Saturday, December 16, 2017

Good, clean and fair food: Slow Food Cabarete / Sosua Convivium

SLOW FOOD RDMy grandmother comes from a field in the mountainous town of Jarabacoa. I don’t recall ever seeing her buying canned goods unless she absolutely had to.

 She would patiently sort out the beans between her swift fingers and place them in a pot with water overnight so they’d be soft the next day. She’d cook them with natural herbs on a low heat a few hours in advance lunch time. Most kids aren’t fans of beans, but I would eat them up on their own. Good ‘habichuelas’ can be made easily if you’re a good cook, but the best habichuelas ever were bound to take time, experience and preparation. I would find myself going back to enjoy the familiar taste, that which I could not find elsewhere...

It’s no surprise for anyone that today’s agriculture is confronted with the necessity of overproducing for the masses. With all the media and promotion of the so called ‘fast foods’ people seem to forget what natural grown and unprocessed food tastes like.

This affects big populations specially with obesity issues and self-generated sicknesses through our meals. Most of these fast food menus have proven to be unsafe for regular human consumption, at least in the long run. It’s crazy times we’re living in...  With the desire to return to agricultural and gastronomic roots, Slow Food becomes a necessity. 

What is it and where does this come from?

Italians know how to eat and enjoy their meals, so it makes sense that Slow Food comes from italian initiative. Their symbol is (logically enough) a snail. Presided by Carlo Petrini, it’s known as an international movement that combines pleasure, knowledge and tradition while promoting regional practices, products and methods in organic cultivation and food making. 

Slow Food started out from a group of food activists in 1986 right after a Mc Donalds demonstration in Rome. Later it became officially founded in a french town known for it’s good food: Paris, all thanks to the signing of the Slow Food Manifesto many european countries followed. SlowFood works around the concept of good, clean and fair food for alle. 

Good: quality, flavor and healthy.

Clean: sustainable production without the use of chemicals.

Fair: decent cost for consumers and pay for it’s growers.


A bit of history

While it initially started out in Bra (Italy), the movement has now reached 160 countries and has more than 83 thousand members. In Italy alone they have about 35 thousand members belonging to the italian in-scripted organizations named condotte (conducts) but in the rest of the world they are known as conviviums. There’s 1,500 of those... And guess what, we have one right here in the North Coast! As well as one in Altos de Chavón.

SLOW FOOD RD FYI: Most of the top world chefs are part of the Slow Food Movement.

Slow Food Cabarete/Sosúa

The official members in the Cabarete/Sosúa area are Joelle ‘Baba’ Mnouchkine (leader) and Mattia Ballerini (executive vice leader), along with vice leaders Nicauly Gomez, Robert Battye and Tomás ‘Papo’ Soñé, owner of Clorofila a vegetarian restaurant. 


It started out last april and so far they’ve managed to promote a few activities for the wellbeing of the community. Such as:

Casa Mami Tastings

With the help of “La Zarina” italian cheese-makers, we had an italian tasting of tomato sauce on bruschetta and pasta. Fabrizio Paolucci from La Zarina donated the Ricotta Cheese and Vinos S. A. Productos Santa Carolina donated white Santa Carolina wine which was served in the tasting as well.

casa mami slow foodcasa mami slow food cabarete

"For the second event we were invited to participate at the music on the beach event on the 28th of May after the first one on the 21st both were to raise funds. By selling tomato sauce individual portions so we could then make the lunch for the orphanage." - Baba 

Friendly protest

On May 26, a friendly protest took place in Cabarete Beach as a way to call the attention of authorities on the problem of unregulated and dangerous traffic whizzing at 60km per hour on the main street, endangering lives of the locals and tourists. 

SLOW FOOD RDslow food cabarete sosua

“We are very interested in helping Cabarete become a Città Slow or a Slow City” says Mattia. “It has a lot of elements in favor, and if local politicians were interested in making it so, the tourism, the businesses and general life here would bloom for the best.”

Pasta for the kids at Casa Niños Felices

For June 11th, the members drove to Casa Niños Felices orphanage in Sosúa to provide the kids an appreciative lunch with real italian pasta. Also with the help of “Distribuidora Productos Italiana Sosua” for the good italian parmesan cheese. A beautiful experience for all.


But they want to do more! Stay in touch with them in order to find out the next social eating and/or activities and what you can do, what products you can buy and some restaurants to go to, specially if they’re slow food sympathizers.

Get involved!

Slow Food is open to include more members wether it’s an organic finca, a restaurant, a chef , receive donations, help out become responsible consumers as well as finding your local convivium.

In the future there’s more Slow stuff to come:

Slow fish Caraibi, slow cheese, and other themes they are VERY vocal about. Like climate change and GMOs.

“We have many ideas we’d like to implement here in Cabarete, hopefully people will support them and reach out to us. All of these are meant for the wellbeing of our beautiful community, we invite you all to find out the benefits of being part of Slow food, All levels are welcome. Your body and the environment will thank you.” says Baba with a sweet smile. Her eyes are full of life and kindness, it would appear she’s seen a thing or two by now. We’ll take her word for it, just like we’d do with grandma.

slow food

Find out more about the additional Slow Food bodies:

Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Terra Madre Foundation

University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG)

Slow Food Youth Network

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