How to Connect Tourism and Local Food Producers

Total Croatia News

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On Thursday, a discussion was held at the Museum of Taste in Osijek on tourism and local food products, with an emphasis on the Istrian experiences. Slavonians welcomed their Istrian partners involved in the agriculture and tourism sectors through the organisation of events, protection and promotion of original products and dishes, and the creation of tourism products related to enogastronomy.

The discussion was attended by Ezio Pinzan, Ph.D., head of Agriculture Department of the Istrian County, Sanja Kantaruti, director of Central Istrian Tourist Board, and Mario Bratulić, Ph.D., Mayor of the Municipality of Sv. Petar u Šumi and founder of the “With Sausage to the EU” fair. The panel was moderated by Davor Šišović, a journalist with Glas Istre, a publicist and a promoter of enogastronomic events who emphasized in his introductory remarks that “tonight we are discussing food, not for subsistence, but food as one of the basic tourism identifiers, we are talking about gastronomy as an art, as a tradition. We are also talking about the policy that must ensure that all these things are not forgotten and have an active, creative and productive function.”

In addition to the experiences of Istria, the participants also discussed creating links between family farms and catering and hospitality facilities in the area of Osijek-Baranja County and further plans for linking the agriculture and tourism sectors. Since food and hospitality is one of the first associations about Slavonia, the Istrian experiences are precious in the process of creating and establishing Slavonia and Baranja as an enogastronomic destination. Along with the representatives of Istria, the panellists included Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić, the chef of the Croatian Football Federation and Osijek Hotel Tomica Đukić, the head of county Agriculture Department Silva Wendling, and Director of Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board Ivana Jurić.

The topics were the role of local and typical products in forming a tourist experience, the importance of supporting the local production sector, enogastronomy as an essential tourist product of Croatia and the expertise of Istria, the philosophy of zero kilometres “in the kitchen”, the recognizability of a destination created through tastes and smells, the importance of educating catering staff on local wine ranges and typical dishes, the protection of products such as the Istrian boškarin or black Slavonian pig, and other related topics.

Ezio Pinzan emphasised that almost twenty years ago there were just a few boškarins in the whole of Istria, who had the status of pets, and that today there is no serious family farm which does not offer meat of the Istrian cattle. The Istrian County efforts also helped turn the focus on the boškarin. He also noted that substantial progress has been made in the field of winemaking through the establishment of the Vinistra association and the eponymous event and that the county has invested heavily in the reconstruction of abandoned olive groves. “For the fourth year in a row, we are the best olive growing region in the world. Just yesterday we received a protected designation of authenticity for our extra virgin olive oil” said Pinzan and continued, “Truffles are something we are yet to exploit in our gastronomy. Istrian prosciutto is the first product that we protected with a designation of origin, and it took us fifteen years,” which shows that success will not come overnight.

Mario Bratulić, who has a doctorate on the topic of Istrian sausages and autochthonous products, pointed out that Sv. Petar u Šumi is the demographically youngest Istrian municipality, a small, but active and propulsive community, and that they wanted to create a gourmet event that would go beyond the local community. They came with this idea to the county. “As part of the fair, we enabled producers from Slavonia to come with their products. Last year, one Slavonian producer sold a full van of charcuterie products! We have established cooperation with fifteen sausage events and associations from Central Europe.”

The head of Agriculture Department of Osijek-Baranja County Silva Wendling emphasised that since 2015 the county has been co-financing service providers in catering and tourism sector who buy food from local producers and added that “when tourists come to a certain area, they want to experience this region, among other things, through taste.”

Director of Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board Ivana Jurić stressed that Slavonia combines agrotourism, wine tourism and active tourism, and added that “we are only starting to realise that we are a tourist destination, but the demand for Slavonia is on the rise.”

More Slavonia news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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