Food and cultural uniqueness of the European Regions of Gastronomy was celebrated at the 1st European Food Gift Challenge, a competition organised by IGCAT to award local craftsmanship related to food, that took place in Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021, on 10 September.
Hosted by Savonia University of Applied Sciences, the competition gathered a total of 21 high-quality food and food-related crafts products that are locally produced and representative of the different regional gastronomies.
With a view to support and give international visibility to local producers who manufacture unique items related to the regions’ culinary traditions, the following 10 products were selected as European Food Gifts 2020:
- Willimaku gift collection (Kuopio) including spruce sprout syrup, dandelion buds “capers” and non-alcoholic sparkling drink with meadowsweet taste by Willimaku company;
- Shipping basket from Trøndelag (Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022) including a variety of local artisanal products ranging from cheeses produced in Gangstad Cheese-Factory, to marmalade and honey from cooperating companies;
- Talwimaku Christmas present by Willimaku company (Kuopio) including Mulled wine concentrate and mulled wine marmalade;
- Creamy honey with Isabella grapes by Mr.Bee, Nika Poslek s.p. (Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021);
- Organic honey by Virtalan tila farm (Kuopio);
- Vegan hazelnut butter by Farm Košec (Slovenia);
- Canned garlic pike by Haapaniemi Travel (Kuopio);
- Talla-Coques by Syf-Artesana (Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022) a pastry-cutter made of wild olive wooden tool used to cut coca (typical pastry from the island);
- Clay hot pot holder (Slovenia);
- Pastisset flower biscuit cutter earrings by Núria Deyà (Menorca).
Officially announced at the Open Ceremony of Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021 held on 11 September, winning products will receive an official certificate from IGCAT and will be given international visibility in a dedicated section on IGCAT’s website.
Due to travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19, the jury of experts for the competition included both local members from Finland, who were able to attend in person and focused on the sensorial appraisal of the products, as well as international experts from IGCAT and the Regions of Gastronomy, who evaluated the products online assessing their compliance with criteria such as sustainability of product and package, storytelling, uniqueness, innovation on tradition and connection with the region.
The jury was chaired by Jacinta Dalton (Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018) and included international members Joana Santos (Minho, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016) and Jesper Christensen (Aarhus-Central Denmark, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2017), as well as local jury members: Raisa Leinonen (Savonia University of Applied Sciences); Marko Rossi (Kalevala Spirit); Sirpa Karppi (K-Market Neulamuikku); Elena Chiksoeva (Lapland Hotel); and Sinikka Määttälä (Expert on food production education and influencer of Savonian food culture).
About the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform
Candidate and awarded World Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health 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 provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.