Catalonia will be recognized as the World Gastronomic Region in 2025. This announcement was made by the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, and the Secretary of Food of the Department of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda, Carmel Mòdol, in a ceremony held today in the gardens of the Palau Robert in Barcelona. The event was attended by some of the most prestigious chefs of Catalan cuisine and top representatives of the agricultural, livestock, and fisheries sectors.
To further position Catalonia as a benchmark in enogastronomy, the Catalan government will allocate 9 million euros to promote new initiatives. These initiatives include the International Week of the World Gastronomy Region, held in significant cities and countries where the Catalan government has delegations. The week will feature various events such as promotions in retail outlets and restaurants, wine tastings, cultural events, debates, food and wine experiences, and chef exchanges.
The World Gastronomy Region 2025 award "will help us to enhance the value of food production, our cuisine, and our destination," said Minister Torrent. According to the head of Business and Labour, "Our culinary heritage, linked to innovation and talent, has made Catalonia the country in the world for eating and drinking."
The Secretary of Food, Carmel Mòdol, explained that "in the coming years, we will have the opportunity to demonstrate, as we have been able to do these days to the international jury that has visited us, that we have food producers and chefs of excellence. It is this amalgam that has brought us this recognition." Mòdol added, "With this title, we place even more value on our agri-food system and the pride of the country we live in, Catalonia, where food is culture."
The World Gastronomy Region is an initiative the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts, and Tourism (IGCAT) promotes. This title aims to highlight and encourage regions that actively contribute to improving the quality of life of their citizens by making the most of different food cultures, promoting education for health and sustainability, and fostering gastronomic innovation. It is a prestigious award given by an independent and international jury of experts from various fields, such as tourism, culture, hospitality, and agriculture.
An international jury voted in favor of the Catalan bid
In May, the jury visited various proposals related to food and wine tourism to experience the potential of the candidacy firsthand.
The jury appreciated, among other things, the dedication and professionalism of the people involved in the field and their commitment to constant progress. They also believe that few places can compare to Catalonia when it comes to first-class cuisine, where the fusion of flavors and exceptional raw materials create a unique gastronomic experience. Finally, they highlight that Catalonia's landscapes testify to its counties' commitment to quality, sustainability, tradition, and innovation.
The jury's members evaluating the Catalan candidacy were:
·May BrittHansen from Norway, coordinator of Trondheim-Trøndelag, the European Region of Gastronomy awarded in 2022 and project manager of Bocuse d'Or Europe 2024
- Quim Salort from Menorca, cultural product technician at the Fundació Foment del Turisme de Menorca and member of the coordinating team of Menorca, the European Region of Gastronomy, awarded in 2022
- Levan Kharatishvili from Georgia, CEO and Founder of Creative Strategies Lab and former Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of Georgia (2014-2021)
- Barbara Zmrzlikar from Slovenia, Head of the Department of Research, Development, Innovation, and Projects of the EU - Slovenian Tourism Agency and Coordinator of Slovenia, the European Region of Gastronomy awarded in 2021
The president of IGCAT, Diane Dodd, expressed her admiration for the National Commitment for Responsible Tourism, the Strategy for Enogastronomic Tourism of Catalonia 2022-27, and the Strategic Food Plan of Catalonia 2021-26. Dodd stated, "We believe these are strategic action plans to ensure the establishment of a successful world gastronomy region." She also appreciated the involvement of several interest groups in protecting Catalan food traditions and promoting unique tourist experiences.
New initiatives to position Catalonia as an enogastronomic benchmark
Thanks to this recognition and the support of the Catalan government, along with a 9 million euro allocation, new initiatives are positioning Catalonia as a major global reference in food and wine. One of these initiatives is the International Week of the World Gastronomy Region, which will occur in important cities and countries where the Catalan government has delegations. The week will feature various events such as promotions in retail outlets and restaurants, wine tastings, cultural events, debates, food and wine experiences, and chef exchanges.
Additionally, there will be the celebration of Àpat Catalunya, a mass lunch held on the streets or emblematic public spaces of Barcelona, resembling a grand festival, where Catalan gastronomy's most iconic dishes and recipes will take center stage. Furthermore, the 9th edition of the World Wine Tourism Conference of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will be held in Catalonia, and the Som Gastronomia Tour 2025 will consist of a series of presentations in the main markets for food and wine tourism in Catalonia. These presentations are aimed at operators, press, and influencers and will have a technological and innovative component.