“Food is not a job for us, it’s like a ritual. As a magic”, – when it is said about food in this way, you can never expect something simple and ordinary. Have you ever heard about the “Slow Food” movement? I bet that in one way or another this information reached your ears, but maybe not everybody knows how it really looks like in reality. Once in Italy, why not to check it out how restaurant by themselves are maintaining this idea?
So, let’s start from the beginning. “Slow Food” – what is it and how is that being eaten? Once upon a time in a small Northern Italy town called Bra born a person named Carlo Petrini who started a movement against fast food. This idea today is very important not only in Italy but as well in all the rest of the world. So it’s not surprising, that a sticker with a snail, traditional symbol of this “Slow Food” movement, with a motto of “Good, clean and fair”, could be found in numerous of restaurants in Italian region Tuscany. If you want to live with such idea, you always need to think what kind of products to buy, from where, what kind of dishes to make, in which manner to cook them and at the end – how to provide everything for users of such service. So how restaurant work looks like in reality while maintaining the philosophy of “Slow Food”? To answer those questions interviews with three different restaurants in Tuscany were made. And here we have trattoria “Mario” (Florence), trattoria “Sabatino” (Florence) and restaurant “Il Tirabusciò” (Bibbiena).
★ Why did your restaurant adopt the idea of “Slow Food”?
Trattoria “Mario”: “Because every dish needs its time to be prepared and it is unfair to change the nature due to commercial needs”.
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “The main idea of our restaurant is to prepare home-made-feel-like food, similar to that, made by mother or grandmother. As well we are paying big attention to tradition, price and quality ratio. So our work was always close to the philosophy of “Slow Food”.
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Because we always liked the philosophy of “Slow Food”.
★When it started?
Trattoria “Mario”: “We were always working in this way. Food is not a job for us, it’s like a ritual. As a magic.”
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “In this way we were working all the time, but around 4-5 years ago we officially adopted the idea of “Slow Food”.
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “In 2003”.
★ In what ways your restaurant is keeping in practice the idea of “Slow Food”?
Trattoria “Mario”: “We always use only those products, which every season can provide. If the dish needs fresh ingredients that are not available at exact time, simply we are not making it. As well it is also nice to wait for the right moment.”
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “We are paying attention to absolutely all principles of this food ideology. The most important aspect of them for us is to follow traditions, prepare food only with fresh raw materials and only with having in mind all the old recipes and always being patient for preparation process.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “We care about all principles of the “Slow Food” idea, like choosing biological products from the nearest area around, seasonality, manner of cooking and so on.”
★ Three most important aspects, when you are preparing food in the “slow” way.
Trattoria “Mario”: “Seasonal ingredients, care of the raw materials and respect for cooking time, even when they are long.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Quality and freshness of raw materials, recognition of flavors, as well – local production”.
★ Is it easy to work with such idea?
Trattoria “Mario”: “Not at all! You should always be careful not to get carried away by the rhythms of the world around us.”
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “For us it is easy to keep idea of “Slow Food”, because it is very close to our natural philosophy.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Yes, but sometimes you still need to put some effort”.
★ The main difficulties, with which you are facing.
Trattoria “Mario”: “Always try something new without changing the traditions and put to each dish love and care which is necessary.”
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “The main difficulty is that usually all the preparation of food is taking a long time”.
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “To find those raw materials, which we exactly want”.
★ Is it more expensive to work with “Slow Food” idea, than in a regular way?
Trattoria “Mario”: “Yes, I would say that it costs twice as much, but the satisfaction of the customer repays that all.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Yes, around 20%.”
★ Could you tell some typical “Slow Food” dishes of your restaurant and which is the favourite one by your guests?
Trattoria “Mario”: “The typical dish in our restaurant is meat ragout, cooked for five hours. The favourite ones are Tuscan beef stew Peposo and soup Ribollita.”
Trattoria “Sabatino”: “There are lots of dishes which represent “Slow Food” idea in our restaurant, like, Minestrone, seasonal vegetables, meals of the day, which include various dishes with meat and fish.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Sauce of pigeons in the crock, tortelli, made with red potatoes from Cetica, served with pork ragout from Casentino, apple cake. The favorite one is dish of tortelli.”
From where exactly are you buying products?
Trattoria “Mario”: “From San Lorenzo market in Florence, which is very near us”.
Il Tirabusciò: “From local small producers.”
★ How can you describe your clients?
Trattoria “Mario”: “In our restaurant are coming different kind of people – and teachers, and actors, and students, and vagabonds. Florence is very touristic city, so it is normal that a big part of our clients are foreigners. But despite on that a lot of Italian and Florentine people as well are coming to eat in our restaurant.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Ordinary people, who love good cuisine and food made from genuine products. We can tell, that around 70% are Italian guests and 30% – foreigners.”
★ Do you have loyal clients, who are very often coming to your restaurant because of the “Slow Food” idea?
Trattoria “Mario”: “There are people, who spent life in our restaurant. Because it is not only a place where to eat, but as well a family with a history.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Yes, we have enough of them.”
★ Why do you think the idea of “Slow Food” is important for today?
Trattoria “Mario”: “Because it pursues the idea of excellence true, made up of things that are true, not a choreography. The thought is not about being nice, but about being good and concrete.”
Restaurant “Il Tirabusciò”: “Because such food is really good, tasty, clean and fair.”