'Doing good'. It sounds like yet another thing to think about and weave into one' s special day. But it doesn't have to be. One of life's most simple pleasures is a shared meal with those we love. Food is glue in that it acts as a social cohesive agent. On your wedding day, food is promoted to far more than basic fuel and becomes a signature of the event itself.
With a wedding, you are saying who you are as a bride, and as couple, creating not just a venue or a menu, but a whole sensory experience. The beauty of following Slow Food principles for a wedding is that one feels more rooted in the place it is being held. A sense of place and environment can do so much for a wedding, easing the guests and the couple themselves into a momentous and life-changing day. Rather than using a ubiquitous catering company churning out the same menu for wedding after faceless wedding, adopting Slow Food principles allows for compassion to seasonality and the region where the wedding is taking place.
It is a common problem, that prices are hiked up for a wedding as suppliers take advantage of the fixation we have to create the 'perfect day.' Prices soar with no correlation to the sustainability behind expenditure. For most bridal parties, even the smallest detail in a wedding is a point of deliberation and serious consideration. My wedding; a Slow wedding was no different, but the results - definitely were.
Fruili-Venezia Giulia, a region in northern-east Italy has long been a pillar of the Slow Food ethos and the small town of Udine, where my husband is from, is steeped in food traditions and pride in its local producers. With a little time and thought, a Slow Wedding can not only support local producers and the local economy, but by doing so, one enhances the beauty of the local surroundings and the wedding becomes more special. But yet having been to many weddings over the last few years, it became obvious to me that many bridal couples are not catering for their wedding in a similar style to how they themselves liked to eat. When the word 'wedding' was mentioned, any sustainability principles came secondary to aesthetic perfection on the big day. With my wedding as a showcase, I wanted to demonstrate that this doesn't need to be the case.
The concept of Slow Food is a way of life and a philosophy, but it also is present in over one hundred and fifty countries. One of Slow Food's principle programmes is protecting and promoting 'Forgotten Foods', beautiful and delicious produce that due to industrialisation and homogenization of food are becoming forgotten or extinct. We call this programme the Ark of Taste, a kind of Noah's Ark with the two by two of animals coming on board the ark for preservation of the species. The Ark of Taste has over 1000 products that the organisation is promoting. So incorporating true Slow Food flavours can be easily translated to whatever country you are in. For my wedding, I incorporated various forgotten foods like 'formadi frant' a heritage cheese made in the 'malga' (traditional dairy farms in the mountains), in fact I was spoilt for choice in using traditional ingredients and supporting Friuli's local producers.
From my role as Slow Food UK's CEO to my time at the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation, a passion for food security and protecting our edible biodiversity has been growing steadily. We're faced with an obesity crisis in the northern hemisphere on the one hand and in the southern hemisphere, grave malnutrition and lack of food, on the other. Our global food system is in-balanced. That's why 'doing one good thing' is better than nothing at all and one's wedding is no exception. It can be that one good thing. Brides taking a little time to think about the sourcing and choose a chef who supports local producers and our local economy, can give us a whole other layer of satisfaction on that special day. Food for thought.
A Recipe from Cat's Wedding
Frico is the most classic dish from Friuli but is not as well known, as it should be, as in Italy regional treasures often stay-hidden gems as it is made only in that region.. Frico is essentially a mix of 'cooked cheese' at different stages of maturity, but that term does not really due it justice. It is a warming and delicious dish and offers a homemade essence which is so perfect and reassuring on one's wedding day.
Traditional Friulano Frico
15 minutes to prepare & 20 minutes to cook
warm up that pan, slowly cook the onions, and once onions are translucent, add the cheese and cook until it browns lightly and then flip as you would an omelette and ta da, Frico!
Interview with Catherine Gazzoli, CEO Slow Food UK and Board Director of Slow Food International. Named as a Financial Times Foodie and by Channel Four Food as one of Britain's top foodie ladies, she was recently converted principles from her day job into her wedding day for a Slow Food wedding in the beautiful region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy.