From Linz to Toronto, Slow Food convivia are introducing sensory education to community festivals around the world, using a sensory education kit called To the Origins of Taste.
This kit provides a sensory education course, available in twelve languages, to complement the taste education activities being organized by Terra Madre communities, Slow Food convivia and people who would like to train their senses to recognize quality food. It can be used for groups of all sizes and ages, such as in the classroom or for a family who wishes to try some of the exercises with their children.
The course is made up of three parts:
VIDEO: Recounted by school children and some nice animations, the video illustrates how the sensory organs function and the exercises that can be done to train and use them with awareness.
SENSORY COURSE: Sens
ory course: six stations to begin exercising the actual senses: taste, sight, smell, touch, hearing and a final poly-sensorial station. Through hands-on games providing conveniently selected products for each encounter, participants are able to get up-close with the sensoriality of food.
TASTING: The time to experiment with the real capacity of the senses. This tasting in particular is a poly-sensorial experience based on tasting three types of apples and three types of chocolates.
To the Origins of Taste was first presented at the Terra Madre 2008 meeting, where more than 1,800 farmers, artisan producers, cooks, academics, and students completed the course. Through having a greater understanding of a taste qualities, food producers are better placed to understand their own product’s unique traits and how to improve production, find market opportunities, and thus to protect biodiversity and our quality of life.
Slow Food UK took part in the Children’s Food Festival at Northmoor Trust Farm, South Oxfordshire, with their own pavilion dedicated to an interactive educational activity called The Taste Adventure. Inspired by Slow Food’s To the Origins of Taste education program, the activity has been organized by Slow Food UK and Slow Food Oxon convivium, and is designed to help children better understand the relationship between the enjoyment of food and use of the five senses. Children pass through five ‘islands’, with various activities that explore all the sensory aspects of food. Following this, they listen to farmers and producers tell the story of their products, and put their new awareness into practice as they try their specialities.
Early this year in April, around 200 Canadian school children stepped into a sensory world to discover more about taste when they completed the interactive activity To the Origins of Taste - presented by Slow Food Toronto and Slow Food Prince Edward County - at a Maple Syrup Festival in April 2009.
Meanwhile in Austria, the Linz convivium presented the course at the city’s major festival held from May 30 to June 1, and attracted more than 200 festival goers - adults, youth and kids – to complete the three-stage activity. Following exposure at the Linz fair, a local company asked the Linz convivium to organize the activity for their 300 employees, in cooperation with the company’s canteen.
To follow the course, the kit provides:
1. "In What Sense" exercise book - This is the first instructional instrument developed by Slow Food, created for adults who want to conduct and organize sensory education activities for children or other adults.
2. Guide "To the Origins of Taste" - This guide provides the instructions and workbook to complete the various exercises proposed during the course's six sensorial stations. Animations from the movie are used to further explain the functioning of the senses. At the end of the guide solutions to the exercises are also provided.
3. DVD with the video 4. Audio tracks for the hearing sensory station 5. Audio recording for the guided tasting 6. The recipes for the solutions needed to prepare the exercises.