Scribbler in Seville

Eco and street-foodie weekend in Seville

BioCultura at FIBES in Seville, 26-28 February.

BioCultura was held at FIBES in Seville, 26-28 February.

"Pen gives life".

“Pen gives life” – one of the innovative products at BioCultura.

Fabulous packaging for this organic goat's cheese from Cadiz province.

Fabulous label for this organic goat’s cheese from Cadiz province.

Is it a cream? Is it a cooking oil? No - it's both! And it's made of super-healthy, delicious-smelling coconut.

Is it a cream? Is it a cooking oil? No – it’s both! And it’s made of super-healthy, delicious-smelling coconut.

 

Honey with black garlic. Infinitely better (sweet, obviously, and tangy) than it sounds.

Organic rosemary honey with fermented black garlic, from Cuenca. Infinitely better – sweet, obviously, and tangy – than it sounds.

Quinoa burger (organic, naturally). Crumbly and tricky to eat, but extremely tasty.

Quinoa burger (organic, naturally). Crumbly and tricky to eat, but extremely tasty.

Jangly things for spiritual chimes in your home.

Jangly chimes for spiritual balance in your home.

Face-painting - always a hit with the kids.

Face-painting – always a hit with the kids.

A few weekends ago we had a full-on feast of foodieness here in Seville: BioCultura fair (26-28 February), at FIBES Conference Centre, which was full of eco-innovation as well as lots of fabulous fresh organic goodies; plus the Callejeando Food Fest, on the Muelle de Nueva York, the riverside walkway near the Aquarium, with 11 food trucks, live music and a festival vibe.

We made two visits to BioCultura, a large-scale event (by Seville standards) which also takes place in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao every year; this was its inaugural edition here. Previous eco-events held in Seville were smaller and more Andalucia-focused, although still well-attended.

Here are some eco-statistics about Andalucia and Spain:

  • Spain is the top producer of organic goods in Europe
  • 50% of Spain’s organic produce comes from Andalucia (Huelva is the top province by hectares)
  • Last year organic production by hectare in Andalucia rose by 12%.
  • More than 80% of this produce is exported
  • Some of the food is processed abroad and then imported back into Spain
  • Average spend on organic produce in Europe is 200 euros per capita; in Spain, however, it is just 24 euros per capita (Andalucia is the lowest)

The conclusion is that Spain grows and produces lots of healthy organic goodies, but isn’t so interested in eating or using them, so instead they go to the UK, France and Germany. BioCultura was keen to explain to people the benefits of eating food grown naturally without chemicals. The main barriers are lack of awareness of health benefits of organic products, but also an economic barrier: this type of produce is still considerably more expensive.

Like many such events, Biocultura offered a programme of (free) children’s activities, in this case bread-making, face-painting, art and handicrafts, and plant-growing, all organised by MamaTerra. We made the most of these, with Lola only missing out on the panaderia because it was sadly cancelled: one panadero was poorly, and his compañero was, well, busy baking the bread to sell in their shop, and at the fair. Fair enough.

As always at these events, many stands had new and exciting products to discover. These were some of my favourites:

Great packaging for coconut oil-cooked popcorn.

Great packaging for coconut oil-cooked popcorn.

VitaCoco Coconut Oil – a beauty and cooking product in one. As it goes solid under 24 degrees, you can use it as a cream (oh, that heavenly smell – holidays and cake) on your face and hair; when heated for cooking, it turns into oil without releasing toxins like other oils, plus its nutritional values (antibacterial, metabolic) aren’t lost as with other oils. I’m told it works beautifully in smoothies – my planning is a tropical treat of banana, mango, pineapple and coconut. In addition, apparently coconut oil has been proved to be helpful to Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Hydrogenated water - Korean technology, bagged for Japanese customers.

Hydrogenated water – Korean technology, bagged for Japanese customers.

Flaska bottles with groovy neoprene covers - the green one was designed for them by Yogi Tea.

Flaska bottles with groovy neoprene covers – the green one was designed for them by Yogi Tea.

The cork cover - made in Spain - which I chose is on the right.

The cork cover – made in Spain – which I chose is on the right.

Flaska – a glass water bottle programmed with vibrations to restructure water. Yes, no machine or filter; you simply pour water into the bottle and the glass restores the water’s structure back to spring water. No, I don’t really understand how it works either, but it does improve the taste. We use it all the time at home now* – pour tap water in, leave it for five minutes, and it’s noticeably less bitter and more smooth. Check out this video which explains how the technology works. Great neoprene or cotton sleeve designs, including one which was a collaboration with Yogi Teas, as well as a (Spanish) cork one which I chose.

Various other water treatment products and systems at the fair included a South Korean water hydrogenator, Hydrogen; apparently treated H20 is more readily absorbed into the body, lowering cholesterol, curing psoriasis and boosting the immune system. The Japanese buy little bags of hydrogenated water for 4 euros; the machine costs over 1000 euros. My reusable bottle costs 30 euros.

Silkworm cocoons

Silkworm cocoons

Capullos de seda – silkworm cocoons to use as a beauty product for your face; apparently they have natural anti-aging properties to smooth and firm the skin, protecting it from moisture loss. (Personally, I was tickled to discover there’s another meaning for the word capullo, hitherto “idiot” in my vocabulary.) These were from a company in Alicante called Igone Natural, who also had pretty floral soaps and other paraben-free products.

LapizDaVida - pencils with seeds in.

LapizDaVida – grow a plant from a pencil (the seeds are in the top). Ingenious.

LapizDaVida is “the pencil which gives you a plant” (literally pencil gives life). With seeds cunningly deposited in the end, you use the pencil to about halfway down, plant it end-down in a pot, water it, and the end dissolves naturally, releasing the seeds which then grow into a plant – either a vegetable, herb or flower. More information here.

 

Blood oranges from Bio Valle in Palma de Rio, Cordoba.

Organic blood oranges from Bio Valle in Palma de Rio, Cordoba.

Tasting oranges from Bio Valle.

Tasting organic oranges from BioValle.

Pussycat tries some sweet lemon from Bio Valle.

Pussycat tries some sweet organic lemon from BioValle.

Organic sweet lemons, an old variety (not acid, but also without the zing), and delectable blood oranges (sharper than the normal ones, but with a distinctive berry taste, and full of antioxidants) from a small farm in the Guadalquivir valley in Palma del Rio, Cordoba, BioValle, which dates back nearly 80 years. They also produce mandarinas and grapefruit, and are constantly trying different varieties.

Ethletic fair-trade eco-sneakers.

Ethletic fair-trade eco-sneakers.

Fairtrade sustainable vegan recycled organic clothes (OK, maybe not all of those at once) from a shop in Malaga called Veganized – using non-toxic natural fabrics and plants such as tencel (made from wood pulp; apparently more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen), hemp and good old cotton. Converse-type sneakers using specially sourced rubber from Sri Lanka, cost 69 euros – a clean eco-conscience doesn’t come cheap.

Zac gives the pinhole glasses a spin.

Zac gives the pinhole glasses a spin.

Pinhole glasses – these stimulate your eyes to work harder, so that you can wear glasses less. They did work to an extent, but your vision has to adjust and that can cause headaches from the effort. I’m not sure I’d trust them for driving. An interesting idea by Vista Bona, who also make glasses for looking at screens – more details here.

Delicious goat's cheese from the mountains near Bolonia.

Delicious goat’s cheese from the Cadiz mountains.

Organic goat’s cheese – El Cabrero de Bolonia was from the mountains near the gorgeous Costa de la Luz beach town in Cadiz province. It is made from payoya goats, matured in poplar wood, and rolled in ash. More here.

Zac tries out one of the instruments.

Zac tries out one of the Ritual Sounds instruments.

Storm tubes - just some wood and a spring, but the noise they make is something else.

Storm tubes – just a wooden tube and a spring, but the noise they make is something else.

An unexpected bonus was a stall with musical instruments, from shamanic drums to rainsticks, didgeridoos to xylophones, Tibetan prayer bowls to kalimbas (finger pianos), and windchimes of every size. A sign asking people not to try out the instruments was blatantly ignored by everyone – too tempting to blow, tap and shake. As Lola waited her turn for face-painting, Zac and I checked out the magical sticks, bowls and whistles on offer next door at Ritual Sound. The deep, resonant sounds of the drums played by Chema reverberated beautifully around the exhibition hall, like a soothing aural balm for weary visitors (or perhaps that was just me). We took home a storm tube, a simple gadget which makes a remarkably tormentuous noise.

Lola with her handiwork from the art activity.

Lola with her handiwork from the art workshop.

In total 13,00 people attended the first BioCultura in Seville. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the fair was how many of the companies with stands showing their innovative products had been started relatively recently – just two or three years ago in lots of cases. While a few were larger international businesses, a great number were Spain’s new breed of entrepreneurs, who have successfully raised the money to put their eco-friendly idea or product into action and are building up their markets. In the current economic climate, this is something to be admired.

 

CAllejeando Food Fest - on the Muelle de Nueva York, by the Pabellon de Argentina.

Callejeando Food Fest – on the Muelle de Nueva York, by the Pabellon de Argentina.

Fabulous vegan cupcakes from La Vieja Fabrica.

Fabulous vegan cupcakes from La Vieja Fabrica.

Japanese food, I won-call it sushi, at Callejeando Food Festival.

Japanese food (I won’t call it sushi) at Callejeando.

Our second foodie event was Callejeando Food Fest – 11 food trucks by the river, on 26-29 February. This was the second of these events – the first was in November, when unfortunately it rained so we didn’t go. This time, the weather was great, the waterfront setting delightful, the ambience excellent – but the food was disappointing.

We tried the sushi, which was battered and deep-fried (I should have guessed it was overpriced and underwhelming by the lack of a queue, when all the other food trucks had 50 people waiting). We tried the Tex-Mex – mini-tacos with a dull vegetable filling, and nachos with inedible cheese sauce. A pregnant friend tried a burger, which turned out to be half-cooked. The saving grace was La Vieja Fabrica, the jam company, which had delicious vegan cupcakes. And my friend’s art activities for the kids were also a massive hit.

Nadia drawing in the sun.

Nadia drawing in the sun.

The kids loved colouring in her pictures.

The kids loved colouring in her pictures.

Colourful sea-themed image.

Colourful sea-themed image.

Nadia Slienger is a freelance artist who drew wonderful pictures for the children to colour in together, and even produced individual images to order.

With people sitting on the grassy bank in the sun, eating their street food, the live music contributed to the family festival atmosphere. What we liked: the art, the cakes. What we didn’t like: the queues, most of the food.

*Disclosure: I was given a Flaska which I use at home – all my family have noticed the difference in taste of our tap water once it has been treated in the Flaska. It wasn’t so, I’d tell you.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Eco and street-foodie weekend in Seville

    1. fionafloreswatson Post author

      Sorry about that, I’ve changed the link from their website to their Facebook page.

  1. Mary

    Some of those products sound interesting: I’m especially drawn to the Vita Coco,- there’s nothing like killing several birds with one stone. By the way, “capullo” has another meaning, but I’m far too polite to explain it here.

    1. fionafloreswatson Post author

      I know, it’s a genius idea. Isn’t capullo “bloody fool”? Or is it stronger?

  2. Joanne Waage

    You must have spent a lot of time at the event! I only went on Sunday late morning and that was not enough time for this well organised event Hope it is an annual event.
    It was great to see so many people there – I hope all the exhibitors did well.

  3. Seychellesmama

    What a great weekend, I’d love an event like that to come here!! The flaska sounds incredible what a great product! Our tap water here is disgusting so we buy bottled (great big 20l ones!) having something like that here would be very useful, especially for out and about….saves throwing away plastic bottles too!

    I’m most jealous about the goats cheese though, that’s one of the things I miss the most here!! I’ll be getting my fill this summer when we take a trip back to the uk!

    Really enjoyed this post thanks so much for sharing with #myexpatfamily

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