by Chris Brady
Photos courtesy FoodTrex & Navartur
unless stated otherwise
Gastronomy refers to the culinary culture — including local food — of a given area. And just as much as landscapes and monuments, it is a factor in our choice of travel destinations. According to a recent study by the travel insurance comparator Acieto.com, eight out of 10 foreign tourists choose Spain for its good cuisine. Among Spain’s 214 restaurants carrying Michelin Stars, four are located in Navarra, the site of FoodTrex, a recent major food festival.
From February 21st to 23rd, more than 44,000 people from all over Spain attended FoodTrex Navarra 2020, which was organized by Navartur International Tourism Fair in collaboration with the World Food Travel Association, to taste the northern region’s local cuisine in its capital of Pamplona. Held at the Baluarte Convention Center, the event broke its attendance record for the second year in a row, drawing 11% more people than it did in 2019.
Preceding FoodTrex was the International Conference of Gastronomy Tourism which took place on 20th to the 21st of February. More than 200 professionals and 30 leading experts in Gastro-Tourism from the world over attended the food travel conference for purposes of education, networking and an opportunity to discuss climate change as well as current trends in food travel. “Travelers are no longer content just to eat,” says Luis Cortés, director of FoodTrex Navarra and Navartur. “They demand an authentic eno-gastronomic experience. They want to know the history behind a recipe, its evolution down the years, to know the local culinary habits, and its typical kitchen utensils.”
Speaking of local culinary habits, Spain produces more than 50% of truffles consumed in the world, much of which comes from Navarra, particularly Tierra Estella and La Valdorba. In Navarra’s Metauten Truffle Interpretation Center Museum , they explain the origin, varieties and qualities of the black-diamond truffles, as well as the ways to find, cultivate and cook the fungi.
“There are fewer and fewer wild black truffles in Spain due to climate change,” says the Truffle Museum, “to meet the growing demand.”
If we want to continue to eat Spain’s famous truffles, then we will have to be more sustainable.
Some believe Gastro-Tourism promotes a sustainability that protects local culture. “We can only protect the local culture with sustainable tourism, linked to a kitchen of proximity and kilometer zero,” says Luis Cortés, adding that “the gastronomic tourist consumes seasonal and nearby products.” The sustainability and presence in social networks of events like FoodTreX Navarra seem to attract millennials, 63% of whom seek restaurants that are socially responsible, according to the World Food Travel Association (WFTA).
“They are the present and the future of the sector,” says Erik Wolf, WFTA executive director.
If we continue to promote sustainability, then “poco a poco” (bit by bit), we can save the precious fungi!
Featured image (Truffles!)/Rasmus Zwickson, CC BY2.0 (Overlaid FoodTrex logo supplied)
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