Gastronomic tourism is a direction that is actively developing in Primorye. At the last Pacific Tourism Forum, gastronomic tourism was allocated a whole section, within which the Primorye restaurateurs were able to communicate with colleagues from the Western and Far Eastern regions. Such a meeting raised a lot of questions and in a lively discussion revealed moments of misunderstanding of the “Far Eastern” and “Pacific” cuisine brand Pacific Russia Food, under the auspices of which gastronomic festivals in Primorye operate. Which ones - the newspaper "Golden Horn" found out.
The topic of gastronomic tourism has been actively developing for several years. The Department of Tourism of Primorye calls this direction one of the priorities, which is reflected in the state program "Development of tourism in the Primorsky Territory" for 2013-2021. But the main question facing restaurateurs is what is included in the concept of Far Eastern cuisine, and "what is it eaten with"?
As Tatyana ZARECHNEVA, head of the Pacific Russia Food Far Eastern cuisine development project, organizer of the Mussel Festival, Taigafest, Smelt Festival, Navaga Festival, Oyster Festival has repeatedly noted, Far Eastern cuisine is defined as a combination of seafood and taiga gifts, which is explained by just. “We cannot surprise our neighbors from the Asia-Pacific region exclusively with seafood, but at the same time the gastronomic possibilities of the taiga are unique and distinguish us from the rest of the world,” the expert emphasizes.
This definition implies a quite reasonable question that arises among the restaurateurs of the Far Eastern Federal District, who are deprived of access to the sea: are they part of the Far Eastern cuisine or not? According to Tatyana Zarechnaya, the Pacific Russia Food brand assumes the inclusion of regions with access to the Pacific Ocean, and the administrative division seriously diverges from these boundaries. “Yakutia and Buryatia are completely self-sufficient in matters of gastronomy, and whether it is worth mixing all the cuisine of the Far Eastern Federal District into one pot is a big question,” the expert noted.
And yet, in order to build a further strategy for the development of a gastronomic brand, it is necessary to decide on what kind of kitchen it is being built on. Petersburg restaurateur Alena MELNIKOVA, one of the leading PR and marketing experts, general director of the Gourmet Days festival, communications director of Lenmix, reacted rather harshly to timid attempts to attribute the national cuisine of small peoples living in Primorye to the Pacific Far Eastern cuisine.
“Russian cuisine, be it new or“ old ”, does not exist. 124 nationalities lived on the territory of our country, and all the dishes that are associated with Russian cuisine - borsch, rassolnik, dumplings, Karelian pies - belong to different peoples. And in the days of the USSR, one of the strategies was the destruction of the national cuisines of small nations in order to change the self-consciousness of the Soviet person. Therefore, when today a restaurateur is trying to talk about Russian cuisine or the national cuisine of the region, you need to approach this point very subtly. After all, Primorsky cuisine does not exist, just as there is no Petersburg cuisine, ”Alena Melnikova is sure.
The restaurateurs of Moscow and St. Petersburg emphasized that each gastronomic brand has two paths. The first - the most obvious - is to take the already "promoted" product, with which the territory is associated, and promote it. In the case of Primorye, this is the crab, which was taken over by the Zuma restaurant, creating the region's first gastronomic festival "Hold the Crab!" The Pacific Russia Food brand will have to promote less recognizable products that are associated either with the taiga or with the sea.
“When you try to make five festivals of different products, it blurs the concept. Therefore, it is important to find a mono-product that combines seafood and wild plants, or to find something completely unique that will really make Primorye stand out in the gastronomic market. But in terms of uniqueness, it is important to understand that the product must be accessible and easy to transport, and that you cannot do without the help of a good investor, ”said Alena Melnikova.
Tatyana Zarechneva noted that Primorye is experiencing certain difficulties with the supply of products for gastronomic festivals. “The first Taiga Festival was a real shock for me: practically nothing can be bought legally, and what the market offers does not always correspond to the quality. Nobody knows such products, and even professionals don't understand how to cook them. Therefore, to begin with, we will have to deal with supplies and manufacturers. The Mussel Festival has become a success story: the suppliers of this seafood, seeing the real excitement from the restaurateurs, are considering shifting the export focus to the domestic market. Therefore, at the moment we are not ready to enter the big tourist arena, because gastronomic tourism begins with a product, ”said the head of the Pacific Russia Food project for the development of Far Eastern cuisine.
One of the Primorye restaurateurs expressed disagreement: “Taiga is far-fetched in gastronomic terms, because even for the residents of Primorye, the gifts of the taiga are not an obvious concept. In truly taiga settlements, residents are very little involved in these gifts: they harvest ferns, nuts and mushrooms. Meat dishes are not available - there is no venison or red deer meat. Therefore, today this gastronomic brand has nothing to build on. Create demand, and then wait for someone to start investing in the reindeer business? But while there is no demand, there is no clear concept, on what to build a strategy? On the fern? What other wild plants do we have? ”
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