Tag Archives: slow food

Sea and Field:Dinner by Slow Food Huatulco

By Alfonso C. Rocha Robles
Director, Slow Food México

This first dinner of the Slow Food Huatulco Ecogastronomy community was held on September 15, 2021, at Café Juanita in the Tangolunda section of Bahías de Huatulco. Special guests invited to this dinner were Sra. Minerva Ortiz and her daughters Nancy and María. Local food producers in Bajos de Coyula, they produce and market a variety of products from their community. For this event, they brought a Mexican green called chepil (often used in tamales), camarones (shrimp), tincuiche (tiny fresh-water fish), mirasol chilis, pumpkin flowers, and nanche (or nance, cherry-sized yellow fruit).

The fishermen and food producers supported by the dinner came from the coast, the isthmus, and the Sierra Sur. Jane Bauer, community spokesperson for the Slow Food Huatulco community, opened the doors to chef Alfonso Rocha, international counselor for Slow Food México and Central America, who is here to promote the Slow Food movement in Bahías de Huatulco. During the dinner Jane commented to Rocha, “We are very proud to be part of the Slow Food movement to promote local products and producers, which is crucial to maintaining diversity in our food systems.”

Also served at the dinner were “slow” beverages that are integrated into the Slow Food network in Mexico, such as the slow beer made with blue corn from Michoacán by the brewery La Brü in Morelia, or pulque (a fermented agave drink) from Zacatlán de las Manzanas, integrated into the Oaxaca Mixteca Agave Slow Food Presidium in the Mexican Highlands.

Besides Sra. Ortiz and her family, local fishermen and food producers from La Crucecita provided ingredients for the dinner. In the days leading up to the event, Chef Alfonso dedicated himself to establishing links in the town that will strengthen the Slow Food network in the Bahías de Huatulco region. Alfonso commented during the dinner, “There is great potential to promote traditional foods of the region among local residents and businesses of Bahías de Huatulco because of the great milpa and sea biodiversity linked to local communities.”

The menu for this dinner consisted of four courses, made with more than 20 local foods, including quelites (Mexican greens), vegetables, cheeses, fish and fruits from the region. The menu included the following special slow food dishes:

  1. Tacos of tincuiches with milpa salad and fresh cheese from the Isthmus region.
  2. “Drunk” Ceviche made with Zacatlán pulque and pipicha (a Oaxacan herb with a spicy citrus/cilantro flavor) served on a red corn toast from the Mandimbo community (located on the Copalita River a couple of hours north of the town of Copalita).
  3. Handmade chepil fettucine with ranch egg, creamy pumpkin flower sauce and morita chili with sautéed squid.
  4. Chiapas double cream cheese cheescake with blue corn pinole (ground toasted heirloom blue corn mixed with spices) and a cocoa toast crust from the Mandimbo community.

Slow Food 2.0 in Huatulco

By Alfonso Rocha

I’m pretty sure you’re already familiar with the “slow” concept that’s been tossed around for a few years in reference to sustainability, and maybe also you’ve already heard about a movement called “Slow Food,” which usually goes along with a shiny red snail. But have you ever investigated it? Or formed part of the international network that represents this movement? Now you have the chance to do so from Huatulco or any other part of Mexico.

Even though I have been formally a part of the organization Slow Food International since 2012, headquartered in Italy, I am still amazed at how this philosophy can grow and adapt to any circumstances or themes that surround the food sustainability and justice movement worldwide.

The official textbook definition of Slow Food is “a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.” Since its beginnings in Italy, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.

Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture, and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced, and distributed, and change the world as a result.

The Slow Food international headquarters are located in Bra, Italy – the town in the Piedmont region where the movement was born. It is from here that the association plans and promotes the development of the network and projects worldwide. In Mexico, the Slow Food network began around 1999 among the chefs of Mexico City, but it didn’t expand much beyond that urban scenario of high-class kitchens and restaurants until 2012, when Slow Food´s governing body decided to move away from the “old ways” of Slow Food 1.0, the main activities of which were dinner events around the table in an expensive restaurant, drinking fine wines accompanied, of course, by local and seasonal foods of high quality.

During the International Congress of Slow Food in 2012, the association promoted a shift into a new era, Slow Food 2.0, going outside the restaurant environment and involving farmers, indigenous communities, young members, and food justice/sustainability activists who are not involved in the restaurant or chef scenarios.

Slow Food 2.0 – a Good Fit for Mexico

Since then, Slow Food in Mexico has grown and is now present from Tijuana to Chiapas, with a very diverse network that includes academics, indigenous communities, chefs, students, and more people interested in promoting this philosophy in the country. It is an honor for me to have formed part of the great journey and growth of Slow Food in Mexico. As an International Councilor I have been lucky to have traveled to different countries like Italy, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, Kenya, Turkey and USA to learn about the diversity of the movement.

And now I am lucky enough to be in Huatulco where a new Slow Food Community has been founded with local actors. Soon you can join – and enjoy – activities that promote good, clean and fair local food in Oaxaca.

Alfonso Rocha is an International Councilor for Slow Food Mexico. To connect with the local Slow Food Huatulco community, contact him at alfonso.rocha@slowfood.mx or look for “Slow Food Huatulco” on Instagram.