Bienal da Maia
Counter Cookie Cutter Culture
In every country there are stories old and new. We often used to share some of these stories through
the food we ate, breaking certain breads and eating certain biscuits or cakes with a history on specific
dates or for certain meals. But industrialised and globalised food production has turned many traditional
narratives stereotyped or formulaic, using them as advertising tools specifically aimed towards and
adapted for selling more produce. This means local stories that don’t sell so well or don’t fit the mould
are often left behind and forgotten.
Such as a traditional biscuit from the city of Maia, in Portugal, called Biscoito Maiato, that is shaped
in the form of swords and shields, relating to tales of local patrons and warriors from the 12th century.
Disconnected from modern-day sentiments and its story, the Biscoito Maiato has fallen out of favour
with locals. Through a polycreative process, involving multiple creative stages and actors, such as a local
school class, a graphic designer from Porto and a craftsman from Lisbon, we aimed to reinvent this ancient
biscuit recipe together and give it new shapes based on their own histories and modern legends.
This project was about bringing new stories to light and translating them into edible experiences, thereby
creating new traditions from stories that are shared by today’s younger generation. We collected their
tales and help them translate them into edible shapes to be shared and savoured.
Concept & Execution
Castêlo da Maia Secondary School
Miguel de Oliveira
Goethe Institut Portugal