For the year 2017, in addition to East Lombardy, other regions were nominated European Region of Gastronomy: Aarhus/Central Denmark and Riga-Gauja in Latvia. The three regions were awarded in July 2015, after they presented themselves with an in-depth candidacy that was examined by a jury of international experts.
Central Denmark, which will also be the European Capital of culture in 2017, decided to focus all its projects on the rethinking theme, a word that wants to mean innovation and change with regards to what is already present on the territory. Food and wine already have an important role in Central Denmark and they represent one of the main production activities, along with being a source of employment. The presence of these industries created numerous worries linked to mass consumption and sustainability, pushing the area of Aarhus to become a world leader in organic and sustainable products. The challenges that the territory is now facing are consolidating their food and wine culture, stimulating international cooperation, strengthening their national profile, increasing their activities especially from the touristic point of view and developing the relationship between urban areas and the countryside.
Differently from Denmark, the Gauja region, which developed around the city of Riga, wants to take advantage of this project to educate its citizens towards the consideration of food and wine as part of their culture and identity, to make them more aware of production methods and sustainable consumption. By organizing cooking classes, educational moments and implementing various activities, the Riga territory wants to promote the development of a food service culture among its inhabitants, repositioning itself as a gastronomic capital of Baltic and attracting a higher number of tourists.
2018 sees the celebration of two other areas: Galway in West Ireland and North Brabant in Holland.
The Irish region of Galway, West of Ireland, wants to give international visibility to the highest quality of food and wine offer that characterizes its territory. The fertile lands and the temperate maritime weather make the cultivation of excellent products possible while maintaining flourishing pastures, developing an agricultural industry that is strong and sustainable. Moreover, the city of Galway, around which this territory is developed, has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the country. Many chefs work in these restaurants and their contribution will be fundamental to reach the goal of promoting internationally local products, to encourage a return to traditions in an innovative way.
The North Brabant region The Region wants to take advantage of the Title to highlight the core values of innovation and hospitality. Witnessing these elements, the important recognitions: the capital city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch lives up to this reputation by having won the prize for most hospitable city in the Netherlands in the last four years; Noord Brabant was the European Entrepreneurial Region in 2015; the Brainport Region of Eindhoven was voted smartest region of the world in 2011. And food is an important link between innovation and hospitality.
In the European region of Gastronomy year the Region wants to present itself as a living lab for the worlds food production characterized by innovative research, high production, maintenance and strong governance. The agrifood companies form a complete chain, “from soil to spoon”. With a strong industrial branch that refines starting material, with the presence of primary producers of food (the farmers), and food producers and -processers, and with retailers and supermarkets that sell and products to the consumers. This combined with the hospitality what the Region offers, not only in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and other cities in the province but at literally all tables.
The two protagonist areas of the 2019 edition are South Aegean (Greece) and Sibiu (Romania).
As European Region of Gastronomy, Sibiu and South Transylvania promote healthiness and excellency of their local traditional products, like those of the local agricultural businesses- smoked meat, cheeses and stewed- to create awareness about the value of the wine and food offer featured by this region, give value to it and increasing the tourism flow in an area characterized by a natural landscape and a unique culture, thanks to a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community. Since Sibiu became the European Capital of Culture in 2007, the city did its best for the development and improvement of its own cultural lifestyle and of the touristic profile, a process that the city doesn’t want to stop, taking it one step further with the promotion of the food and wine culture, one of the main strengths and attractions of the region.
The South Aegean region wants to promote traditional gastronomy, not just through their products but also by organizing cultural and social events. The region, one of the thirteen regions in Greece, is made up of more than 50 inhabited islands, each of which has its own characteristics, a specific culture and historical context, a unique geophysical environment, a precise food and wine identity and excellent typical product: therefore, the South Aegean region is a “paradise on Earth”, something that must be promoted and discovered as European Region of Gastronomy.