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RCE CREIAS-Oeste and RCE Porto Metropolitan Hold 'Acorn, Forest and Food' Event

RCE CREIAS-Oeste and RCE Porto Metropolitan recently cooperated with the Municipality of Arouca and Arouca Geopark Association (organisers of the Arouca Chestnut Festival) to hold an event called 'Acorn, Forest and Food' during the Festival, on 28 October, 2018. This event was also attended by Slow Food Porto and Quercus.

The event included an interpreted visit, tasting, conference and a geofood lunch. The main objective was to raise awareness of the importance of forest products as a tool for resilience to major fire catastrophes (such as those that impacted Portugal in 2017) and other effects of climate change and food.

The chestnut is a fruit of the chestnut forest, very resilient to the fire, that still keeps the region's gastronomic traditions, especially in its production area, that is of north of Tagus river and in the microclimate of the Alto Alentejo in S. Mamede Mountain. An example of this is the many events alluding to it, all over the country. Higher consumption of this product is still desirable.

Concurrently, the acorn, a fruit of the Quercus species such as oaks, cork oak and holm oak, although consumed from time immemorial all over the country, nowadays is almost a forgotten food. There is still a residual tradition in their consumption on the south of the Tagus river, coinciding with the main natural distribution area of ​​holm oak, whose acorns are generally sweeter.

In order to rescue our natural or native forest, dominated by Quercus, it is urgent to value its products, relearning the processes of use, preparation and consumption and promoting the innovations that, slowly, seem to be emerging.

With these ideas in mind, the activity began with a small route in the Arouca town to observe oaks and cork trees, with the interpretative comments of the guide - Alexandra Azevedo and some researchers present. A tasting was also prepared that included wild fruits, especially acorn bread.

The conference ended with reflection, with participants sharing the actions that are being implemented for the recovery of the forest, good eating habits and memories around food. Finally, an excellent meal was prepared and made exclusively with locally produced products and ingredients, with the addition of acorn bread, coffee and biscuits.

Geofood is a project of the Municipality of Arouca, in partnership with AGA - Arouca Geopark Association, which aims to integrate food and territory, tourism and health, sustainability and flavour, while bringing the consumer, customer and tourist closer to nature, local products, culture and their origins. 

For more information about the event, please contact: Alexandra Azevedo (RCE CREIAS-Oeste) (Photo credits: RCE CREIAS-Oeste).