Details of A Taste of Slow Festival at Abbotsford Convent

Working out which restaurants in Italy are the dreaded “tourist trap” and which the “real thing” is a source of great anxiety for travellers. I read somewhere that a very sure sign of a good place is one of these little stickers in the window. As a methodology, it worked perfectly for me when I was in Italy in June. The Slow Food people (based at the Convent) have released the following information by way of a press release.  Check out their website too.

“A Taste of Slow – Australia 2006 will culminate in a weekend at the Abbotsford Convent on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September. For two delicious days the heritage listed site will be buzzing with Slow Food experiences.

Immerse yourself in the world of Slow Food with highlights including a Slow Market Place with producers from around Australia showcasing seasonal produce and boutique wines.Sample some of the finest quality teas from China and India in the Tea Room and become an expert in the leaf in the 90 minute workshops ($25 per person & $20 for Slow Food Members) running both days.

Relax with friends in the microbrewery Beer Garden and purchase from a range of Victoria’s best brews.

The Rare Breeds Trust of Australia can help you rediscover the flavour of endangered domestic farm livestock. Find out why these breeds are rare and what you can do to ensure their continuity.

Sweet tooths will love the Honey Room. Apiarists will share a sting or two on the ins and outs of honey. Taste, compare and learn about the history, the medicinal benefits, culinary versatility and what makes the best honey.

Did you know that foods can become extinct? Bureaucracy, environmental
degradation and ‘fast food spin’ mean some of today’s most loved foods are fast disappearing. Come and taste them and vote for your favourites in the Ark of Taste room.

Mini-foodies can participate in a sensory food experience and learn about the amazing smells and textures of food in the kids room or head down to the Collingwood Childrens Farm to feed the animals, help with the farm chores and even have a go at milking a cow.

Cooking demonstrations will run continuously across the weekend with chefs including Tobie Puttock (Fifteen, Melbourne), David Pugh (Restaurant Two, Queensland) and International guest chef, Fergus Henderson, of the legendary St. John restaurant in London, sharing their knowledge.

If you’re hungry for knowledge, head along to the series of Spoken Word sessions. Listen to and participate in debates on hot topics facing the food industry today including international trends in Slow Food and the health properties of raw milk.

Expand your wine knowledge in the Wine Library and match your favourite drop with a selection of quality cheeses available for purchase from the Cheese Room including mini workshops with experts from Richmond Hill Café & Larder and the Wine and Cheese Providore.

Indulge in delicious food in the traditional Slow Food Canteen with special lunch menus prepared by chefs including Frank Camorra (MoVida, Melbourne), Jimmy Shu (Hanuman, Northern Territory), David Pugh (Restaurant Two, Queensland) and Matt
McConnell (Bar Lourinha, Melbourne).

Gather by candlelight and join the food community for the Official Slow Food Victoria dinner: The Beast, the Whole Beast and Nothing but the Beast (Saturday 9 September).

Tickets for the Abbotsford Convent weekend cost $12 ($10 for Slow Food Members) and include entry to the Convent, the Collingwood Children’s Farm and the Collingwood Farmers Market. Tickets can be purchased at the gate. Children under
16 years of age are free.”

This is what they say about Ark of Taste:

“Like Attenborough in the undergrowth, Cousteau in the deep, Slow Food Victoria is launching its very own exploration into the nether regions of local gastronomy. Its mission seeks to ask
all Victorians to help us discover, document and celebrate our important foods and defining traditions that may be under threat of extinction by the forces by social change or
environmental degradation.

From the bowls club to the country showgrounds, around the camp-fire to backyard bottlings, there are everyday and extraordinary foods that could threatened by health laws, social
change, commercial and environmental pressures. This is a call to the home cooks and professionals alike to put forward Victoria’s suggestions for the Slow Food Australia Ark of

Slow Food Victoria is asking every Victorian to help identify what important foods of our heritage need saving. Slow Food Victoria is asking people to think about a food they consider
may be in danger of disappearing then alerting them by calling the number or sending an email to address below. An application form will be sent out and successful applicants will be registered for the Slow Food Ark of Taste.

The Ark of Taste aims to rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors. It is a metaphorical recipient of excellent gastronomic products that are threatened by industrial standardization, hygiene laws, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage. To date, only four Australian products have been identified; Leatherwood and Kangaroo Island honeys, Bull Boar Sausages and Bunya Bunya Nuts.

People interested in nominating a food should call the Slow Food Victoria Office on (03) 9416 2099 and an application form will be sent out. They can also email

Victoria’s initial list of candidates will be compiled by August, and selected candidates will be on show at the Abbotsford Convent weekend during A Taste of Slow, to be held from 28
August – 10 September 2006.”

Thanks to Laurie Poon from Flickr for the photo.

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2 Replies to “Details of A Taste of Slow Festival at Abbotsford Convent”

  1. I get really concerned about the ongoing availability of biodiverse foods. I can’t even import heritage tomato seeds from the Digger’s Club into Tassie. While I celebrate our 26 types of apples, and 17 types of potatos, supermarkets only sell “brushed” and “washed”.
    Even indy stores can’t/won’t get these varietals in,probably because no one yet wants to pay a premium.
    Rant over; nice blog BTW

  2. Hello Slow Food Organizers – Abbotsford Convent weekend, Collingwood.

    I attended the slow food event on Saturday 7 September at Collingwood as a visitor and purchased an exhibitors food product. This was taken home and consumed around 4.00 pm the next day, and was followed in two hours by substantial food poisoning. The vomitting passed in about five hours but you should be aware of the cause to prevent it in future, and you may have received similar complaints that require follow up. I very rarely get sick and this was a bit of a shock. In either case, please contact me for details. I have retained the remainder of the product in the fridge if it requires testing.

    Robyn Wawn
    Phone work 03 8847 3000 or 0411 555 644

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