the planet for everyone. The educational workshops I attended were delivered with passion by the most qualified of speakers.

At one of the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto workshops, a successful farmer of organic vegetables shared his wisdom and obvious passion for enriching soil to help home gardeners anywhere in the world grow good clean food.

“It is what’s under the ground, the soil, that counts most.” he said. “The soil contains natural minerals that can’t be changed, however, it also contains organics and these can be changed and enriched.”

“It is not enough to add chemicals to soil to make it fertile.  It must also have the biological fertility that can support life that must live in it.”

He demonstrated that you can’t make soil from a mix of different materials. Soil must develop over time.  It is an ecosystem that contains organisms, animals and insects and the by-products created by those organisms, living and dead, as well as broken down vegetation.

Our farmer believes crop rotation will do 80% of the job for a home gardener.  Good rotation means the soil is refreshed by each crop and will remain fertile for the next plants to grow.  So, never grow the same crop in the same soil twice in a row – always alternate with different botanical families – and grow deeper rooted vegetables like tomatoes to bring nutrients up from lower down in the soil alongside shallower rooted vegetables like lettuce or basil so they can take advantage of the way nutrients are naturally distributed.

Growing green fertilizer (or green manure) after each harvest is also recommended. This can be turned over and left to breakdown and improve the soil organically to make a lovely environment for the living organisms and animals to thrive and enhance the soil even more.

The workshophelped everyone understand how to begin a lovely, natural, slow food process, even in a very small garden space, and breathe new life into soil.

And this from some event regulars:

Mary-Anne Fraser, caterer, cook and committee member, Slow Food Brisbane:

The Chef’s Alliance forum at Terra Madre 2018 was well attended with around 100 participants from around the world.  A panel of three spoke about issues from their countries, each speaking for five minutes.  India was represented by well-spoken members.

Denmark, Ukraine, Balkan States, France, US, also spoke.

Common issues were food waste, sharing knowledge, using freshest ingredients, school gardens and kitchens.  Chefs were keen to collaborate and share the solutions to common issues. Cutting out “middle men” and buying directly from farmers and fishers would assist farmers and reduce costs for restaurants.

Change of name from Chef Alliance to Cooks Alliance was mooted to be more inclusive in many countries. I await information from these meetings.

Ian McBride, committee member, Slow Food Brisbane:

Slow Fish Sustainability:  Traditional anchovy fishing in the Gulf of Catania – a Presidia and tradition at risk of dying out.

At the Salone del Gusto in Turin we were lucky enough to meet and find out about the traditional anchovy fishermen from the Gulf of Catania. We learned about a timeless, non-industrial type of fishing that is ecologically sustainable and still supports about thirty fishing boats and about one hundred people.

The method of fishing they practise has been used since the time of Homer.  They fish at night from April to July and use a very fine drift net that has a gauge of about 1cm by 1cm.  The anchovies swim into the net and become caught by the gills.  As they are caught by the gills they lose their blood and become pale and much sweeter than other anchovies.  The net is so fine that it catches only the anchovies and there is absolutely no by-catch. At dawn the nets are pulled in.  However, it is very laborious to carefully remove the fish from the net, one by one, without damaging them and even a skilled fisherman can only handle about 30 Kg a night.

Fortunately, the locals still appreciate the quality of these “Masculine da Magghia”, as they are called in local dialect, and are prepared to pay a premium for them.  However, it is difficult to compete with the trawlers who drag their nets and collect everything in together in one sweep.  To help support the fishermen’s co-operative they have started a form of Slow Travel, where interested people can go out with the fishermen by night to experience a timeless way of life that is at risk of dying out.

The fish that cannot be sold fresh are salted by the fishermen’s wives and will keep for over a year.  They salt them in “cugnitti”, traditional cylindrical ceramic pots of various sizes with wooden stoppers. The head of the fishermen’s co-operative had brought to Turin anchovies caught in the Gulf of Catania the day before for us to taste.

We tried them salted and then deep fried and then we had a taste of a local pasta dressed simply with the salted anchovies and some fried bread crumbs, parsley, and salted ricotta and of course local EVOO. It was “cucina povera” but so tasty that we could appreciate the passion that the local fishermen have for their way of life.

I hope you enjoyed the “virtual” visit and that you might think about joining us to experinece the next Salone del Gusto “for real” in 2020.


See you soon.



Noelene McBride

Leader, Slow Food Brisbane