Slow Fish in Action
Youth and Fish, From Bergen to Africa
Three students of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, from Norway, Ecuador and Italy, delighted the public of the Bergen Food Festival with fish soups prepared with the catch of the day, brought to them by the Terra Madre fishers of the cooperative "Fish from the Fjord".
"When Slow Food Bergen invited us to join them at their stand at the Bergen Food Festival, we decided to prepare a traditional Bergen fish soup using the local "catch of the day", which included coalfish, tusk, ling and pollack, explained 24 year old Bergen local Martin Haaskjold Inderhaug, 24, who organized the activity. "We wanted to show that Norway has many types of fish to offer, other than the farmed salmon that you unfortunately find almost everywhere, and that you can make very good traditional and simple dishes with these other fish".
Bergen was always the gateway of traditional fisheries, and the main market for the products of the fjords. However, current legislation stipulates that all fish must be landed at reception companies along the Norwegian coast (situated more than 100 km away in the case of the Hardanger Fjord). From there the catches are distributed to the different markets according to price and demand. this system discourages local fishers who want to sell their products on the local market. "We saw a real opportunity to use the food festival to generate awareness of this situation through the pleasure of tasting the actual products," said Martin.
"We cooked for two days before the event, using ingredients sourced locally from organic producers, including vegetables from the organic farm school Finnegården in Voss, and fish from Fisk frå Fjorden, a cooperative that unites the last 15 fishers of the Hardanger Fjord," says David Boada Mendoza, a 25 year old student from Ecuador who previously studied as a chef in France and spent the summer in a remote city in northern Norway to learn about traditional fermented fish preparations.
The Fisk Fra Fjorden fishers, who fish this 160km long fjord southwest of Bergen, want their fish to end up on local tables. They focus on telling the story of their craft, the fjord and demonstrating the quality of their fish. They also work on the fair price aspect, ensuring that everyone has the chance to buy good, clean, and food. They donated 50kg of fish for the event.
"Nowadays, in the center of Bergen, you mainly find fish marketed for trendy foodies and tourists, so the soup of was big success," said third team member Julia Verdorfer, from Northern Italy. "We sold 100 liters of soup and people told us it was the best fish soup they had ever tasted, and that we should teach the restaurants in town how to make a good fish soup."
The team raised around 300 euros, which they will donate to the Thousands Gardens in Africa project that Slow Food Bergen has pledged to support. They hope the money they raised may be able to go towards the garden of a fishing community. "It would be a nice way to connect fishing communities from Bergen and Africa," says Martin with a smile.
Click here to read an interview of the founder of the Fisk frå Fjorden cooperative