Wild foods in the spotlight!
5 February 2015 News
Honey, fruits and berries, mushrooms, nuts, spirits, medicinal herbs and even Iberian pork - just a few of the wild foods found in the forests of Spain - have all gained new-found recognition thanks to the hard work of PEFC Spain.
“As actors in the forest world, we must speak about the forest in a wider range of issues. For instance, from the prospective of its flavors and odors, the bio-economy and the utilization of all the resources and benefits that forests offer," said Ana Belén Noriega, Secretary General of PEFC Spain.
While wild foods may vary in form and flavor, they are all extremely important to the rural economies of the regions they originate in, and any changes in their consumption can effect local employment and livelihoods. To keep their demand strong, these products need to be able to stand out in the ever growing food sector.
With this in mind, as part of our 2013 Collaboration Fund we chose to support PEFC Spain’s Tastes of Sustainable Forests project. Through this far reaching awareness raising campaign, PEFC Spain aimed to strengthen the market for wild food products by increasing the demand for these sustainably produced foods, and in the long term to increase PEFC certification within the section.
In 2014 the work began, with PEFC Spain travelling around the country targeting the various stakeholders within the wild food sector, including chefs, producers and journalists, as well as the general public.
Starting with the chefs, PEFC Spain teamed up with the internationally renowned chef Charo Val, to carry out training sessions for future professionals in the gastronomy sector, showcasing the use of wild foods, such PEFC-certified Iberian ham. To reach an even larger audience, the project took to the airwaves, appearing on the TV program “Cocina con Sergio”, to highlight wild food products certification, as well as demonstrate how to cook some recipes made with wild food products.
The project drew to a close with the production and launch of the award winning “Tastes of Sustainable Forests” – a recipe book and awareness guide in one beautiful publication. As well as providing the reader with information about PEFC certification and the value of the brand for producers and chefs, the book showcased a collection of recipes made with wild food products, such as truffles, chestnuts, peanuts, honey, and Iberian ham.
“Tastes of Sustainable Forests” went on to receive the recognition it deserved, as it was awarded the Gourmand World Cookbook 2014 Award for Best Sustainable Food Book. Furthermore, the book was also the prize of a contest about recipes based on wild food products, held by the cooking TV Channel “Canal Cocina”.
Thanks to this project, PEFC Spain was able to raise awareness on the PEFC brand among the main stakeholders of the wild food sector, including chefs, restaurants, gourmet stores and wild food producers. Furthermore, PEFC Spain has laid the foundation for practical collaboration with some of the leading wild food products producers regarding their eventual PEFC Chain of Custody certification. While much work still remains to be done, this is an important step towards the certification of wild food products from Spain’s forests.