By Huang Shaojie
A local culinary festival in Beijing to promote healthy food and community development will let visitors take a break from the city and enjoy the pleasures of fresh eating out in the countryside, said the organizers of the event.
Scheduled for September 4 in Bohai township, Huairou district, the first Slow Food Saturday the city has seen will feature dishes with locally grown ingredients, provided by 10 restaurants from four villages in the township.
"The idea of the Slow Food event is to remind you to take time to slow down and reconnect with food," said Morgan O'Hara, one of the organizers.
The fast pace of city life and the globalized food industry has distanced people from what they eat. It is the aim of the Slow Food movement to preserve the food traditions of local communities, O'Hara told the Global Times.
"Instead of going to a supermarket and buying food from a foreign land, the event is a chance to learn about your local food producers and to know what you eat," O'Hara said.
Each one of the participating restaurants will showcase one specialty on its menu and sell it in small portions during the food festival. Visitors will be able to sample various dishes while taking part in outdoor activities like orchard walks and corn picking, said Wuyuntana, sustainability manager for The Schoolhouse, a tourism facility at Mutianyu village that is co-hosting Slow Food Saturday with Slow Food Beijing.
Wuyuntana, from Xilin Gol, Inner Mongolia, manages the organic farms of The Schoolhouse, which provides dining and lodging services.
"Food grown on the local farms is free of chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides," Wuyuntana said.
Bei Ga La Country Posthouse, from Beigou village, has chosen to promote a special pastry for the food festival, the restaurant's manager Duan Wenyin told the Global Times. The main ingredients, walnuts and chestnuts, are grown by local farmers, he said.
Duan was a village mayor secretary between 2006 and 2009, before he started his restaurant to cash in on thriving village tourism.
His restaurant employs six chefs from Beigou and nearby villages who cook local dishes.
Founded in 1989 in Italy, Slow Food is an international culinary movement to fight the world's fast food culture. Slow Food Beijing was started in January this year.