In tandem with the honor bestowed the Riga-Gauja Region – the title of ‘’European Gastonomy Region 2017”, Chef Dzintars Kristovskis from the restaurant ‘’Valmiermuižas vēstniecība Rīgā”, has been appointed official Ambassador. Dzintars has been a part of the profession for eleven years, marking the last four as the most fruitful. During this period, he has diligently delved into what specifically the wilderness of Latvia has to offer food-wise – the creation of a ‘pure regional cuisine’. This encompasses all that grows and is edible in forests, game and local recipe beverages that can all be considered legitimate for a feast (or for inclusion on a restaurant’s menu). Here the chef is focused on pure, natural, organic fare and ingredients; maximum flavor effect with minimal combinations.
Dz. Kristovskis was selected Ambassador because his philosophy fully coincides with the European Gastronomy Region concept for 2017 – ‘’Wild at palate”. As the master of herbs and spices points out, he spends multiple hours in wooded areas, fields and meadows gathering and ‘taste-testing’ uncharted flora, unique only to Latvia, to in turn be served in corresponding style in restaurants. Such flora as goose-foot, ground- elder, nettles and lady’s mantle are just some of what can be found on Dzintars’ menu.
Dz. Kristovskis explains:“ Technology and cooking is so advanced that I feel the urge to go back to the roots. The concept devised by Riga-Gauja Region is a distinct reflection of this – products and ingredients that our people have gathered, savored, featured in meals for hundreds of years – straight from our forests, meadows, streams and lakes.”
THE EUROPEAN GASTRONOMY REGION
The Riga-Gauja Region’s leading partner is the Riga Tourism Development Bureau, but its partner in cooperation is the tourism cluster at Gauja National Park, Sigulda Region Council, Valmiera City government, Cēsis Regional government. The Latvian region has been bestowed the title of European Gastronomy Region 2017, accenting natural wonders and the gastronomic heritage of the specific area. This will result in a long list of special events and activities next year. Therefore, the concept of Wild at palate (Ar dabu šķīvī – latv.) has been created withthe objective – popularizing those products and ingredients that are readily available in forests, fields and rivers just outside our windows. This project’s focus is promoting gastronomic tourism and to provide publicity for Gauja National Park as a desired destination. In turn, the project touches upon education, the correlation of the rural and municipal, healthy, organic food in our diets, local cuisine, dining traditions, catering and hosting, business ventures thereof in gastronomy – all that will be undertaken by the project partners. The ultimate goal is improving quality of life in Europe’s regions, preserving local food preparation and dining traditions, promoting the quality and value of the homegrown – the old and the new; and, of course, making the region attractive to tourists.