Category Food and drink

Food for thought

The Slow Food organisation aims to protect local food culture, and has grown into an influential international movement.

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It all started in Bra, a town in north-western Italy of about 30,000 people. In 1986, Carlo Petrini founded ‘Slow Food’ as a wine and food association. The purpose was to enjoy quality cookery as part of a slow, leisurely lifestyle. It countered the expanding fast-food industry. It also fought the disappearance of local food traditions and a rising apathy towards nutrition.

The association soon expanded into a movement. The first international congress was held in Venice in 1990. The network came to include humanitarian and environmental issues such as fair prices, animal welfare and production methods...

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Spicy delights

Let us guide you through five classic meat-free dishes of the Indian cuisine – the world’s vegetarian wonderland.

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The Indian cuisine is a galaxy of diverse and tasteful plates. In a country of more than 1.2 million people, every region has its own take on how food should be prepared. A signature dish in one area may be virtually unknown in another. More generally, Indian food has been heavily shaped by both religious and historic factors. Trade routes, foreign invasions and colonialism have had strong influences, with Persians, Arabs and Brits all leaving their mark.

India is also a haven for vegetarians. According to a study in 2006, as much as 40 per cent of its households consider themselves to be vegetarian. That is more people than the rest of the vegetarian world combined...

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Full of flavour

The food of Italy’s southern island enjoys a fine reputation, and not without reason. Here is a guide to five classic Sicilian dishes.

Samot

Sicily’s cuisine bears many resemblances to its people: it is distinct in taste, and full of character and personality. It is also extremely varied and contains traces of numerous foreign cultures: a reflection of its eventful history over the past two millennia, during which its governance has changed hands more than once. The Greeks brought grapes and olives; the Romans introduced fava beans and certain types of pasta; the Arabs presented almonds, cinnamons and pistachio. It is a cultural melting pot.

The Sicilian geography is also favourable towards food...

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A cup of culture

Morocco’s love for green tea is a symbol of national identity and hospitality, but the rituals of serving the drink strongly differ from those in Europe. 

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The British are renowned for appreciating a good cup of tea, but such pleasures extend not only to drizzly climates. In Morocco, tea is everywhere: markets, bars, shops, hotels and restaurants. It is served on almost any social occasion, at any time during the day. The Moroccans even have a saying about its daily taste: “The first glass is as gentle as life; the second glass is a strong as love; the third glass is as bitter as death.”

Green tea is the default social beverage in Morocco, particularly because alcohol is not allowed. Men often enjoy it in bars; women in their homes...

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Slow food

Snails have long been regarded as a delicacy on the continental food plate, but the process of preparing them is a laborious one.

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Sitting by a table in a refined French restaurant, glancing warily down at a plate of snails, your first thought is unlikely to centre on how your meal was composed. To food sophisticates, escargot – French for ‘snail’ – remains a luxurious appetiser served with delicious garlic and butter. For many tourists, however, the prospect of slurping slimy snails from shells is hard to envisage.

While that attitude is understandable, it would be shrugged at in several quarters of Europe. Despite being the ambassador of the French gastronomy, snails are also popular around the Mediterranean...

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A new identity

With the creation of a new designation system, the idyllic Weinviertel region is leading Austria’s wine production back onto the international market.

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If a wine is a reflection of its region, producers in Weinviertel have little to worry about. Under the bright sun and clear blue skies it is so frequently spoilt with, the district’s wavy landscape of green hills, rich soil and charming, slow-paced towns forms, together with an ideal climate, a haven for the growth of distinctively spicy, smoky grapes. With vineyards of such idyll, it is perhaps no wonder that Austria has accelerated its return to the international market by labelling its wines with an emphasis on regional identity.

Not long ago, the country’s reputation for wine production was in tatters...

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