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May 11, 2018


The Mountain Experience shows us the connection between our two favorite topics: food and travel.

It was so nice to meet our Slow food friends Elena Aniere and Federico Mattei who traveled from Italy with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) managers Giorgio Grussu and Michelle Geringer. They are here to explore the Cordillera under the care of Department of Tourism’s Regional Director Venus Tan.

Why is Slow Food involved? There is a concept called Slow Travel and it brings indigenous food, in this case food from our mountains, as an important component of travel.

As a prelude to their visit to the Cordillera, the Slow Food Manila members cooked up a lunch using Indigenous ingredients like Tinawon rice, kadyos in KBL, Bukel white beans and Kini-Ing (smoked pork) bean stew, yellow cattle Salpicao, Dinengdeng from Ifugao, Adlai salad, and the traditional Pinoy adobo by Chef Jam Melchor. Chef Jam also made Bringhe, our Pinoy version of the Spanish Paella, using turmeric or Luyang Dilaw.

These dishes made by home cooks of Slow Food are what they can experience when they visit Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao. We added the Kadyos which comes from Bacolod and the Bringhe from Pampanga as the ingredients also are listed in the global catalog called the Ark of Taste.

Yes, we already have 62 items listed in the Ark of Taste and more to come. Why list them? This way, chefs and consumers will know what we need to cook, plant and eat. They say “eating is an agricultural act” (Michael Pollan), “farming is a gastronomical act” (Carlo Petrini), and we want to say “food shopping is a political act” (Paula Aberasturi).

After a hearty lunch, Chef Jam also offered a traditional Leche flan using 8 eggs per tray (Llanera) and Paula made some Roselle jam/conserve to put on vanilla ice cream. Coffee served by Commune Cafe is the Ark of Taste listed Benguet Arabica and the Tisane/tea was a mix of mountain flowers concocted by Nicolo Aberasturi.

“Hey, we can do this and invite chefs next time,” someone suggested. That way, more chefs can be involved in using our rare ingredients and hopefully help save them from extinction. Further, a mixed crop that includes these older species (and not just monocrops) also ensures Biodiversity—and that’s good for our planet.

So a Chef’s table is on the plan for Commune and Slow Food Manila to put up in June. Chefs from other chapters or convivia will be enjoined to come and listen to Slow Food members on what we need to do to help the farmers become more sustainable while growing healthier produce for us.

Do you know chefs from Negros, Pangasinan, Baguio, Cebu, and Bukidnon who may be interested to join the Chefs table? So far the chefs who have been helping out Slow Food are Margarita Fores, Robby Goco, Tatung, Waya Wijangco, Niño Laus, Jackie Laudico, and of course the tireless Jam Melchor.

But there’s more to do like explaining to willing listeners why we must use local sustainable ingredients, why we just preserve old varieties and not replace them with GMOs, why small farms are better than industrial farms, and why we must choose what we buy and what we cook.

Come join us as we talk about the connection between the planet and what we eat everyday.

Help us to enlighten more people about how a Slow Food and Slow Travel makes sense.



Photos from Slow Food Manila


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