South Aegean and Sibiu awarded European Region of Gastronomy 2019


Jointly nominated to receive the European Region of Gastronomy  2019 award by an independent jury, Sibiu (Romania) and South Aegean  (Greece) received the 2019 title for their commitment to food and cultural diversity. A special  Ceremony  took place on 25 January 2017 at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens, Greece in front of the distinguished guests, colleagues and media.

The Master of Ceremonies was the acclaimed food journalist George Papachristos, who gave the floor to the Governor of the South Aegean, George Hatzimarkos, who welcomed everyone to the event hosted by the region.

Set against a background of moving images from the currently nine European Regions of Gastronomy (for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019), IGCAT’s President, Dr. Diane Dodd briefly illustrated the importance of the European Region of Gastronomy Award as a tool to support development in Europe's regions and build awareness of the importance of food and cultural diversity for sustainable growth.  

The South Aegean celebrity chef and European Region of Gastronomy Ambassador for the South Aegean 2019 candidature, Argyro Barbarigou then talked about South Aegean gastronomy referring to it as a treasure. She stressed the need to promote Mediterranean cuisine, which she praised for being the richest and most ancient cuisine in the world, as well as a strong ally for a healthier and longer life.

Silvia Draghi, European Commission - DG Growth was asked to Award the regions, together with IGCAT's President and the President of the jury, Blanca Cros. In her closing words, Silvia Draghi congratulated Sibiu and South Aegean for their successful bids to host the title in 2019, as well as all the regions and IGCAT for the significant work carried out so far. She claimed to be positively impressed by the collaboration efforts and knowledge-sharing systems adopted by the regions and noted the importance to Europe of gastronomy as a niche tourism sector. She concluded that the European Commission has a lot to learn from the Regions of Gastronomy initiative when it comes to cater for the needs of local populations and in facing current challenges.

Daniela Cimpean, President of the Sibiu County Council, and George Hatzimarkos delivered the respective regions’ acceptance speeches. President Cimpean referred to the European Region of Gastronomy Award as a turning point that will position Sibiu region on the tourist map as a cultural and food destination in Europe. She stressed the importance of local gastronomy that, besides representing a significant part of the regional culture, acts also as a link between its past, present and future, and its multiple cultural realities, as the title Sibiu richness and legendary tastes suggests.

Governor George Hatzimarkos claimed that the South Aegean's European Region of Gastronomy programme is the outcome of a strong collaborative effort thanks to which the region has identified effective strategies to cope with the challenges it is facing today. According to his words, the project allows to meet the real needs of local people by taking advantage of Greek creativity and provides opportunities for regional growth and reward for primary sector workers and local SMEs offering tourism services. By means of a holistic approach that involves stakeholders from all sectors and all islands, the South Aegean Taste the Seasons programme is expected to create a renewed relationship with its guests.

The event continued with an intervention of Greek Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura, who, after praising South Aegean and Sibiu for obtaining the award, identified gastronomy as a powerful competitive edge to capitalise on in order to achieve greater sustainability in tourism by extending the tourist season. She reconfirmed the Ministry of Tourism's support to the initiative, which she claimed to have great significance for Greece and its tourism industry as a whole.

A presentation followed of the two 2019 European Regions of Gastronomy programmes.  

Sibiu Richness and Legendary Tastes project was introduced by Astrid Foder, Mayor of Sibiu, andChristine Thellmann, Vice-Mayor of Medias, while an overview of South Aegean’s Taste the Seasons programme was offered by Filimon Zannetidis, Vice-Governor of South Aegean and Heidi Lazani, Head of the programme’s Executive Committee.

The Regions of Gastronomy Platform and the European Region of Gastronomy Award aim to contribute to better quality of life in European and world regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating culinary innovation.

IGCAT - International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts, and Tourism - organises the award with the support of European institutions. IGCAT is an international interdisciplinary network of experts aiming to empower and facilitate local communities to realise the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts, sustainable tourism, and other local resources.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Wassim Hallal

    Aarhus/Central Denmark Region 2017 will celebrate our widespread and innovative use of local ingredients.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Robert Palmer

    European Region of Gastronomy is a pioneering project of cultural and economic significance to all regions who participate.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Montserrat Garrido Romera

    Sant Pol de Mar is proud to share knowledge in raising the quality of culture and gastronomy offers.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Carme Ruscalleda

    Catalonia is committed to raising the quality of local cuisine and food products.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Francisco de Calheiros

    Minho IN aims to create synergies with other areas that share the same views on competitiveness and economic development.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Maurizio Zanella

    East Lombardy promotes food and wine tourism, with a particular attention to local cuisine and sustainable food production.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Dzintars Kristovskis

    Technology and cooking is so advanced that I feel the urge to go back to the roots. Riga-Gauja 2017 European Region of Gastronomy is going to be about that.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Joan Roca

    I congratulate this initiative that highlights the richness and diversity of European gastronomy, at the same time as valuing chefs for their role in ecology and sustainability.

  • AMBASSADORS

    Anton Rombouts

    North Brabant 2018 will highlight how agrifood industries are protecting food and culture diversity.

  • GALLERY

    1st Partner Meeting in North Brabant, April 2014

  • GALLERY

    2nd Partner Meeting in Sant Pol de Mar, Catalonia, June 2014

  • GALLERY

    Information Day at Brussels during the Open Day October 2014

  • GALLERY

    3rd Partner Meeting in Brussels, October 2014

  • GALLERY

    Regions bidding for the title in 2016 present to an international jury at Palacete Villa Moraes, Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo, 5 February 2015

  • GALLERY

    4th Partner Meeting in Minho, February 2015

  • GALLERY

    5th Partner Meeting Catalonia, June 2015

  • GALLERY

    Winning 2016 Regions Award Ceremony at the Pedrera, Barcelona, 2 July 2015

  • GALLERY

    Regions bidding for the title in 2017 present to an international jury at the Fundació Alicia, Catalonia, 3 July 2015

  • GALLERY

    Catalonia and Minho present their programmes for 2016 to SEDEC of the Committee of the Regions, 22 September 2015

  • GALLERY

    Winning 2017 Regions Award Ceremony at ExpoMilan, supported by DG Growth of the European Commission, 29 September 2015

  • GALLERY

    6th Partner Meeting Bergamo, 1 October 2015

  • GALLERY

    Regions present their candidature for 2018

  • GALLERY

    7th Partner Meeting in Noord-Brabant

  • GALLERY

    Winning 2018 Regions Award Ceremony in Aarhus

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