Vicky Garcia, Raymunda Mamaril, Rowena Gonnay and Jimmy Lingayo represented the traditional rice producers of the Cordillera

Vicky Garcia, Raymunda Mamaril, Rowena Gonnay and Jimmy Lingayo represented the Philippines and the traditional rice producers of the Cordillera

Once again, farmers from the Cordillera region were privileged to attend the 2012 Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event, which was held October 25-29 in Turin, Italy. The Philippine delegation included three farmers representing the traditional rice producing communities whose rice varieties are included in the Slow Food Foundation’s “Ark of Taste” and Vicky Garcia, the executive director of the RICE, Inc., the NGO supporting the farmers participating in the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project.

One of the main workshop events of the Salone Del Gusto was the Terra Madre Network’s Taste Workshop on Traditional Rices of Asia. Rice is the staple food half of the world’s population but it also has deep cultural and spiritual significance within Asian cultures. In this sold out workshop, producers and experts from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia presented stories of that cultural connection and a taste sampling of a traditional rice recipe.

Preparing a traditional suman dessert rice using the ominio variety of Mountain Province, Philippines.

Preparing a traditional suman dessert rice using the ominio variety of Mountain Province, Philippines.

Raymunda Mamaril, representing the ominio rice producers of Barlig Mountain Province, showcased the dark purple sticky rice in a traditional dessert recipe made with brown sugar and coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf. Raymunda was assisted in her presentation by Margarita Fores, owner and chef of the CIBO restaurant chain in the Philippines. Chef Fores, who is known for bringing the modern taste of Italy to the Philippines, had the opportunity to reverse her role by speaking about this traditional rice in Italy.

Raymunda Mamaril and Chef Margarita Fores talk about the ominio dessert during the Taste Workshop on Asian rices.

Raymunda Mamaril and Chef Margarita Fores talk about the ominio dessert to participants at the sold-out Taste Workshop on Asian rices.

We would like to thank Elena Aniere, program coordinator at Slow Food International, for making this important workshop on traditional rice varieties possible. We would also like to give a special thank you to Margarita Fores, who brought her culinary expertise and charm to this endeavor and made it a truly professional presentation.

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