An international jury comprising of four international experts, accompanied by IGCAT’s President, Diane Dodd PhD considered the application of Sicily region for the title European Region of Gastronomy 2025. After reviewing the bid book submitted on 31 January 2023, the jury visited the region, 3-9 September 2023. The aim of the visit was to assess the region’s appropriateness and readiness to host the title in 2025. The jury will prepare a comprehensive report with recommendations to support the region’s journey.
During the visit, the jury met with more than 70 leading stakeholders and organisations from all 9 provincial administrations, including city leaders, academic institutions, and local entities concerned with the development and protection of Sicily as a gastronomic region. The jury was pleased to get to know many stakeholders from public, private, third sector and academic institutions and applauded the efforts of all involved from many sectors in the strategies and plans for the region.
The jury was impressed by how the vision for Sicily, European Region of Gastronomy 2025 has been inspired and reinforced by a sustainable approach to agriculture, with a strong grounding in protected species and traditional food production that consider nature, culture, crafts and wellness of local citizens.
In particularly, the jury recognised many great examples of good practise that other regions could learn from including:
- DOS Sicilia who have worked for many years to develop impressive consortiums of quality food producers;
- Transformation of traditional tourism offers to a sustainable tourism offer as witnessed in the hotel and garden at Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, Catania;
- AIDDA Sicilia the female-led entrepreneurial network working collaboratively for sustainable food production in Sicily;
- The work of CONFCOOPERATIVE SICILIA and especially Scialari and Consorzio Ortofrutta Sicilia because of their commitment to social enterprise;
- Corfilac for their excellent research that we hope can be shared with the Platform of Regions of Gastronomy;
- Historical and interpretation centres of excellence such as Circumetnea Railway Museum and the Chocolate Museum that deepen both local and visitor knowledge about food;
- Impressive food experiences such as those at the Oil Mill in Mirabella, Imbaccari, Agrigento pistachio production and the Valley of the Temples visit that signaled a new and smart approach to connect historical landmarks to food experiences, the resuscitation of ancient plant and animal varieties, thus leaving a legacy for future generations;
- Le Soste Di Ulisse for their leadership from gourmet chefs in sustainable activities;
- La Madia as a restaurant that is supporting urban regeneration by kickstarting sustainable tourism;
- Fisherman-led initiatives to safeguard the traditions of artisanal fishing traditions and ways of life at Selinunte;
- Storytelling through art, music, gardening, territory and wine varieties as witnessed in the Donnafugata winery;
- Historical resources available to create stories about different civilisations that have crossed Sicily, as a resource for food routes, social change and gastronomy experiences, as highlighted by Gaetano Basile, Marsala Winery, Phoenician and Iter Vitis Cultural Routes and the spectacular Isola di Mozia and Whitaker Foundation.
- The Municipality of Cefalù for the involvement of the entire City Council and several stakeholders. The City Council of Cefalù with its Mayor and Deputy Mayor, has been responsive but above all proactive in thinking of a joint project capable of involving multiple professional figures from the Cefalù area.
Finally, the jury noted the great role that the hospitality sector is playing in promoting local products and wished to thank everyone that provided incredible hospitality and generosity throughout the visit and especially:
Four Points by Sheraton Catania, Madaudo Cellars, Palmento Costanzo Winery, Corfilac, La Madia, Antica Dolceria Rizza, Donna Elvira Bean to Bar, Hotel San Giorgio in Modica, Momentum Bio Resort Selinunte, Donnafugata Winery, Villa Boscogrande, Istituto Alberghiero di Modica and Consorzio di Tutela del Cioccolato di Modica IGP.
We would like to thank each and every person we met and those not mentioned but that equally added to the wonderful impression we will take with us of Sicily:
Luca Sammartino, Councillor for Agriculture, Sicily Region
Giovanni Cucchiara, Cabinet Head, Agriculture Councillor Region of Sicily
Ignazio Mannino, member of Cabinet of Agriculture Councillor Region of Sicily
Emanuela Panke, Bid book coordinator and bid book proof reader
Vincenzo Russo, Bid book writer and editor, IULM University
Dario Cartabellotta, General Manager Agriculture Council Region of Sicily
Antonino Scivoletto, Director of Modica Chocolate PGI Consortium
Massimo Todaro, President of DOS Sicilia and Consortium for the Protection of Vastedda della Valle del Belìce PDO
Ornella Laneri, Four Points by Sheraton Catania Hotel
Iole Pavone, President AIDDA (Italian Association for women with leadership roles)
Valeria Messina, Forno Biancuccia
Maria Rosa Magnano, Tenuta Serravalle
Corrado Paternò, Boniviri
Alessia Montani, Zash
Gerardo Diana, President Consortium Arancia Rossa Di Sicilia PGI
Luciano Ventura, Confcooperative Sicilia
Salvo Leone, Consorzio Ortofrutta Sicilia
Giulia Tudisco, Scialari
Giuseppe Ignizio, Parmalat
CoRFiLaC dairy research center
Giuseppe Rizza, Antica Dolceria Rizza
Elvira Roccasalva, Donna Elvira Bean to Bar
Giuseppe Marco Serio
Giorgia Maria Clemenza
Rocco Lima PhD, GAL Elimos
Liburio Furco PhD, GAL Elimos
Maurillo Caracci, GAL Elimos
José Rallo, Donnafugata winery
Fiore Salvatore, Director, Historical Circumetnea Railway
Andrea Madaudo, Madaudo Winery
Maria Pia Madaudo, Madaudo Winery
Cristina Madaudo, Madaudo Winery
Rosario Madaudo, Madaudo Winery
Alda Fantin, Influencer and Food Journalist
Cav. Mimmo Costanzo, Owner, Palmento Costanzo Winery
Massimo Pavan, President, Consortium for the Protection of Carota Novella of Ispica PGI
Carmelo Spina, President, Consortium for the Protection of Ciliegia dell’Etna PDO
Enzo Cavallo, Director, Consortium for the Protection of Ragusano PDO
Gino Catania, President, Consortium for the Protection of Monte Etna PDO extra virgin olive oil
Giuseppe Arezzo, President, Consortium for the Protection of Monti Iblei PDO extra virgin olive oil
Salvatore Martorana, Director, Consortium for the Protection of Val di Mazara PDO extra virgin olive oil
Enrico Cimbali, President, Consortium for the Protection of Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO
Sebastiano Fortunato, President, Consortium for the Protection of Pomodoro di Pachino PGI
Pietro Valenti, President, Consortium for the Protection of Provola dei Nebrodi PDO
Domenico Di Stefano, President, Consortium for the Protection of Pesca di Leonforte PGI
Giovanni Campo, President, Progetto Natura cooperative
Salvatore Cascone, Director, Progetto Natura cooperative
Maria Monisteri, Mayor, Municipality of Modica
Nino Scivoletto, Director, Consortium of PGI Chocolate of Modica
Simone Messina, Chef, Modica
Alessandro Salvatore Ferrara, Author
Rocco Lima, GAL local Elimos
Liborio Furco, President, GAL
Maurilio Caracci, GAL
Ivo Basile, TASCA
Pamela Toti, Foundation Whitaker
Constanza Chirivino, Foundation Whitaker
Antonio Barone, Phoenicians Route
Maria Elena Duca, Cantine Florio
Salvatore Lombardo, President, Marsala Wine Route
Antonella Albigiani, Manager, Marsala Wine Route
Andrea Masi, Tour guide
Gaetano Basile, KGmultimedia
Dr. Francesco La Sala, Mayor, Municipality of San Vito Lo Capo
Marcello Orlando, Feedback – Cous Cous Festival
San Vito Lo Capo local community
Salvatore Tumminello, Mayor, Municipality of Cefalù
Rosario La Punzina, Vice-Mayor, Municipality of Cefalù
Tutto il Consiglio Comunale e la comunità di Cefalù (City Council and community of Cefalù)
Piero La Spisa, Federalberghi
Sandra Invidiata, cheese producer
Giaconia group, meat producers
Slow Food Cefalù
Giada Platania, Sicindustria
Natale Di Maria, Villa Boscogrande
Gaetano Basile, Villa Boscogrande
Davide Bruno, Director, Marine Protected Area of Ustica
Dr. Monica Morgante, Italkali Petralia Soprana
Ing. Angelo Curatolo, Italkali Petralia Soprana
Prof. Antonio Caruso, Petralia Soprana Salt Caves
Nicola Fiasconaro, Fiasconaro S.r.l.
Agata Fiasconaro, Fiasconaro S.r.l.
Fausto Fiasconaro, Fiasconaro S.r.l.
Martino Fiasconaro, Fiasconaro S.r.l.
The jury appreciated that the bid:
- integrates the six different focus areas of IGCAT;
- presents a long-term lasting legacy for the region;
- shows a strong commitment from the regional and provincial partners to sustainability and an astounding amount of quality and diverse food products;
- presents grandeur in storytelling and historical relevance for people from across the Mediterranean;
- and an incredible cooking tradition coupled with generous hospitality.
The jury agreed that the exceptional food served, the variety and quality of local products, the farm to fork way of life, culture, arts, crafts and hospitality makes Sicily’s application exceptional.
Therefore, on the basis of the written application, the presentation and visit to the region, the jury decided that Sicily region should be recommended for the title European Region of Gastronomy 2025 and pass to the final phase of the application process.
The jury will submit in the coming weeks their recommendations to the region and IGCAT Board will take a final decision based on the region’s response. Subject to the region’s response, the jury expects that IGCAT Board will approve Sicily’s title in the coming months and the jury very much hope to see preparations unfold for the region’s Award Ceremony in December 2023.
President of Sicily Region, Renato Schifani remarked: “I can only express my great joy for this recommendation, which is the fruit of a history, of a tradition but also of a commitment of our government, of the action of the Vice-President, Luca Sammartino and its administrative staff. I can assure you that Sicily will not disappoint you. We will do our part also because I believe that agriculture is the most fundamental element in the history of our land and we are strongly focused on the qualification and valorisation of our products.»
Dr. Edith Szivas, Vice-President of IGCAT and expert in sustainable tourism focussed her attention on jobs, creativity, tourism and entrepreneurship;
Jaume Gomila, representative of Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy 2022 focussed his attention on culture, citizen engagement, empowerment and educational initiatives in the region;
Jens Storli, representative of Trondheim-Trøndelag European Region of Gastronomy 2022 focussed his attention on visibility, communication, marketing, legacy and evaluation;
Ilona Sares, representative of Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy 2019 focussed her attention on environment and sustainability;
Dr. Diane Dodd accompanied the jury to ensure that all financial, governance and legal aspects will ensure a long-term legacy for the region.
About the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award
The International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) is the operative institute that oversees the management and coordination of the World and European Region of Gastronomy Award. IGCAT believes that cross-sectoral collaboration will help regions find solutions to current day challenges and thus, the Award is not only given because a region has great gastronomy but because the whole region is working together to create a more sustainable food future. IGCAT encourages not only hospitality industries to participate but everyone across the whole eco-system including public, private, NGO and academic institutions.
The first step in applying for the Award is to bring these different entities together. The next stage is to create a bid book that pulls together as many great initiatives as possible so that people within the region themselves can begin to appreciate how rich their resources are. The third stage is a jury visit that concludes with a recommendation for IGCAT Board and a report to help the region in preparing a successful journey.
Candidate and awarded 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 ultimately they contribute to community health and well-being.