Yolanda Regodón. Associate Director Communication. IE Business School
11 January 2015
Caceres, Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy 2015, offers a perfect mix of culture, history and gastronomy which will serve to further strengthen its position as an international tourist destination.
Every year eight million people come to Spain to enjoy its cuisine according to figures published by Turespaña. Gastronomy is an excellent platform for promoting tourism, helping to drive the economy and serving as a focal point for tourism. According to the “Food Tourism 2014” report, Spain heads European rankings of countries where gastronomic offerings play an important role in making it a popular tourist destination. The report is based on the opinions of 389 professionals from the tourist sectors of Spain, France, Germany, Italy and UK. Some 66% of those questioned consider the culinary experiences of people who travel to these countries to be key when deciding where they want to go. Gastronomy and tourism are a perfect match.
There are also many Spanish regions and cities that are famed for their gastronomy. Caceres is one of them, and it has begun 2015 with the focus squarely on its gastronomy from January 1 right through to the end of the year. Its offerings are suitable for all tastes, and come complete with a good dose of culture. Caceres has been named Spain’s gastronomic capital for 2015, largely as a result of the abundance and variety of its food and agriculture products, all produced locally. These are times of good forecasts and major challenges for the region.
For those who are not familiar with the title of Spain’s capital of Gastronomy, it is a scheme run by the Spanish Federation of Hostelry (FEHR) and the Spanish Federation of Tourism Journalists and Writers (FEPET). It is aimed at promoting Spanish cuisine not only in Spain but also worldwide, as one of the country’s main tourist attractions. It is a recent initiative that has been well received. The first city to hold the title was Logroño in 2012, followed by Burgos in 2013, and Vitoria in 2014. The fact that Caceres has now taken up the baton will be announced officially at the annual International Tourism Fair Fitur, set to take place from January 28 to February 1 in Madrid, although Caceres will be using the title as from January 1st.
Caceres offers a host of cultural attractions for visitors to the city, including a medieval district that was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1986, and a notable Jewish quarter. It is also home to eight food products that boast official denominations of origin: Iberian ham from Dehesa de Extremadura, La Torta cheeses from Casar, Ibores Cheese, Gata-Hurdes olive oil, La Vera paprika, Jerte Cherries, Villuercas-Inores honey, and Ribera del Guadiana wine. Additionally, it has two meat products with geographical designations of origin, Extremadura beef and Extremadura lamb (CorderEx). The city comes with a guarantee of a fusion of culture, history and gastronomy, providing the ideal backdrop for international tourism or gastronomy events.
Caceres is a great destination for seasoned and novice travelers alike, with its broad range of tourist itineraries that include extraordinary gastronomic routes, museums, and gastronomy-focused visitor centers (the paprika visitor center, which is the only one of its kind in the world, and the Jerte Valley cherries visitor center). Other attractions include the Dehesa de Extremadura Iberian ham route, with workshops on how to cut ham and photographic tours in the área, the Cheese route, which takes visitors on a journey of the day-to-day of cheesemaking, the Queen Isabel the Catholic route, or the Tajo River route, a cross-border experience featuring the cuisine of Valencia de Alcántara.
Being Spain’s capital of gastronomy has brought plenty of opportunities to Caceres and a readiness to showcase the region and make improvements. The city’s year as Gastronomy Capital of Spain will no doubt bring added impetus to trade and the hotel and restaurant sector, as well as strengthening its position as a tourist destination. It is an incentive and a great chance to get to know products in their place of origin, to enjoy the surrounding landscapes, and to find out more about local crafts and the people behind them. It is also a chance to see how raw materials are selected and treated, and traditional methods used. There is no denying that gastronomy and tourism are becoming more intertwined by the day.
For Caceres its best year yet has just begun, and it is there to be enjoyed and savored.