Andorra on track to become the world capital of high-mountain cuisine
This is what Andorra Taste is all about, as the first International High-Mountain Gastronomy Event from 14 to 18 September, bringing together one hundred professional experts from mountain environments all over the world to single out high-altitude ecosystems as the key components of nature and identity based on the concepts and values which now rule world gastronomy: authenticity, sustainability, territory and local produce.
Five days to debate, argue and build a gastronomic view of identity, sustainability and projection of mountainous territories as natural wealth-generating environments. This is what Andorra Taste is all about, as the first International High-Mountain Gastronomy Event from 14 to 18 September, bringing together one hundred professional experts from mountain environments all over the world to single out high-altitude ecosystems as the key components of nature and identity based on the concepts and values which now rule world gastronomy: authenticity, sustainability, territory and local produce. An event organised by Vocento Gastronomía – GSR group and Andorra Turisme, which also seeks to showcase Andorra's gastronomy, its autochthonous products, gastronomic influence, and its culinary relations with France and Spain.
Andorra Taste was presented in the town of Escaldes-Engordany, the venue for the event and also its sponsor, with Jordi Torres, the Andorra Government's Tourism Minister; Betim Budzaku, CEO of Andorra Turisme; Rosa Gili, "cónsul" of Escaldes-Engordany; and Benjamín Lana, head of Vocento's Gastronomy division. Andorra Taste is, according to minister Torres, “Andorra's focus on gastronomy which showcases our traditions, brings us closer to the people, and is yet another reason for visits and satisfaction of our tourists”. The tourist factor which, as Betim Budzaku pointed out, is crucial, because "gastronomy means trending, it gives us longer stays and brings in top-quality tourism”. The head of Vocento's Gastronomy division homed in on the event's leitmotiv, “to experience Andorra's culinary tradition and take it forward to the future, along with the concepts of sustainability, proximity and territory, albeit with the special feature of high-mountain cuisine, the cuisine of territories in complex environmental scenarios”. A range of factors, as pointed out by Rosa Gili, "cónsul" of Escaldes-Engordany, which make Andorra Taste “a countrywide project”.
Slovenian chef Ana Roš, declared the world's best female chef in 2017, Danes Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen, who gave up a comfortable life in the city of Copenhagen for a remote section of the virgin Swedish forest Hytebrik to create their Stedsans in the Woods project, a gastronomy tourism complex right next to nature, or the Spanish chefs Nacho Manzano, Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, Fina Puigdevall, Óscar García, Diego Herrero or Albert Boronat are also on the list of speakers, along with an important representation of Andorran chefs and prominent Michelin-starred chefs who also have restaurants in the Principality, such as Francis Paniego, Nandu Jubany or Oriol Rovira.
This year's guest territory is the Andes Mountains range, one of the most important high mountain ecosystems in the world, with the presence of Andean chefs Rodolfo Guzmán (Chile), Samuel Ortega (Ecuador) and Aníbal Criollo (Colombia).
This first round of Andorra Taste will also serve to honour the professional trajectory of one of the leading lights of the history of gastronomy, French chef Michel Bras (Rest. Bras** Laguiole, France), who will travel to Andorra to collect the award. A chef who changed the direction of contemporary cuisine from a tiny corner in the centre of France, using a small number of different ingredients in his recipes, with local herbs picked barely a few hours beforehand, abolishing creams and sauces to create clean, minimalist, sensitive, rigorous cooking, with the utmost respect for the seasonality of products and close ties to local roots.
The event will also feature an extensive agenda of leisure activities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including a special programme for children.