Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, which boasts an international membership of over 83,000, joined with his colleagues in the organization’s first official visit to Norway last April.
Under the auspices of the mission to protect cultural identities tied to food and gastronomic traditions, safeguard foods for consumers, preserve traditional cultivation techniques and defend wild animal and vegetable species, the delegation had the opportunity to experience some of Norway’s finest artisan products. The journey extended from Oslo to Bergen and the West Country and culminated in a return to Oslo with a veritable feast of ancient foods and drink at Arcus, home to Linie Aquavit.
Slow Food’s “Ark of Taste” has catalogued a multitude of remarkable products around the globe. The working arm of Slow Food called the “Presidia”, serves to support artisan producers with assistance in marketing and promotion, establishing local support groups and sometimes even with funding or production assistance, all with the intent of preserving a viable future for traditional foods.
The following is a list of Norwegian products sited for their economic viability and commercial potential and recognized in the “Ark of Taste”:
1) Artisan Sognefjord Geitost (brown goat’s cheese from Sognefjord)
2) Cured and Smoked Herring from Sunnmøre
3) Kristiansund Baccala (dried cod from Kristiansund)
4) Lutefisk from the Isle of Sørøva (stockfish)
Norway’s “convivia”, or local groups represent just a small fraction from Slow Food’s network around the world. This is coordinated by leaders , who periodically organize dinners, tastings, courses, as well as support food and wine agrotourism.
At the final lunch and press conference, Petrini presented a short film on the Slow Food’s most recent and innovative initiative, Terra Madre , World Meeting of Food Communities, which was held in October 2004 in Turin. It will be held again this fall of 2006. The congress represents a forum for all people, who Petrini refers affectionately to “ants” and their power of influence in numbers.
The scope of diversity in its nearly 5000 attendees was at once an inspiration and at the same time, a reflection of true internationalism.
Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
Slow Food International
Slow Food Norway
by Scott Givot
Photography by Nancy Bundt
(Taken at Arcus,Oslo, Norway)