Enhancing local food heritage in the Regions of Gastronomy

Best practices to promote local small producers and food heritage were the focus of the European Region of Gastronomy Platform field visit to Coimbra Region, held in the framework of the 23rd European Region of Gastronomy Platform meeting.

Hosted by CIM Coimbra Region on 29 November 2021, representatives from the European Region of Gastronomy Platform had the chance to learn first-hand about the work of local businesses that are developing unique and differentiating food products in Coimbra Region, awarded European Region of Gastronomy 2021-22 by IGCAT.

In A Pousadinha bakery, Platform members discovered the century-old tradition of Tentugal’s conventual sweets and reflected on the need for the region to capitalise on its unique food heritage to attract visitors to the area. They were welcomed by the municipality of Montemor-o-Velho represented by City ​​Councillor Décio Matias, Head of Cabinet Nuno Gonçalves, and Célia Craveiro.

At Messias wine cellar in Mealhada, the Platform had the opportunity to learn about the centrality of wine-making in the region’s gastronomic offer and to taste local products accompanied by President of the Intermunicipal Community of Coimbra Region, Emílio Torrão and Executive Secretary, Jorge Brito; Mayor of Mealhada, António Jorge Franco; City Councilor, Filomena Pinheiro and Dora Matos from the municipality of Mealhada.

A discussion around the urgency of attracting the younger generations back to agriculture and farming emerged during the visit to Vumba organic farm in São Martinho da Cortiça (Arganil). Thanks to Vumba’s owner Patrick Dias da Cunha and Vumba’s young farmer, Vera Vilares, the Platform had the chance to find out about organic farming and artisanal goat and sheep cheese making.

Joined by IGCAT expert and Director of the Coimbra School of Hospitality and Tourism, José Luís Marques, the Platform finally visited the restaurant Cordel Maneirista in Coimbra, producer of Coimbra’s Clarissas Pudding (2nd prize at the European Food Gift Challenge 2021) and retailer of local food products. There, food heritage researcher, Paula Frade presented the Centro de Investigação, Cultura e Tradição (Centre of Research, Culture and Tradition), a non-profit association created to promote local small producers in the municipality of Oliveira do Hospital.

Thanks to the excellent programme organised by Project Manager at CIM Coimbra Region, Elsa Marinho, the field visit stimulated a dialogue on some of the common challenges among the European Regions of Gastronomy such as ensuring continuity of local traditions and products, by engaging young people in agriculture, farming and fishing; as well as giving them visibility, through the development of creative visitor experiences.

About the European and World Regions of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded European and World 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 European and the World Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European and World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the European Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers and the Food Film Menu.