With an abundance of artisan producers, incredible natural ingredients, vibrant farmers’ markets and award-winning restaurants, Galway, West of Ireland is the first Irish region to be awarded the status of European Region of Gastronomy for 2018.
Gastronomy on the Edge
To build on the success of this award, EUREGA is a new €1.7 million INTERREG Europe project that has the potential to transform the visitor experience and develop good local food at key tourist sites in Galway, West of Ireland.
Brendan Mooney, Project Manager for the NWRA says: “The EUREGA Project is happening at the perfect time, as the Northern and Western region of Ireland is becoming world famous for its culinary excellence. With over €2 billion spent by foreign tourists in 2017 on food and drink in Ireland, together with the fact as a nation we need to focus on a healthier, more carbon neutral diet, EUREGA gives us the tools to deliver meaningful policy changes in the gastronomy sector.”
The aim is to promote the strength and variety of locally influenced cuisine in regions across Europe by
protecting and stimulating gastronomy as part of cultural heritage and also by identifying new opportunities for economic development.
JP McMahon Ambassador for the Galway and West of Ireland European Region of Gastronomy for 2018
says: “Galway has begun to embrace food as cultural gastronomy, but we have a long way to go. My vision for a gastronomic region is one where all our key tourist sites sell local food products and where international visitors can learn about local food while experiencing our cultural and history.”
EUREGA’s main objective is to have food, food habits and gastronomy included and recognised in EU, regional and national strategies and policies.
Mr. McMahon said: “Food needs to become a mandatory subject in our primary and secondary curriculum, so our children understand the cultural relevance of food as a communal experience as opposed to something that you turn to when only hungry. This can only be done with an economic dialogue with local businesses, SME’s are the life blood of the local food movement.
“My vision is that our hospitals in the region offer a gastronomic experience in terms of the health of their patients. Good food does not begin and end in fine dining restaurants. It should stretch out into our health system and heal.”