With over 200 food producers under one roof, and lots of delicious samples, I couldn’t resist attending the Slow Food Market last Sunday in Zurich. This is the fifth market of its kind that’s been held in Switzerland, and if you missed it, don’t worry. You’ll have another chance soon this spring!
Defining Slow Food
As you may already know, the Slow Food movement originated across the border in Italy in 1983, led by journalist and sociologist Carlo Petrini. Slow Food is generally defined as food that’s “good, clean and fair.”
In Switzerland, the current organization, Slow Food CH, officially started in 1993—after a group had already organized in Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland. According to its website, Slow Food CH has approximately 4,000 members. An individual can become a member of this organization for CHF 120 per year.
Slow Food CH has developed a list of some 300 products that have earned a special designation: Presidio Slow Food. To be eligible for this distinction, these producers must “protect quality products made on a small scale using traditional practices.” Within Switzerland, over 20 products have earned the Presidio Slow Food label, several of which are available at Coop, a sponsor of Slow Food CH. Some examples of these products include rye bread (Pain de seigle) from Valais and corn flour (Farina bòna) from Ticino.
Slow Food Market 2015
At this year’s Slow Food market, I paid CHF 20 to get in with my Coop Supercard (general admission is CHF 24). It was a unique opportunity to talk with producers face-to-face about their foods to find out where and how its made. Plus, you can actually taste the products and have the satisfaction of purchasing them from people who will directly benefit from your contribution.
During the market, I strolled through the rows and rows of food vendors, and every table had something on offer to taste. I tried some fantastic balsamic vinegar. Another vendor kept handing me delicious samples of truffle butter and truffle hollandaise sauce and cheese with truffles! A major surprise for me was the pleasantly sweet chocolate truffle made with powdered durian, a stinky fruit from Southeast Asia that’s banned from some places because of its wretched smell. Overall, I took home a variety of products, including biber, black olives, hard apple cider, panettone, chocolate and curry paste.
While the Slow Food market is over for 2015, you can catch another one in Bern, early in 2016. For the first time, this market will be offered in Switzerland’s capital city. You’ll find it at the Bern Expo from March 11-13. It’s a great opportunity to discover lots of high-quality food products, all in one place.