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Gastronomy Center of Europe: Spain! So, How Did It Happen?


Gastronomy Center of Europe: Spain! So, How Did It Happen?

In his latest article published on his blog, İrfan Önal discusses how Spain became the gastronomy center of Europe. The article focuses on the historical and cultural factors, local products and the importance of geographical indications that have influenced the Spanish culinary culture to achieve this success. In addition, notable success stories in the world of gastronomy, such as the world’s best restaurants being found in Spain, are also included. This article is an inspiring resource for professionals in the field of gastronomy and tourism, as well as for taste seekers and travelers interested in cultural discoveries.

İrfan Önal: Gastronomy Center of Europe: SPAIN. So, How Did It Happen?

Forget French fine dining by Seagull Buckley or new Scandinavian cuisine, recently featured in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Spain has quietly become the tastiest country in Europe When I saw the article titled, it immediately caught my attention and I read it. We could not remain unresponsive to this topic, which is in our field of interest, and I wanted to bring the issue back to the agenda by making a small reference to our previous articles…

Spain Storms the World Gastronomy Rankings: Three Restaurants in the Top 5 and Barcelona at the Top

İspanya Gastronomi Turizminde Nasıl Lider Oldu?
How Did Spain Become a Leader in Gastronomy Tourism?

This year, the top 50 restaurants in the world were announced again at a ceremony held in Las Vegas, and representatives of Spanish cuisine sat in three of the top 5 places. Moreover, The world’s number 1 restaurant is in Barcelona.

This success story is told in the article, accompanied by the thoughts of famous chefs.

İspanyol Mutfağı yüksek kaliteli ürünleri içeren kırsal ve geleneksel bir mutfaktır.
Spanish Cuisine is a rural and traditional cuisine that includes high quality products.

Spain’s Gastronomic Revolution: From French Domination to Global Success

While the French dominated the world’s ‘fine dining’ (turning food into an unforgettable experience) cuisine in the 20th century, Spanish cuisine left its mark on the era we live in. Including some of the prominent views regarding this situation here will contribute to what we will say at the end of the article…

Spanish cuisine is about produce and roots. We are not talking about a monotonous cuisine, Spanish chefs are veterans who follow trends. They turn dining into a fun experience.

The idea that stands out in another opinion is; Spanish Cuisine is a rural and traditional cuisine that includes high quality products.

A Taste Movement Starting in the 1970s: New Basque Cuisine


Of course, all this did not happen at once! The formation of “New Basque Cuisine” was initiated by a group of chefs in the 1970s. There is effort and patience behind this day. They reinforce creativity and innovation in their kitchens. Spain’s best quality olive oils, wines, cheeses, seafood, fruits and vegetables are introduced to the world. Let’s open a small parenthesis here for the city of San Sebastian and emphasize that it is shown as the number 1 city destination in Europe by almost every travel platform in 2024. Gastronomica, one of the most important gastronomy events in the world (we were the guest country in 2016), has been successfully held in this city for more than 25 years.

Big Jump in Spain Tourism: Record Number of Visitors in 2023

Let’s talk about tourism… 83 million tourists visited Spain in 2023, and the increase in tourism income they generated surpassed the visitor increase rate compared to the previous year – with the great contribution of gastronomy.

Spain: Michelin Delicacies Under 40 Euros

Michelin Guide tarafından listelenen 250 restoranda 40 Euro’nun altında fiyatla yemek yiyebilirsiniz.
You can dine for under 40 Euros at 250 restaurants listed by the Michelin Guide.

Eating in Spain is a privilege. There is a vast variety and opportunities, from ‘fine dining’ restaurants to Tapas Bars. It is possible to access these quality products at prices between 20-40 Euros per person. You can dine for under 40 Euros at 250 restaurants listed by the Michelin Guide. Whether you’re on the beaches of Cadíz or the cliffs of Galicia, local culture always goes hand in hand with food. From vibrant food markets to neighborhood tapas bars, everyday dining in Spain is a celebration of produce.

How Can Every Place Become a Gastronomy Destination? Here are the Answers

This article inspired us to revisit two issues; How can a place become a gastronomy destination? Our article regarding the question: However, there is another issue that is constantly emphasized in the content but not mentioned: Geographical indications. Related to this is the synergy of agriculture, culture and tourism.

Türkiye'de tescil rakamı son yıllarda hızla büyüdü ve 1600'e yaklaştı ancak ekonomik verilere ilişkin bir bilgi henüz yok.
The number of registrations in Turkey has grown rapidly in recent years and has reached 1600, but there is no information on economic data yet.

Branding Journey of Local Products: The Status of Geographical Indications in Turkey

Geographical indications that identify a product with its region have become very popular in our country in recent years. Yes, it is very popular! However, as with every popular development, unfortunately it is a subject that is not emphasized or understood enough. As YÜciTA (Local Products and Geographical Indications Turkey Research Network), the issue we constantly draw attention to is the connection of geographical indications with culture and geography and especially their great contribution to local development. This contribution will be fully realized when we move forward not only in registration (obtaining a geographical indication in accordance with current legislation and practices) but also in geographical indication control and management; unfortunately we are still far from that. Our geographical indications cannot reach the expected branding level and their economic returns cannot be realized. As such, Turkish Cuisine is one of its most important instruments; It moves away from its quality products and locality.

Spain’s Geographical Indication Success: 372 Registrations and 7 Billion Euro Economy

The European Union has a system that manages the phenomenon of Geographical Indications (GI) best in the world within the Intellectual Property Rights system. Spain also has 372 registrations within this system, stands out as the most registered holder in the Union after Italy and France, and according to 2022 data, it has a GI economy of 7 billion Euros. The number of registrations in Turkey has grown rapidly in recent years and has reached 1600, but there is no information on economic data yet.

Let’s remove the “Spain” in the article I mentioned for a moment and write “Türkiye” instead; We have a surplus, but we have no shortage. What do they do differently?

Spanish paella dinner on the table

Spain has been patiently taking important steps to make its tourism sustainable with the strategy it has followed since the early 90s; Spain’s process in question is large enough to exceed the volume of this article, but I must say that the success they achieved in gastronomy is not today’s work. They are interested in the process, they focus on the long term rather than the short term, they know how to avoid mistakes, they have a local approach rather than a central one and they apply design management, they insist on the common interest of the stakeholders. Spain created a development story and spread it in every field: If you have a story that accurately describes your country and its goals and you manage to tell it to the world, every citizen will benefit from it in every field, not just tourism or gastronomy.

Reshaping Turkey’s Gastronomy Strategy by Protecting Culture and Natural Resources

We can too. In order to activate the great potential of our geography and ensure that every sector benefits from it, in short, to improve the quality of life of our people, I will repeat what I stated in the article I referenced above; Let’s understand, monitor, specify, design, create, test and implement. Just like the strategy followed by Spain in its gastronomy journey. Without wasting our assets and culture…


Let’s consult your valuable business now.