The Slow Food movement started in 1989 as a response to the opening of McDonald’s restaurant in Rome. Carlo Petrini, the Italian journalist who launched the movement, thought it was unfortunate that a city with high-quality local cuisine had opened its doors to mass-produced food.
Since then, the Slow Food movement has spread to more than 160 countries and attracted millions of people around the world. Slovakia joined in 2012 with three major communities (convivia) in Pressburg (the old name for Bratislava), Banská Bystrica and Tatry.
The Slovak convivia have just begun to gain more attention from the public by organizing regional markets, where local farmers and small-scale food producers gather to promote biodiversity, sustainable farming and traditional regional products. Bratislavské rožky (Bratislava rolls) filled with ground poppy seeds or walnuts certainly belong to this category:
To be approved by the Slow Food community, the farmer or the food producer must meet three main criteria:
Good – offer food staples that grow and ripen naturally in their typical season, have high nutritional value and pure, unadulterated sensory properties
Clean – use responsible, environmentally friendly farming methods and technologies that are free of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics or GMO
Fair – give an accessible price to the consumer, a fair pay and good working conditions for the workers, while still ensuring sustainable growth for the farmer/producer
At a recent market in Pezinok near Bratislava, the Slow Food Pressburg also introduced a small producer of an ancient species of wheat, which had been pushed out of the market by the new, modern cultivars. This dvojzrnka, as the wheat variety is called in Slovak, has different genetics and therefore a different gluten formula, so it’s generally better tolerated by people sensitive to the gluten of the modern wheat.
Apart from the local food markets and promotional fairs, the three Slovak convivia take part in national projects, international campaigns, as well as gastronomical events in and outside Slovakia.