Barcelona, Spain, November 7, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / Catalonia was officially awarded the title of World Region of Gastronomy 2025 by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) for their commitment to work across sectors to ensure a healthy, safe and resilient food future through sustainable actions.
The award ceremony took place on 8 November 2023 in the framework of the Gastronomic Forum Barcelona, and saw the participation of Councillor for Business and Labour of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent i Ramió; Councillor for Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, David Mascort i Subiranas; and local stakeholders involved in the World Region of Gastronomy candidacy and programme, including President of the Catalan Academy of Gastronomy and Nutrition, Carles Villarubí, and Director General of Alícia Foundation, Toni Massanés.
President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD officially presented the award to the regional stakeholders and applauded “the many, many people in Catalonia that have been working for decades to ensure that Catalan cuisine, culture and culinary heritage is available and relevant in the minds, hearts and stomachs of Catalan citizens. This is undoubtedly why Catalonia is such an interesting destination for foodie travellers. Well-deserved and congratulations!”
Councillor Torrent explained that with this award “we are opening up a new scenario for Catalonia and we are positioning ourselves around the world as a reference food and wine destination, generating new economic opportunities in the territory while involving different sectors, from the primary to the restaurants, through the food industry. The World Gastronomy Region title reinforces the transformation towards a more sustainable, balanced and diversified tourism model, which we are promoting through our National Commitment for Responsible Tourism.”
Councillor Mascort emphasised that “from now on we will start working to show the world that gastronomy and agriculture are two sides of the same coin,” and highlighted that “behind the kitchens that dazzle the world, there is a farming community committed to environmental, economic and social sustainability.
“We will be ambitious and we will work to set up a programme and a legacy for Catalonia. We have a unique proposal not only because of our culinary uniqueness, but also because it reflects every corner of our territory and its people,” he concluded.
Moderated by gastronomic journalist, Carme Gasull, the event was closed by a conversation with chef of Disfrutar restaurant, Oriol Castro and livestock farmer Mònica Soler, from Masiets Perich who offered their perspectives as regional stakeholders of
Catalonia, World Region of Gastronomy 2025 manifesto
During the event, the Government of Catalonia launched a manifesto to which regional stakeholders and citizens can sign up in order to join and support the World Region of Gastronomy 2025 programme. The document includes a series of commitments such as (to name a few). promoting the heritage linked to gastronomy and the agri-food landscapes; promoting Catalan cuisine; opting for a change of model towards regenerative and quality food and wine tourism; promote the professionalization of the food sector; and encouraging the circular economy. The manifesto is accessible on the dedicated website together with a link for stakeholders to sign up.
New initiatives to position Catalonia as a benchmark for food and wine tourism
The event marked the starting point for the preparation of new initiatives that, throughout the coming year, will be organised across the region with the aim of highlighting food production, Catalan cuisine and Catalonia as a quality tourist destination. These include for example:
The International Week of the World Gastronomy Region, to take place in the main cities and countries hosting delegations of the Government of Catalonia, and which will include various activities such as promotions in shops or restaurants, wine tastings, cultural evenings, debates, food and wine experiences, chef exchanges, and many more.
Àpat Catalunya, a people’s dinner to be celebrated in an emblematic street or public space in Barcelona, featuring the most iconic dishes and recipes of Catalan gastronomy.
The Som Gastronomia Tour 2025, a series of presentations to be held in the main outbound markets of food and wine tourism in Catalonia, aimed at operators, the press and influencers, with a technological and innovative component.
Moreover, 130 unique Catalan landscapes and their gastronomic offer will be highlighted; activities will be organised to connect art, sport, culture and Catalan cuisine; the National Food Awards will be promoted; and an intense international agenda will be offered so that Catalonia’s farming, food companies and gastronomy can be presented across the globe.
Gastronomic Forum Barcelona: the perfect setting for Catalonia’s renewed commitment to sustainability
A point of reference for professionals in the hospitality and gastronomy sector, the Gastronomic Forum Barcelona 2023 focused on transformative cuisine and its role in preserving biodiversity and boosting social transformation.
Celebrated on 6-8 November at the Montjuïc venue of Fira Barcelona, the event included around 120 activities that involved over 200 chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers and other experts in gastronomy. Many of them presented their initiatives supporting the use of local products, the revival of traditional techniques, and the reduction of food waste, among other urgent challenges.
Catalonia’s path to the title
In 2016, Catalonia was among the first two regions to be awarded European Region of Gastronomy by IGCAT. During that year, over 500 stakeholders in the region committed to promote Catalan gastronomy and celebrated over 500 activities related to local products, local cuisine and the territory. Eager to deepen the work started in 2016, Catalonia presented their bid for the World Region of Gastronomy 2025 title.
After evaluating the bid book Catalunya, the European Mosaic of Gastronomy, presented on 7 February 2023, a jury of international IGCAT experts visited the region (8-12 May 2023) to meet local stakeholders and assess Catalonia’s readiness to hold the World Region of Gastronomy title.
The jury was very impressed by how the legacy from Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy 2016 has reinforced the benefits of inter-sectoral working to ensure that gastronomy, culture, food production and biodiversity have a strong focus in the region. They also appreciated the detailed action plan presented by the region including projects, events and development proposals for the title year and beyond, to ensure a legacy of the Award.
On this basis, they recommended the region for the title to the IGCAT Board, that officially approved Catalonia to be awarded World Region of Gastronomy 2025.
Thanks to this title, the Catalan Government will invest 9 million euros to support a series of new initiatives and projects with the aim to position Catalonia as worldwide food and wine reference.
The Catalonia, World Region of Gastronomy 2025 candidacy and programme have been created by a cross-sectoral consortium including stakeholders from the public, private, third and knowledge sectors. Founding stakeholders include: Directorate-General for Tourism (Ministry of Business and Labour, Government of Catalonia); Catalan Tourist Board; Directorate-General for Food Industries, Food Quality and Gastronomy (Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, Government of Catalonia); PRODECA; Catalan Academy of Gastronomy and Nutrition; Alícia Foundation; elBUlliFoundation.
About the World and European 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; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding 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.