North Brabant, awarded European Region of Gastronomy 2018 celebrated its successful title year during a closing event held in Breda on 3 December 2018. The Grande Finale was an opportunity to highlight many achievements of an intense yearly programme and to announce a legacy plan for 2019.
During the title year, North Brabant celebrated food with two campaigns: the We Are Food campaign was built on an inspiring programme for the agrifood sector aiming to highlight new ideas for a more sustainable food production. It motivated a wide variety of participants including production businesses, schools, caring institutes, caterers and cooperatives. The ten winning ideas were granted their own promotional month, supported by a year-round campaign and a dedicated budget to implement the initiative. Preventing food waste, a student sustainable burger contest and a food truck campaign to fight Diabetes 2 were just a few of the monthly themes highlighted which have already contributed to a structural improvement of the food sector in Brabant.
The second initiative was Brabant Celebrates Food campaign focused on raising international press attention through press visits, and stimulating awareness and pride among citizens in the region. The campaign resulted in the publication of articles in more than 70 magazines, 20 million advertisements online, 110.000 web page views and 45.000 visitors on www.brabantcelebratesfood.com. Paired with over 250 food events held throughout the year, the campaign strongly contributed to the strengthening of Brabant’s image as a food destination.
It has been the first time in North Brabant that the whole food chain reached out to such a big audience both inside and outside the region, giving stakeholders the chance to combine entrepreneurship with new and exciting visitor experiences. Further insights into the results of the campaign year are included in the online magazine ‘Brabant European Region of Gastronomy 2018’ (in Dutch) that was launched at the closing event.
Vice-Governor of the Province of North-Brabant, Anne-Marie Spierings announced that in 2019 Brabant will continue to boost agrifood innovation and strengthen the link between food and leisure by means of the Food Awards Brabant (FAB): an annual programme aimed to reward local food innovators. The ceremony was also an occasion to celebrate Auberge du Bonheur as the winner of the first Brabant Hospitality Award, an initiative developed to give stage to the most hospitable locations in the region.
Future steps in North Brabant’s hospitality sector will also be guided by a research from Breda University of Applied Sciences that analysed the characteristics of hospitality in the region and suggested ways to re-invent it for the next decade. The study highlighted that informal manners, equality between host and guests, investing in long-term relationships, and the wish to contribute to the community are the most outstanding aspects of Brabant’s hospitality. Furthermore, the sector offers a lot of opportunities for operating more sustainably, building on its innovative mindset and the large variety of regional food products.
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.