Slow Food, Good Food

October 15, 2009 · 7 comments

Last night a friend and I attended a free public lecture presented by Carlo Petrini, founder and international president of Slow Food. If you are not aware, Slow Food is “a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people‚Äôs dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world” (taken from their website).

Many more people attended than they were obviously expecting, so extra chairs were brought into the back of the lecture theatre, but then the organisers eventually decided to move to a larger venue, and then spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out the audiovisual system before being able to finally get started. Carlo Petrini is Italian, and my friend and I couldn’t help but joke that with this level of organisation he must have felt right at home ;)

In many respects Carlo was preaching to the converted, and much of what he had to say may would be of no surprise to anyone with a healthy interest in food and gastronomy, but quite a few things caught my attention:

  • More than half the food produced globally is wasted, with over 22000 tonnes wasted each day in the US alone.
  • “We can’t eat computers; we can’t eat communication; we have to eat tomatoes, potatoes and spinach.”
  • “To eat is the first agricultural act. When I eat, I decide which agriculture I will support.”
  • We need to become fighters! One specific fight which he recommended getting involved in is doing away with the ban on producing cheese with raw milk in Australia.
  • The Obamas have started a vegie garden in the White House (Also, I just discovered you can download a plan of their garden design, if you were so inclined…seems like they’re big fans of lettuce, apparently)

Carlo also showed a video about Terra Madre, which essentially is a biennial gathering to bring together food communities from across the globe. I wonder if I can somehow convince UWA to sponsor me to attend the next one. Plankton is important to fish stocks, and fish is an important food, right?

(For those in Sydney, Carlo will be heading over to speak at the Sydney International Food Festival.)

After listening to so much Italian, we could not help but go out for some Italian for dinner after the presentation, so we headed into Subiaco to ecco! Pizza. This place has some of the best pizza in town – nice thin, tasty bases, fresh toppings and good sauces. Last night however, we decided to forgo the pizza option and instead tried all of the specials! Most of these “specials” are always on offer, but we were excited to see Fremantle Sardines written up there too this time (actually, it said “FREMANTLE SADINES”).

So, to start with we ordered the Fremantle Sardines and the ricotta mushrooms, which I just can’t resist ordering when I go here. My friend ordered the capretto with asparagus, whilst I ordered the chicken diavolo with rosemary potatoes and asparagus.

Fremantle sardines

The sardines were oily and tender, going beautifully with the slightly crunchy garlic toast they were sitting on. Our only complaint was that we would have preferred them to be saltier.

Herbed ricotta mushrooms

These are so tasty I can’t help but order them every time. Last night the mushrooms were a little smaller than usual, but the flavour was certainly still there. Meaty, juicy mushrooms covered in creamy herbed ricotta. Delicious!

Capretto with asparagus

This is a favourite dish for my friend. Like with the chicken, the capretto is roasted using the pizza oven until it is fall-off-the-bone tender. I’ve had it before and would certainly have it again, but I thought this time I’d try the chicken instead….

Chicken diavolo with rosemary potatoes and asparagus

The chicken did not disappoint. Beautifully tender, juicy and succulent, and a really generous amount too! The potatoes and asparagus were also cooked well. Although the sauce was tasty, it was also incredibly oily, and I would have preferred much less of it on the plate. I did however have to stop myself from picking up the carcass to make sure I’d got every last skerrick of meat off it.

Overall, another delicious meal at Ecco. I’ve been here many times, and think I have tried all of the starter dishes by now and they’re all really good. It’s a great place to go with a few people, so you can share a pile of different starters and then either share pizzas or go with your own main. The blue cheese and pear pizza is particularly good, but I can also recommend the asparagus, the brocolini and the carciofo ones. Well, they’re all quite good really.

Alberto the owner is a real character too.

23 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Phone: 9388 6710

There’s also another ecco! in Fremantle, but I’ve not been there myself.

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