Saimaa 2024 supports local artisanal producers

Saimaa candidate 2024 supports local artisanal producers

19 September 2022Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy for 2024 has taken on the challenge to help its artisanal producers advance the local offer of top-quality food and craft gifts. On 15 August 2022, the region officially opened its first call for food and food-related handicraft products to select its finalists to IGCAT’s World Food Gift Challenge 2023, and will accept submissions until 16 December 2022.

In order to support local producers in this endeavour, on 16 September 2022 Saimaa region organised a guidance and training event in the framework of Mikkeli Art & Design Weekend.

The event saw the online participation of IGCAT’s International Projects Manager, Fabrizia Toccoli. Her presentation focused on how to design a product that is successful in international competitions, and provided best practice examples from the past editions of the World Food Gift Challenge.

Afterwards, Communications Specialist of Saimaa, candidate European Region of Gastronomy 2024, Eevamari Lahtinen highlighted the importance of developing an engaging storytelling to strengthen a product. She offered successful examples of sustainable marketing to get inspiration from, as well as hands-on exercises for the attending producers.

The event concluded with a tasting table of local food and crafts products, where participants had the chance to assess their own products according to the World Food Gift Challenge criteria, as well as understand the success factors of the gifts from Saimaa region that were awarded at the 2022 edition of the international competition.

About the World Food Gift Challenge

IGCAT’s World Food Gift Challenge contributes to the protection and promotion of local food and cultural diversity by instilling local pride into local traditions and acknowledging outstanding products from local culinary cultures.

The official ambassador for the project is Ana Roš, head chef and co-owner of 2-Michelin-starred restaurant Hiša Franko and 2017 World Best Female Chef. “I salute the World Food Gift Challenge focusing on gastronomy on the larger point of view. We need to support more the work of small-scale producers. The food chain is one and we should defend it in its integrity.”

Winners of past editions:

World Food Gift Challenge 2022

European Food Gift Challenge 2021

European Food Gift Challenge 2020

About the European/World Regions of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; drive environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; support balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlight and support expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practises; and contribute to community health and well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to protect and promote distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguard our planet, health, wellness and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.