Green and Gastronomy – Slovenia has a winning combination

Slovenia has been officially recommended to be awarded the title of European Region of Gastronomy 2021 by an international jury of experts on 20 July 2018.

The announcement took place during a press conference organised at Ljubljana Castle in front of local and national media and followed the official presentation of the region’s bid book Taste Slovenia to the jury.

The evaluation panel included experts from IGCAT and awarded European Regions of Gastronomy ensuring representation of different fields: President of IGCAT and Chair of the jury, Dr. Diane Dodd, expert on urban and regional cultural and arts strategies; Blanca Cros from the Catalan Tourism Agency, expert on external tourism promotion from Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016; Alfred van Mameren from Agrifood Capital and expert in agrifood from North-Brabant, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018; and Jacinta Dalton from GMIT, expert on food development strategies from Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018.

The jury based its decision on Slovenia’s bid book, submitted on 31 May 2018, and the field visit (18-20 July 2018) aimed to assess Slovenia’s readiness to host the title in 2021. During the visit, the panel members observed presentations from leading stakeholder organisations from Agriculture, Tourism, Culture, Foreign Affairs and Education and had the chance to meet local stakeholders from public, private, third sector and academic institutions, getting a taste of the region’s food and cultural diversity.

In general, the jury was impressed with the gastronomic strengths of the region and the dedication to sustainability, and the work already undertaken in the region in this regard. The wide range of stakeholders taking part in the project was also appreciated by the experts who recommended the creation of further collaboration between different sectors.

Furthermore, the jury highlighted that the region’s bid:

  • clearly integrates the different focus areas of the European Region of Gastronomy very well into the programme;
  • presents a long-term strategy and therefore is more likely to provide a lasting legacy for the region;
  • shows a strong commitment from the regional partners to the programme;
  • involves citizens and considers educational needs of the region.

At the same time, the jury acknowledged the ethos and high quality of food production in Slovenia; and the pride and passion that every actor met showed in their appreciation of the land and their ability for self-sufficiency.

In conclusion, the jury expressed the strong belief that the title, used appropriately, will help Slovenia in its quest to become world renowned as the great green country it is, for gastronomy, sustainable tourism, food education and quality food supply.

In order for Slovenia to be awarded European Region of Gastronomy 2021, the jury recommendation needs endorsement by IGCAT Board. In case of approval, the region will officially receive the accolade during a ceremony organised at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Brussels, during the European Week of Regions and Cities.

About the European Region of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy from Europe, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness and share the long-term aim to: promote a better quality of life in European regions; highlight distinctive food cultures; educate for better health and sustainability; nurture creativity; improve tourism standards; and stimulate gastronomic innovation.


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 aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting leaders in regions to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets.

IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Food Experiences of the Year and the Food Film Festivals project.

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