Canelo Pepper in The Ark of Taste
Motivated by the search for local products and a “Km0 Cuisine” proposed by the international “Slow Food” movement, we set out to turn our natural impact one more time by inhabiting the ecosystem in which we live and the conservation of what surrounds us.
Precisely because what surrounds us makes our identity.
And that’s how we came across the Canelo among several other small great inhabitants of our Andean Patagonian Forest, which is a world conservation priority.
Canelo or Foye (Drimys winteri) is an evergreen tree to shrub that only grows in the Patagonian Forests.
Canelo has a very high ancestral cultural value in the culture of the native peoples of the region, the Mapuches. For this culture it is special (almost divine) and is placed in the center of the sacred places where ceremonies are performed, called “rehues”.
In turn, their leaders (lonkos) use a canelo stick as a symbol of their authority in times of peace and that is why they were given the name of “ngen foye” or “owners of canelo.”
In this ancestral culture, the Canelo represents the contact with the “Ngen-mawida”, the interaction between the people and the nature spirits of the native forest.
And this idea of “Ngen-mawida” is what inspired us Las Balsas Cuisine. The spirits of nature that surround us, wild and unique in the world, are fixed on the dishes that we propose as a unique seal, a natural imprint.
The Ark of Taste
It is a project of the Slow Food International movement for the conservation and promotion of good practices in world cuisine.
“The Ark travels the world collecting small quality productions belonging to cultures, history and traditions throughout the planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and sausages, etc.”
Under this motto and as practitioners of the Km0 Cuisine philosophy that Slow Food proposes, it seemed like a good idea for us to join this biblical concept of “proposing a product to upload to the Ark”.
But it is not only the “Canelo” product that we upload. We also propose to go up with the Canelo, the spirit of the forest of the Patagonian Andean Forest that inhabits it and all its ancestral cultural baggage that it carries, as well as the fair and careful way of harvesting.
This “Canelo pepper” proposal seeks to highlight a natural and wild product from our native forest, collected in an artisanal way and on a very small scale, which is part of the original ancestral culture and is valued through Slow Food cuisine.
Conceptually, we propose to strengthen the conservation of our native Patagonian forests by valuing a flagship species through the kitchen in a hotel that is a benchmark in regenerative tourism and in the art of hospitality.
“Nature conservation only happens when we value it and feel part of it”
Our initiative is in a previous process of strengthening the roots, creating a favorable environment and achieving quality gastronomic proposals at the level of the best kitchens in the world. To then start the path of product nomination in The Ark of Taste. And as an additional contribution, in connection with Ethnobotany specialists from our region.
About Slow Food
Slow Food is a global network of local communities founded in 1989 to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and the spread of fast food culture. Since then, Slow Food has grown into a global movement that involves millions of people in more than 160 countries and works so that we can all have access to good, clean and fair food.
About The Ark of Taste
The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting small quality productions belonging to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and sausages. The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products and draw attention to the risk that they will disappear in a few generations.