Culinary Trail of the Ethnic and Local Cuisine in the Danube Region (Akronim Culinary Trail)

Title of the project: Culinary Trail of the Ethnic and Local Cuisine in the Danube Region (Akronim Culinary Trail)

Project manager: Prof. dr. Borut Rončević

Action: Interreg Danube Transnational Programme: ERDF funds
Project duration: 30 months
Project start: 1.1.2024
Project end: 30.6.2026

Contact: culinary.trail@fuds.si
Web site of the project: In construction

Partnership:

  • SASS, School of Advenced Social Studies
  • SERDA, Sarajevo Economic Region Development Agency
  • REDASP, Regional Economic Development Agency for Sumadija and Pomoravlje
  • REGLO, Research Centre “Regional and Global Development
  • RAIS, City Development Agency East Sarajevo
  • RDA BKP, Regional Development Agency for Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije
  • CUAS, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences – non-profit limited liability company
  • HRC, Private Professional College HRC Culinary Academy Bulgaria,  Ltd
  • VELEGS, Polytechnic “Nikola Tesla” in Gospić
  • EDHANCE+, Edhance Plus o.p.s.
  • BCCI, Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • SEZ, STEINBEIS 2I GMBH
  • ARoTT , Romanian Association for Technology Transfer and Innovation
  • NUSTPB, National University of Science and Technology POLITEHNICA Bucharest
  • Rudolfovo – Science and Technology Centre Novo mesto
  • TUKE, Technical University of Kosice
  • “Ion Creanga” Pedagogical State University from Chisinau
  • LC Vivat Lex, Public organisation “Lawyers Club “Vivat Lex”
  • FIŠ, Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto

Project description:

The “Culinary Trail” project, supporting the Interreg Danube program with a focus on specific objective 3.3, strongly emphasises ethnic (30 ethnic groups, including Jewish heritage and highly marginalised Roma communities) and local culinary heritage, including viticulture. It also targets geographically remote and underdeveloped communities, offering significant economic opportunities for rural areas and small settlements. The project leverages culinary heritage as an opportunity to revitalise tourism, promote local economic development, create employment opportunities, and encourage frugal and social innovations. It collaborates with minorities and other marginalised groups based on factors such as age, gender, disability, etc.

Project main aim:

The project aims to improve connectivity and collaboration among tourist destinations, services, products, and stakeholders, promote short value chains, and advertise quality products from the Danube region. To achieve this, the project will:

  1. Collect, digitise, and protect the culinary, cultural heritage of 30 ethnic groups with a digital catalogue.
  2. Develop a transnational culinary trail with multiple paths covering the Danube region, providing information on ethnic and local culinary heritage and allowing a multimedia experience through a digital path component.
  3. Develop a transnational strategy for protecting and developing ethnic and local culinary heritage in the Danube region.
  4. Connect isolated and poorly visible culinary products into a common thematic transnational cultural product with a business model, brand, and franchise for the Danube region, including an annual transnational culinary festival and two prototypes (a small riverboat and a small portable food stand).
  5. Establish a joint demonstration and training centre with all the necessary infrastructure to support local and transnational training and demonstration activities.
  6. Implement three capacity-building modules (Ethnic and local culinary heritage for small businesses, beginners, and advanced sommelier skills for ethnic cuisine in the Danube region) in physical, online, and hybrid forms to train 60 participants during the project.
  7. Establish a joint innovation and policy centre for the culinary trail with 14 centres (one in each Danube country) that will connect stakeholders to promote sustainable tourism, exploit local resources and value chains, and frugal and social innovations after the project’s conclusion.
  8. Develop 33 transnational action plans covering 30 ethnic groups from all 14 Danube countries and plans for recent migrant groups and risk scenarios such as COVID-19 and war in Ukraine.

Results / Activities:

The project will significantly contribute to implementing the EUSDR by developing three solutions tested in seven pilots. It will involve 27 cross-border organisations (19 partner organisations and 8 associated strategic partners), enhancing the institutional capacity of 250 organisations through their participation in cross-border collaborative activities. Culinary Trail will actively engage various target groups in the Danube region, including NGOs, local businesses, public authorities, and academic institutions. The project will contribute to developing tourism as a significant developmental factor for remote rural communities in the Danube region, especially in current challenges such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. Noteworthy project results include a digital catalogue of culinary heritage, the development of transnational culinary trails, the establishment of a joint training centre, the development of transnational strategies, increased economic opportunities at the local level, improved skills of local stakeholders, and the strengthening of sustainable tourism. The project should also contribute to reducing social disparities, promoting innovation, and creating sustainable benefits for participating communities in the Danube region.

Project news:

During the project, we held an online meeting on February 16, 2024, where various partners from 14 countries in the Danube region introduced themselves. The meeting began with an opening address, where Prof. Dr. Borut Rončević from FUDŠ outlined the basic characteristics and goals of the project. Ms. Daniela Chiran from SEZ presented work on PA8/WG/DTC. At the same time, Ms Natalia Liholot from the Joint Secretariat Interreg Danube highlighted the importance of a good team and introduced the new visual identity of the project.

Following this, project partners presented their organisations, roles, and contributions to the project. Among them, several organisations were highlighted.

Specific objectives (SO) and activities within the three main project objectives were presented in the second part of the meeting. SO1 focuses on safeguarding culinary heritage, SO2 focuses on thriving culinary heritage, while SO3 emphasises the role of the Culinary Trail project as a platform for innovations in culinary tourism. We discussed individual activities, from developing a digital catalogue of culinary heritage to establishing an innovation centre.

The meeting continued with presentations on project management, communication, and financial reporting for the project. The importance of regular monthly meetings, online collaboration platforms, and precise financial reporting was emphasised. The meeting concluded with agreed-upon dates for future events and important reporting information.

The entire meeting reflected a high level of collaboration and commitment of all partners to the common goal – to create and establish the Culinary Trail as an innovative and sustainable tourist destination in the Danube region.