As a candidate for the title, Slovenia has hosted a panel of experts who were thrilled with the country's gastronomy, so they will recommend to the IGCAT's management board to confer the award on Slovenia, which should be a formality.
As panel chair and IGCAT president Diane Dodd explained at today's news conference, they had decided to recommend Slovenia on the basis of the country's application, the panel's visit and the presentation and discussion.
Awarding Slovenia the title will thus be a mere formality, Dodd said at the news conference, which was held at Ljubljana Castle.
The awards ceremony will be held in Brussels on 8 October.
Panel members told the press they were thrilled with the region's gastronomic achievements, its commitment to sustainability and past activity.
They also praised the high quality of food production in Slovenia, as well as the country's respect for the environment and the ability for self-sufficiency.
According to Dodd, the panel firmly believes Slovenia will use the title well, facilitating its efforts to become a green country known in the world for gastronomy, sustainable tourism, food education and quality food supply.
https://t.co/wdH3j5M9rB Slovenia officially recommended to be awarded the title of #europeanregionofgastronomy 2021 by an international jury of experts, 20 July 2018.#IGCAT #feelslovenia @ERGASTRONOMY @SloveniaInfo @tourism_slo pic.twitter.com/B1k8WDDnoV— IGCAT (@IGCAT2) July 20, 2018
Sitting next to Dodd, Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) director Maja Pak said "we're extremely happy and proud" to get the title.
Pak believes the ERG is an extremely important opportunity to develop and promote gastronomy.
The STO aims to make Slovenia a top-quality gastronomy destination, which Pak believes will in turn enhance the quality of life here.
Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar added the award was "Slovenian tourism taking a step in the right direction".
She also stressed that the state had been giving gastronomy due attention for decades.
According to ethnologist Janez Bogataj, ambassador of Slovenia's ERG bid, "this title is not about star ratings or choosing important cooks. It means much more."
Bogataj is also the editor of the book which Slovenia had to produce as part of the candidacy, Okusiti Slovenije (Taste Slovenia).
In the book, sent to the IGCAT last month, Slovenia had to lay out its vision and goals, and list activities related to the development of gastronomy.
Sixteen partners, including the STO and several ministries, are working on Slovenia's ERG project, which is estimated at 4.3 million euro.
This year's European Regions of Gastronomy are Galway in Ireland and North Brabant in the Netherlands.