The Italian Almanac

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port of Genoa

Slow Fish

The port city of Genoa is to celebrate the treasures of the Mediterranean sea, with a Slow Food event devoted to fish. Slow Fish is a fair paying tribute to the delights of the Mediterranean`s many varieties but also exploring their problems and looking at ways to protect vanishing species. Hosted in a new pavilion overlooking the sea, the festival will include discussions, tasting sessions, educational workshops, courses, classes, games and a market.

The market will welcome exhibitors from around the world, with the majority from European countries, mainly Italy, France, Spain and the UK. Also in the market will be number of local representatives explaining fish specialities from their areas, traditional fishing techniques and public campaigns to protect threatened species.

Another section of the fair will introduce visitors to the ``Sea Presidia``, small coastal communities singled out by Slow Food for their sustainable, traditional practices and close relationship with their environment. Representatives from these communities, 15 of which from Italy and ten from abroad, will speak at Slow Fish, explaining how their communities are able to live in harmony with the environment and safeguard sealife, while still earning enough to thrive.

Visitors keen to sample traditional flavours will have plenty of opportunity either at one of the many osteria stands or the ``islands of taste``. Local chefs and food experts from Italy`s different regions will explain their secrets and local treats. Although the focus will be on fish, there will also be other specialties, such as wine, red garlic, salt and capers.

Visitors keen to try something different will be fascinated by a new shrimp ice cream being unveiled this weekend. Created by Mario Rivaro, who specializes in savoury ice creams, the new variety will be made entirely from shellfish caught by fishermen from the Ligurian town of Santa Margherita Ligure. The finely crushed fish will be blended with milk and then flavoured with a prized local white wine, Pigato di Albenga.

In addition to celebrating the tastes of the Mediterranean, Slow Fish will place a heavy emphasis on conservation. The focus will be the launch of a new campaign, Fare`s Fair, providing detailed information on how to eat responsibly and protect fish endangered by overfishing or poor farming practices. The campaign will include a guide with basic information on which species should be avoided and which are banned by law, as well as suggestions for species that are neglected and ignored by the market but which offer valid alternatives to overfished stocks.