Slow Food, the global network of local communities committed to defending biodiversity as well as traditional and sustainable methods of food production in 160 countries all over the world, is also promoting innovative ways of travelling that get people to the heart of food cultures. Increasingly, people are seeking authentic, transformative food experiences while traveling, especially those that enable deeper cultural exchange.
For this purpose, Slow Food is now offering Slow Food Experiences, available on Airbnb Experiences, providing travellers with unique insights into local food cultures and traditions. The first experiences are already online, and starting today, our members and communities will be able to run social impact experiences, that will be recommended by Slow Food, giving them a unique opportunity to promote their cause and sustain their activities.
Food and drink related activities are among the most booked Airbnb Experiences. The 45+ Slow Food Experiences now available on the platform have been created to perfectly align with Slow Food principles: the host will need to be an active member of the local Slow Food community, with each experience crafted in accordance with the Slow Food values of good, clean and fair. These experiences have the potential to change the way travellers understand food, giving them the opportunity not only to contribute to local, artisanal, and small-scale food practices, but also provide them with knowledge and experience they can take back home with them as conscious consumers. It is a unique opportunity to engage with locals and discover the authentic gastronomic identity of a territory, far from stereotypes and, above all, far from false claims of authenticity often marketed to tourists, a problem that has become increasingly pervasive with the globalization of the food system.
Slow Food Experiences are launched simultaneously with the wider Airbnb Cooking Experiences – a new category launched on the Airbnb platform earlier today, that unlocks the hidden culinary traditions of families and cooks around the world. Slow Food Experiences within the new Cooking category include ‘Walk Cook & Eat’ in the Amalfi Coast and ‘Let’s Rescue Food’ in Cartagena, Colombia.
Through Slow Food Experiences, communities now have a new tool to introduce people to its mission and attract more activists and supporters to continue working towards creating a more sustainable food system throughout the world. To change the food system, Slow Food believes that we have to start changing our habits and food choices, and this change of behaviour depends on our awareness and knowledge as individuals.
With Airbnb Slow Food Experiences, Slow Food activists, farmers, cheesemakers, herders, butchers, bakers, winegrowers, and chefs throughout the world can share their passion for good, clean and fair food and provide guests a better understanding of the history, people, and culture of the places they visit. Whether in a city or in a remote rural area, Slow Food Communities not only possess lived knowledge, but also understand the importance of conviviality in providing unique, one-of-a-kind food experiences. Hosts of Airbnb Slow Food Experiences act as storytellers and specialized guides for their local areas in the discovery of local traditions.
“I believe that this initiative can help a lot in strengthening our network even more,” says Paolo di Croce, General Secretary of Slow Food International. “By offering Slow Food Experiences on the Airbnb platform, we have an opportunity to join forces in our common goal of ensuring that travel experiences remain authentic and help travellers learn about local communities and sustainable food practices”.
Slow Food and Airbnb are working together to deliver social impact experiences – i.e. experiences hosted by non-profit organizations that connect travellers (and locals) to their cause, with all proceeds going to Slow Food to support its activities. This means that by taking Slow Food experiences people are supporting Slow Food and its network.
There are already 45 Slow Food Experiences across 4 continents to choose from, which you can select by visiting airbnb.com/slowfood
For example, Donna Simmons in the US is passionate about raising standards for farm animals, with her work focusing on the humane treatment of poultry. She has a particular interest in preserving heritage and landrace breeds of chickens. Guests will gather in her English garden overlooking the pond and wooded wetlands; while they observe the birds they’ll learn about the many breeds of chickens in Donna’s flock, their unique appearance and temperaments. Visiting the hen-house, guests will see where they roost, sleep, what they drink, eat and where the hens lay their eggs. Guests will even get to collect fresh eggs! At the end of the visit, they’ll return to the fire pit to warm up, toast some marshmallows and take in the fresh country air.
In Japan, Yasuhisa Serizawa is the representative of Slow Food Mt. Fuji and the 5th generation owner of Kanesa Katsuobusi Co., the only remaining producer of shio-katsuo (bonito fish preserved in salt), a product registered in the Slow Food Ark of Taste. Shio-katsuo is the original form of katsuobushi (fermented dried bonito), which is an essential ingredient of Japanese cuisine. Guests will visit the hio-katsuo and katsuobushi studio, where they will learn the history and the process of production, as well as how Japanese “dashi” food culture has been preserved for centuries.
In Italy, Antonio Puzzi, an expert in food anthropology, will reveal to guests the true, authentic reality of Neapolitan street food. Guests will visit the historic market of Pignasecca where they will buy products traditionally used in the preparation of pizza and taste street food in the heart of Naples. The group will then visit a Neapolitan pizzeria where they will learn the secrets and techniques of the dough, getting right into the action with a true pizzaiolo master.
These examples show that behind every place, there lies endless stories, gastronomic traditions, artisanal flavours, and time-honoured practices, preserved by women and men whose identities and cultures have been constructed over centuries. Slow Food decided to join forces with Airbnb so that travellers can discover real food cultures, where they live and breathe.