Turkey aims to boost gastronomy tourism: Minister

In a bid to boost gastronomy tourism, Turkey is extending efforts to popularize its cuisine and local delicacies, bring awareness about culinary traditions and attract food enthusiasts worldwide, the country’s culture and tourism minister has said in a gastronomy event.

“We want to bring Turkish and world cuisines together,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said in the fourth Pearl Awards, affiliated with the Pearl Gastronomy Guide, an annual guide presenting local Turkish restaurants and venues.

At a ceremony held in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, dozens of local taste spots were awarded “pearls.”

The Pearl Gastronomy Guide committee awarded six venues – Maça Kızı, Mikla, Neolokal, Od Urla, TURK Fatih Tutak and Sunset with five pearls this year. Some 75 restaurants bagged four pearls.

TURK Fatih Tutak drew attention by winning five pearls while entering the guide for the first time.

“The ministry is actualizing several projects to promote Turkish cuisine to the world,” Ersoy said. “We will show to those going to London, Paris, or New York for fine dining that Turkey will be an important route for them too.”

He also named “Istanbul, Bodrum, İzmir and Çeşme” as nominees for Turkey’s gastronomy cities.

A movie promoting Istanbul with gastronomy has been aired in some 125 countries worldwide, the minister said, adding a “Turkish Cuisine Week” will be conducted between May 21 and 27 this year.

The annual Pearl Gastronomy Guide lists restaurants presenting local and global delicacies in Turkey for the last four years.

This year’s guide included around 594 restaurants and 453 eating spots across the country.

The first three guides have listed venues in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the western province of İzmir, the southern province of Antalya, the northwestern province of Bursa and the world-renowned tourism hot spot Bodrum.

The southeastern province of Gaziantep, which recently entered UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, has also been added to the guide’s 2022 edition.

“We worked with 300 volunteer inspectors who are food and beverage experts. They dined and evaluated restaurants in the last 18 months. They are the real heroes,” Müge Akgün, the project’s coordinator, said in her speech.

“This will be a guide to all food and beverage aficionados throughout the year,” she noted.

Ece Aksoy, a female chef and business manager, and Teoman Hünal, a food and beverage columnist, received honor awards in the ceremony for their contributions to the local catering sector.


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