A Recipe Featuring Flour from the Indigenous Peoples of Argentina

At the third annual Indigenous Peoples Forum held by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), bakers within the Slow Food network created a delicious recipe for canapés to honor the Gran Chaco wild fruits Presidium.

The Gran Chaco wild fruits Presidium was born in collaboration with the Gran Chaco Foundation and the Cooperative of Artisan Women of Gran Chaco (CO.M.AR.), made up of 1,600 women from 13 associations. Their objective is to prevent the abandonment of the territory, impoverishment of their diet and its serious consequences on their health; an increase in diabetes and obesity. Today, the consumption of traditional products is encouraged through the spreading of knowledge and through the training and exchange meetings on techniques for collecting and preserving wild fruit.

Carob, found widely in northwest regions of central Argentina, has significant value to indigenous communities. The white carob produces oblong yellow fruit, similar to bean pods. Inside, you will find very hard seeds, surrounded by a delicious, sugary, fleshy pulp. The fruit is ground, resulting in a flour that is rich in fiber and culinary potential, from bread baking to the preparation of fermented beverages. Consumption of this flour is a tradition for the original peoples of the Chaqueña region, where white carob is part of daily life for the groups of small rural producers.

The recipe is a cooperation between two great chefs. Nazareno Lovino from the Annapurna Artisan Bakery in Buenos Aires works with the carob flour and created a special recipe for the IFAD forum held in Rome on February 10-13.

Lovino aims to promote this special product that is nowadays forgotten. “The motivation to work with white carob originated from the general ignorance of the product. As a result of this ignorance and neglect, there is a danger of disappearance from the lack of demand. In addition to this, I found a very noble product to work with and a very interesting nutritional contribution.” For Nazareno, seeing his recipe made in Italy by a celebrated baker was a point of pride: “As a baker, I can say that what I like the most about the exchange was being able to share my values in the form of a recipe and by working with the best possible ingredients, taking care throughout. Knowing that in another place someone can repeat the recipe and generate a positive impact is a great joy.“

Fabrizio Franco, owner of Pane e Tempesta bakery in Rome together with Omar Abdel Fattah, accepted the challenge of preparing the recipe for the IFAD forum, where a reception was hosted by Slow Food, creating an exchange of cooperation, cooking and conviviality. Franco was excited to take on the unique project: “It was a stimulating challenge that helped bring cultures closer together. When you work with typical ingredients from a specific territory that also represent a culture, you are sensitive to much more than how they taste, you feel all the history behind the product. We do that every day by using local wheat from small mills, sustaining a healthier economy that is closely connected to its territory.”

For more information on the forum, take a look at the article we’ve written

Here’s how you can create this simple, delicious pastry. In the spirit of its creators, we recommend preparing the recipe as part of an exchange or cooperation and sharing the story behind it.

Canapés with fresh cheese – 100 pieces (4-5cm in diameter)

The base
Sablè (shortbread) dough with carob and maize 70-20-10 (wheat, carob and maize)
700 grams of type 00 wheat flour (00 is a finely ground, white flour)
200 grams of white carob flour
100 grams of maize flour
500 grams of cold butter
20 grams of sea salt
250 grams of ice water

Preparation
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter cut in cubes making sure it doesn’t warm up in the mean time.
Using two bakery spatulas (or butter knives) integrate the butter with the flour using the sablè technique (integrate without kneading) until it starts forming a sandy texture.
Once you have obtained a sandy consistency between the butter and the flour, start adding the ice water until the dough is done but still avoiding kneading it. When you have a homogenous dough, wrap it with a tight-stretched plastic wrap, put it in a cold place and let it rest at least an hour.
Take the dough from the cold and begin to roll, flouring the surface and the dough. Cut small circles with a diameter of 4-5 cm.
Bake at 180 C for 15-20 minutes, making sure they don’t get too golden.

Topping
Fresh cheese made into a soft paste
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Seasonal vegetables

Mix the cheese with salt, pepper and olive oil. Decorate with seasonal vegetables. It gives a nice look if there are colored vegetables on top.

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