Gastronomy was, with sports tourism, to be one of the Balearic big themes at the World Travel Market, and so President Armengol and the tourism minister, Biel Barceló, took part in a presentation of Balearic gastronomy to the specialist British media and food distributors. The aims of this were to get Balearic products better known in the UK (with the potential to increase sales in the UK) and to show what the Balearic Islands offer as a destination for gastronomy.
With the collaboration of the Majorca Sobrassada Regulatory Council and the boards for the designations of origin, Queso Mahón-Menorca (Minorcan cheese) and Pla i Llevant (Majorcan wines), four highly regarded chefs provided tasters at the Spanish restaurant Ibérica Canary Wharf. These were: Juan Porcel of the Restaurante Oliu in Andratx and the ambassador for sobrassada; Elisabeth Julienne, the ambassador chef for the Minorcan cheese; and Spanish chefs Nacho Manzano (three Michelin stars) and César García, both from Ibérica Restaurants.
The team of chefs prepared tapas with Balearic products, such as sobrassada and cheese from Mahon, all washed down with Pla i Llevant wines. Barceló said that “the commitment to local products fits perfectly with the new model of tourism that this government wishes to implement.” It is a model that has benefits for everyone: visitors, because they can enjoy quality food from the islands, and producers who can widen their sales to restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, visitors will be able to take these products home with them or be able to buy them in their own country and so relive gastronomic experiences they have had while on holiday in the Balearics.
While there is a good deal of emphasis being placed on gastronomy by the Balearic tourism authorities, Catalonia is doing likewise. Indeed, Catalonia is doing more. At the fair in London, the director of the Catalan Tourism Agency, Xavier Espasa, announced that that 2016 will be Catalonia’s year of gastronomy and wine tourism. And to promote this, three Michelin-starred chefs from the Costa Brava have been on hand to offer dinner to representatives of UK tour operators.