Follow that Snail
Matt Golinski unearths the ‘snails’ in our backyard as Australia’s first Snail of Approval program spreads.
Customer: Is the cheese local?
Waiter: Yes sir, we bought it from the local supermarket.
In recent years, the dining public’s interest in the provenance of the food they eat has led to many chefs and restaurants claiming that they ‘only use the freshest locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients’.
Sadly, and far too often, without any substance or integrity.
So how can food consumers know that the restaurants they eat at are truly committed to supporting their local farmers, cutting down their food miles, and helping the local economy?
In 2017, after a trip to Torino in Italy to attend the biennial Slow Food conference ‘Terra Madre’, Slow Food Noosa committee members Rod and Karen Lees together with Cooloola Berries owners Jason and Kim Lewis decided to establish a system for the Noosa region, based on similar programs started by Slow Food groups in Italy, Bali and the United States.
Through a strict screening process involving a thorough and verified questionnaire, and a face-to-face interview by Slow Food Noosa committee members, local businesses, whether they are producers, farmers, food artisans, chefs, restaurants or food providers have the opportunity to prove that they meet the criteria of being committed to the Slow Food philosophy of producing ‘good, clean and fair’ food.
If they pass the test, they become a ‘Snail of Approval’ recipient, meaning they are permitted to display the Slow Food logo on their menus, market stalls, websites or entrance to their establishments to let customers know that they are supporting a business that is serious about making the world of food a better place.
Despite being run by Slow Food Noosa, the program embraces businesses from Tin Can Bay to Caloundra with a growing number of Sunshine Coast businesses embracing the chance to promote their authentic commitment to producing fresh, seasonal and fair food.
Despite the interruptions of COVID, the local food industry is moving forward with more than 50 businesses receiving the Snail of Approval including 33 producers and 19 businesses in the food industry including chefs, restaurants, accommodation outlets, caterers and even Kin Kin State School with its award-winning school kitchen garden and Kookaburra Kafe.
In a region which is full of forward-thinking farmers, chefs hungry to get their hands on the best possible produce, and most importantly, consumers who understand how important it is to shop locally, you can expect to see that little snail giving the ‘tentacles up’ to many more recipients over the coming years.
To learn more about the ways Slow Food Noosa is helping the local food community through their events, a full list of the Snail of Approval recipients, details on how to apply and details on the school kitchen garden project, visit www.slowfoodnoosa.com