The jury will prepare a comprehensive report with recommendations to support the region’s journey.
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.
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.
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 and Villa Boscogrande.
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 regionshould 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.
- 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.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.