The Slow Food movement started in 1986 in Rome (Italy) as a reaction towards the opening of McDonald’s close to the Spanish Steps. Since then this movement has spread out throughout the world and has now members and offices in most countries. In 2001, a local chapter was founded in San Diego, and San Diego is now covered by two local chapters – Slow Food Urban San Diego and Slow Food San Diego (covering North County).
Slow Food has many different objectives as diverse as forming seed banks, promoting local and traditional food, lobbying for organic farming, encouraging ethical buying in local market places etc. to reach their mission of “creating a dramatic and lasting change in the food system…and reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.”
One important cornerstone for the Slow Food movement to reach this goal is education of customers. Slow Food provides different kinds of classes and meetings on a regular basis. So far we have visited a cheese-making class given be Peter Zien (Ale Smith Brewery founder, and also a Hobby-cheesemaker), and recently we also had a chance to participate in a Coffee Tasting and Education Class at Caffe Calabria in North Park.
The class had about 25 attendees and was run by Annalyn Lehnig – Barista trainer at Caffe Calabria. In the first part Annalyn gave a good overview of the history of coffee, different coffee regions, processing methods etc. It was interesting to see that the class was very interactive and a lot of people participated in the discussions. We also had a few home coffee roasters as attendees which could provide additional insights into this topic.
The second part of the class was a view of the roasting process with a short demonstration and a brief discussion about the purchase and storage of the fresh beans.
The last part of the class covered espresso preparation, Annalyn explained in more detail how to use grinders and espresso machines and how baristas use and optimize their machines throughout the day.
Our day ended with a fresh Vienna latte prepared by Annalyn herself.
We hope that more people will consider/join Slow Food in the future as a way to be involved/support local food businesses/restaurants but also that Slow Food will continue providing classes covering a wide spectrum of topics and hopefully also including more advanced classes which could potentially go much deeper into specific topics.
Slow Food San Diego
Slow Food Urban San Diego
3933 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104