The president of Tavira Câmara is very satisfied that the Algarve's Mediterranean Diet has now been officially recognised, and its spiritual homes designated as being in Tavira.
The Mediterranean Diet encompasses various techniques and practices and the Algarve version now has been registered as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The decision was made today as the Portuguese delegation, led by the Tavira Câmara delegation who had prepared and submitted the application, waited to hear the news. Portugal now joins Greece, Spain, Italy and Morocco whose Mediterranean Diets were recognised in 2010 by UNESCO.
This is the first time that the Algarve region has had an aspect of its food culture recognised by UNESCO, and Tavira is delighted to have taken the time and effort to submit the application over two and a half years ago.
The Mediterranean diet is a food lifestyle passed down from generation to generation and covers techniques and production methods in agriculture and fishing, the way food is prepared and consumed, the festivities associated with food, food's oral traditions and artistic expression surrounding the topic.
The Grand Master of the the Algarve's gastronomes said today that it was a "huge honour" for Tavira to be recognised by UNESCO. “We have to congratulate all those involved in this application," said José Manuel Alves. This is a process "in which everyone in the Algarve wins, wins and wins."
"It is also important for Portuguese food," added Alves, stressing that one of the missions of the Algarve food movement in recent years has been "an increasing defence of regional gastronomy, and the Algarve’s food has its origins in the Mediterranean Diet."
About 800 observers from 116 countries attended the session in Baku to approve the extension of this classification to the Algarve, Cyprus and Croatia.
The Tavira mayor said there is now work to be done to publicise the new award and ensure the economic potential of the Mediterranean Diet is maximised in the tourism market.