France has named Dijon, Lyon, Paris-Rungis and Tours as the country’s first 'Cités de la Gastronomie'.
Lyon…famous for its bistros
The announcement comes three years after the French gastronomic meal was named a world cultural treasure by UNESCO.
Chosen to highlight different aspects of France’s food heritage, the cities were selected by the Mission Française du Patrimoine et des Cultures Alimentaires (French Mission for Food Culture and Heritage, or MFPCA).
The cities will also work together on gastronomic events in France and internationally, and will unveil various related projects over the next few years. The official launch of the network is in January 2014.
Dijon will be emphasising the link between French food and the culture and traditions of wine; Paris-Rungis, already known for hosting the biggest food wholesale market in France, will be developing a 7.5ha space dedicated to the celebration of food culture.
Lyon, famous for its bistros, has long been known as a gastronomic centre, and will be emphasising the role between nutrition and health.
Tours, in the Loire Valley, is known as a national centre for research into food science and culture at its University Francois Rabelais de Tours.
It launched a Masters in the culture and history of food in 2005, and has assembled over 40 specialist professors and researchers looking into the science, economy, history and future of food.
Each city will also be working with celebrated chefs, sommeliers, food critics from around the world.
In a separate event, the city of Rennes inaugurated this month a Centre Culinaire Contemporain (Contemporary Culinary Centre) for food research – from consumer preferences to a laboratory for developing new cooking techniques.
‘There is a renewed sense of excitement in French gastronomy right now,’ Gerard Margeon, exécutive chef sommelier for Alain Ducasse‘s restaurants told Decanter.com.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux