As of the 11th of May, Coimbra in Portugal is the official European Region of Gastronomy for 2021, a distinction that it shares with Slovenia (the first time a whole country is awarded the title). In the particular case of Coimbra, the title goes not only to the city of Coimbra but to the region, composed of 19 municipalities. It is represented by an inter-municipal organization (CIM RC).
Launched in 2016 by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT), the award seeks to promote the variety of culinary and gastronomic heritage available all across Europe.
In a territory like ours, rich in diversity, with historical heritage and strong identities, the title of European Gastronomy Region represents an opportunity to interconnect all the Region’s food heritageManuel Machado, Mayor of Coimbra
The Coimbra Municipality and the CIM RC (the inter-municipal organization of the region) have also signed a protocol for the opening of the “Loja da Região” (Food Store featuring regional products) in a recently refurbished municipal building on Rua Ferreira Borges.
A trip to the Coimbra Region is journey through its gastronomy: it tells the story of the land and its people, from the sea to the mountains, from urban to rural. Every year, the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) awards the designation of European Region of Gastronomy to two different regions, recognizing the innovation and interconnection of gastronomy with culture, tourism and economy. This year, following the candidacy promoted by CIM Coimbra Region, Coimbra deserved this distinction.
There are many gastronomic attractions that this region offers for all tastes: from Chanfana to Lampantana, kid and suckling pig, trying the Lampreia, the Fish Art Xávega or the Sardines of Figueira da Foz, and not forgetting the Rice from Baixo Mondego, the cheeses DOP – Rabaçal and Serra da Estrela or the conventual sweets, among many other delicacies to “make your mouth water”. Under the motto “A Million Food Stories”, visitors are transported to the Greek and Roman cultures of the ancient Mediterranean.
Recently, a new online portal that aims to promote endogenous products in an integrated and creative way: Taste Coimbra Region. The site was created following the distinction as European Region of Gastronomy 2021 and came to further strengthen the gastronomy of the territory.
Visitors can access the various events highlighted in the Coimbra Region such as fairs, food weeks and gastronomic festivals dedicated to specific products from each municipality. They also learn about other experiences such as wine tastings and visits to wineries, museums and other spaces that show us the richness of this region and how much remains to be seen and done on each visit.
The 19 municipalities are full of secrets waiting to be revealed including monasteries and universities that take visitors to the medieval imaginary. Other unique places include the Palace Hotel in Bussaco, a fairy tale castle in the middle of an enchanted forest, or the Dinosaur Tracks, from the Jurassic period, in Figueira da Foz.
There are the beaches at Mira or Tocha, to the memorable Arte Xávega, or to Mother Nature in her splendor when hiking in the Lousã, Açor, Boa Viagem, Pampilhosa, or Bussaco Mountains. There are plenty of reasons to want to get lost in the rich history and culture of the Coimbra Region.