Slow Food Oxon update - March 2008


Dear Slow Food Oxon members,

Please find below my first update as the new convivium leader. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tamara for the fantastic work and dedication she has shown (and keeps on showing as a committee member) to the Oxon convivium. It's a hard act to follow and I'll endeavour to carry on developing the Slow Food movement within our geographical area, with the support from the committee and all our members.

1/ Slow Food Oxon AGM on the 1/02/08 - please refer to the minutes that are now available on the website ( The meeting was fruitful and once more, all members demonstrated their commitment to the Slow Food cause with many of you volunteering to participate to the organisation of events.

Special thanks for David and Steve from Balvenie for giving us such a fascinating insight into the world of whisky making, and what whiskies! We were introduced to the Double wood aged 12 years with spicy and sweet fruity notes, the Single barrel aged 15 years with vanilla honeyed sweetness and hints of heather and for the grand finale Portwood aged 21 years, ripe raisin and gentle nutty finish.

2/ Slow Food Oxon events this year

We now have a full calendar for this year that I hope you will enjoy – please refer to the event page of the website ( for more details:

- April: Slow Food dinner and book signing 24/04 - The Vaults & Garden Café, Oxford

April, 24, 7pm at The Vaults & Garden in Radcliffe Square, Oxford
British food dinner, book talk and signing by author Kate Colquhoun: Taste: A Story of Britain through its Cooking
Do you know what our ancestors ate? How the Pudding was invented? What they first thought of coffee? And how Henry VIII and his love for Ann Boleyn forever changed this nation's diet? Join us for dinner and listen to the author Kate Colquhoun and her fascinating story, over a beautiful slide show of illustrations from the book. Chef Will Pouget from The Vaults will match the story with a sumptuous seasonal menu, all for £25 (members £20). Open bar. Books available at the event. Sign up through our website or with Tamara

- May: Herb centre tour, 23/05: National Herb Centre near Banbury – we are looking for suggestions on where to host a dinner post visit – all inputs are welcome – Organiser: Liz

- June: Slow food meal, 21/06 –format tbc in next update, could be a BBQ, could be a plated lunch…Organiser: Ian, Tamara and Geoffrey

- July: Fish Market visit – overnight stay, early start and English breakfast in a traditional café – details tbc shortly – watch this space – Organiser: Ian

- August: Farm visit at Wykham Park Farm – date tbc in the next update. Organiser: Ros and Manuel

- September: Olive oil tasting, 06/09 - Market Garden at Tolhurst Organic Produce, Hardwick Estate nr Pangbourne. Organiser: Tamara

- October / November: Fungi Foray (Ian) and Sloe Gin workshop (Tamara) events for the autumn as seasonal activities for which exact dates will be communicated according to nature's will!

- December: Xmas dinner, Tony Attwood’s proposal to host it at a rare breed beef farm in Chesham, venue and date to be confirmed

3/ Don’t forget about our Slow Food Oxon Book Club

Next meeting is scheduled for the beginning of April (2/04/08) – come and join the group in Oxford Summertown wine café, for animated discussions and good book reading.

The book of the month is Delizia by John Dickie.

See more details under Book Club section of the website (

4/ The Convivium projects for this year

- Slow food representation at local Farmers markets

With the idea of increasing awareness of Slow Food amongst the public and the producers, we have decided to engage with the farmers’ market movement in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. To be able to implement this idea, we need your support hence my call for volunteers earlier on this week. The project is still in its infancy and all ideas are welcome to shape up the concept, agree on a plan of actions and tool kit to ensure that all members can participate whilst guaranteeing consistency of approach and message.

The kick off meeting for this project will take place in Wallingford on the last Saturday of this month (29/03/08) – change of venue versus previous communications.

I suspect we will have to follow this initial reflection with a briefing session for all volunteers.

I would like to set up a reflection forum on our website to gather your thoughts and ideas regarding our presence in local markets (

- Oxford sausage - Ark of Taste nomination

We would like to investigate on local produces / specialities with the view to encourage local producers who are working with local breeds and varieties.

Currently we are investigating on the Oxford sausage – recipes, producers, history – with view to build enough evidence to submit an application to have the Oxford Sausage recognised as an Ark of Taste. We will keep you posted on our progress

- Slow food in schools - idea still need maturing

Please let us have your thoughts on how we could increase our interaction with local schools

- Slow Food at the cinema: it is an idea that has been developed around the world by other convivia and worth contemplating for us

5/ Slow Food UK


You must all have received a letter from the UK board notifying you about the coming UK AGM, to take place on the 26/04 in Kendal, Cumbria

I would like to encourage you to attend or alternatively to send your vote and comments by post. Do let us know if you are planning to attend so that we could coordinate transport and agree on the Oxon convivium message before going

- Other news:

Book offer

Green Books is offering Slow Food members a special discount for a new book, Gaia's Kitchen - Vegetarian recipes for family and community, revised edition' written by Julia Ponsonby (see attachment for further details).

To order your copy of Gaia's Kitchen at the special offer of £10.95 + free p&p, phone 0845 4589910 quoting Slow Food Reader Offer. All major credit cards accepted.

***Please note that this offer is only available from 3rd April – 3rd May 2008***

Snail Mail 19: convivial news deadline – 14th April

Submissions for convivial news are invited from convivia covering events and activities from the first part of 2008.

We are lucky to have professional food writers as members of our convivium however you all are entitled to have a go at getting published in Snail Mail: could you please submit any articles you might want to write to Liz at

6/ Slow Food Gastronomic travels

- Slow Food Chisinau, Moldova is organising a Food Tour of the Country (13 - 21 September) custom-made for Slow Food members, as a Thank you! for your support in setting up the Convivium back in 2007. Please read details at

- Tour to El Salone del Gusto and Lucca, Italy, 23rd October – 1st November 2008, organised by Sapori & Saperi – see attached leaflet

- Tour of Romania, which has now become a standard feature of our calendar – details to follow shortly - see attachments for details

7/ Terra Madre / El Salone del Gusto – 23rd/27th October 2008, Turin

This is a major event for Slow Food worldwide and every individual convivium has been asked to contribute by nominating people from their community to be represented:

- 1 Cook

- 1 Food community

- 1 Youth movement

I will send details regarding criteria for nomination separately – watch this space. The committee is already working on this and I will spear you all the paper work but please do ask if you wish to have all details, I will send them to your personal address

Slow Food UK will be sponsoring local producers to attend el Salone del Gusto to replace funding from Food from Britain and Defra which haven’t renewed their support this year

Furthermore, I hope that some of you will be making the trip over there to get a measure of the extent of the Slow Food community and to meet fellow Slow food members – again, I can only encourage you to communicate so that we could set up a mini delegation for our convivium to accompany our nominees

Please refer to the International Slow Food website for further information on the event itself (

8/ International Slow Food news for information and inspiration

You will all be receiving a convivium update as a newsletter from Slow Food International in the very near future. By the mean time, here is a summary of the lastest one:

- Slow Food on Film: Bologna festival 7-11/05/08

- Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to support Romanian producers during the transition period following the entry of Romania in the European Community with the aim of defending traditional cultural methods and local biodiversity

- Activities around the world: collaboration between Slow Food and the Hospitality industry in Lugano, Slow Food at an International Wine event in San Francisco – Golden Glass, 08/06/08, ‘Bike the blossoms’: concept being developed by Slow Food Vancouver as a gastronomic trip by bike

- Slow food International engaging with Italian university to review the importance of local/ seasonal food in school / hospitals, etc… canteens

- Argan Oil presidium driving quality improvement by defining the sensorial characteristics of the oil

- International network of Mercati della Terra which met in Montevarci – aligned with our market project – to be followed

To conclude this lengthy update, I believe that the life of the convivium and its impact on the local community is dependent on us all. I would like this year to be a year of increased exchange of ideas and debates between all members.

Please post your thoughts, ideas, comments on the website. Let us know about your discoveries around the area, tell us if you would like us to do something differently, ask us for support for any good, clean, fair food promotional activities, talk about Slow Food…

I am looking forward to hearing from you all

Kind and Slow Regards as per Tamara well established formula


GAIA'S KITCHEN Media AI[1].pdf62.62 KB
ebrochure_salone_lucca.pdf342.69 KB
Slow Food tur in Romania.doc43 KB