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Snail to Take Local Food to the World

June 16, 2017 Whats On No Comments Email Email

Australia’s largest Slow Food convivium, Slow Food Noosa, will take the region to the world with the arrival of the “Snail of Approval” recognition program.

The program is designed to inspire producers, chefs, restaurant owners and food outlets to produce, use and promote good, clean and fair practices and ingredients from the local area – and to recognise and highlight the ones who already follow this philosophy.

An Australian-first, the “Snail of Approval” is expected to reach more than one million global Slow Food supporters in more than 160 countries as well as provide a quality assurance guide for residents and visitors on the local leaders.

Slow Food Noosa President Erika Hackett said the program would incorporate farmers, producers, food artisans, chefs, restaurants and food providers from the Sunshine Coast to the Cooloola Coast.

Successful applicants also have the opportunity to be registered on the Slow Food Planet App for free.

Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said “I applaud Slow Food Noosa on this new initiative highlighting the Noosa’s producers, food outlets and restaurants that are using seasonal ingredients, sourcing local food and taking responsibility for their carbon footprint through waste management and highlighting low food miles”.

“Noosa has long been recognised as a serious food destination and our brand research into our key interstate markets shows food is a stand out part of Noosa’s visitor appeal with sought after experiences ranging from dining, food markets, cooking schools and visiting farm gates, showcasing locally grown and made food, creating authentic Noosa experiences. I encourage Noosa operators to get onboard with the Snail of Approval program which will undoubtedly further enhance Noosa’s appeal as a great food destination”.

Mrs Hackett said they had been pleased with the response to date as it was initially promoted to direct contacts for the first round.

“We have received more than 30 applications from producers to restaurants, chefs and other food service providers,” she said. “The program is an Australian-first and has been based on similar programs operated by other Slow Food groups in Bali and America.”

The criteria for recognition is based on the Slow Food overarching philosophy of good, clean and fair.

In addition to the global recognition through Slow Food’s membership and the Slow Food Planet App, successful applicants will receive a certificate and window sticker or building/farmgate sign to assist locals and visitors to easily recognise those who have the “Snail of Approval”.

Founder and co-owner of The Wasabi Group (which includes the esteemed Wasabi restaurant, The Cooking School Noosa and Honeysuckle Hill Farm) Danielle Gjestland said receiving the Snail of Approval would provide an avenue to receive global recognition and to reach discerning diners who are interested in seasonal, regional and responsible dining.

“It has always been a goal to make a positive difference and to act responsibly in everything that we do,” she said.

Mrs Hackett said Wasabi’s commitment to good, clean and fair preparation and service of food was evident on its menu that featured seasonal produce sourced locally, including special ingredients grown on the group’s Honeysuckle Hill Farm.

“The Wasabi Group also uses locally-made Sarah Sheppard ceramics and engaged local woodworkers to repurpose the Camphor Laurel weeds from its farm to use in the restaurant,” she said.

“Its Bincho-tan (Japanese white charcoal) Mineral Water uses a process that saves on average 200ml of crude oil per one litre or filtered water while providing better tasting and healthier quality water; and its management and treatment of waste is to be commended.

“They are a leading example of paddock-to-plate-to-paddock and are one of the region’s shining lights because of this. We are proud to have them as part of this program.”

Mrs Hackett said Cooloola Berries offered a great example of how responsible and ethical farming can benefit the whole community.

“Cooloola Berries not only work hard on their own business but they are also advocates for their region and for small-scale farmers,” She said. “They share their passion for farming with school children, tour groups and visitors to the farm.

“Their café menu and farm shop features a range of local producers and artisans from the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Fraser Coast regions and they continually strive to innovate and evolve with new products including Strawberry Cider, fruit blended ice creams, jams and preserves.”

The third-generation multi-award winning farmers were chosen to represent Slow Food Australia at the biennial Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto (the world’s largest fair food fair) in Italy in 2016.

“Kim and Jason work tirelessly on their business and also to support other local producers,” Erika said. “They were great ambassadors for our regional produce on the world stage at Terra Madre and have been active participants in Slow Food Noosa to ensure that local producers have a voice.”

Voodoo Bacon and Soul Kitchen Spices are another local business striving for recognition. The one-man team led by chef and pork-peddler George Francisco recently received a state award for its nitrate and chemical free dry cured streaky bacon made with all local ingredients.

“George is on a mission to source products that can improve the ethics and taste of his bacon and uses a centuries-old technique with no preservatives, anti-oxidants or emulsifiers,” Mrs Hackett said. “He uses all Australian ingredients – most of which are certified organic and come from within 90km of the manufacturing location in Noosaville.

“The more local the product the better,” George said. “I have traced the heritage and living and eating habits of the pigs my pork belly comes from to ensure all of my pork is sow stall free.

“Some of it actually comes from a permaculture farm that uses bioengineering practices including rotation of different animals through paddocks to keep the earth healthy and viable – and they feed the pigs trimmings from an organic lettuce farm.”

Being a one-man business, George says he also makes sure he treats his staff ethically.

“I have great breaks where I enjoy bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and I have a lovely staff beer at the end of my shift and reflect on my day and how nice it is to make a product that makes me happy,” he said.

The successful recipients for Round One “Snail of Approval” will be announced at an official ceremony on 20 June with Slow Food Noosa casting the net wider for Round Two applicants.

“Applications for Round Two close on 30 August and we look forward to discovering worthy recipients across the entire Caloundra to Cooloola region,” she said.

“The 2017 recipients will automatically receive accreditation for 2018 as well and new applications for next year will close on 31 October, which will then be the annual date for applications.”

More information and the online application form can be found on the Slow Food Noosa website and while it is free to apply, applicants should be Slow Food members which costs around $90 per year.

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