Building synergies and connections through the European Region of Gastronomy network and award

The 2nd meeting of candidate European Regions of Gastronomy took place in Sant Pol de Mar, Catalonia on 19th-20th June 2014. The meeting was organised by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) which is the official administrative body for the European Region of Gastronomy award in collaboration with EUHT StPol, a leading hospitality university school.

The ten founding regions are North Brabant (Netherlands), Riga Region (Latvia), Minho (Portugal), Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur (France), Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain), Aarhus/Central Region (Denmark), Istra (Croatia), Malta and Sibiu Province (Romania). The founders will use the period from 2016 to 2019 to experiment with different models of running a European Region of Gastronomy programme. The aim is to use events to improve synergies and connections between the different stakeholders dealing with food in the region, to support educational programmes at many levels and ultimately support the region in economic, cultural and social terms.

The regions were addressed by the Mayoress of Sant Pol de Mar who added her satisfaction that IGCAT had chosen to locate in Sant Pol de Mar where culture and gastronomy merge perfectly.

Regions wishing to be nominated for the title in the future will have to convince a group of independent experts that their programme responds to a number of the following focus areas:

Feeding the Planet; Sustainability; Education; Innovation; Globalisation; Digital Agenda; Linking urban and rural; Global competitiveness; health; Diversity; Supporting SMEs.

Prof. Greg Richards, President of IGCAT, noted that gastronomy and local food cultures have now become major driving forces for regional development, innovation and creativity, and that food and gastronomy have now become major factors in attracting people to visit Europe and its regions.

Details on how to apply to join the European Region of Gastronomy network will be released in January 2015 at a formal launching of the award in Den Bosch (North Brabant Province) presided by Anton Rombouts, the Education and Culture Committee chair for the European Committee of the Regions.

However, the next meeting of partners will take place in October 2014 during the Open days in Brussels, Belgium. On this occasion there will also be a public exhibition and presentation provided for anyone interested to learn more.

More details to follow soon!