Feature: Turkey's culinary center ready for major food festival

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-15 22:48:31|Editor: ZX
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ANKARA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's undisputed culinary center Gaziantep will host from Sept. 20 to 22 an international gastronomy festival with famous chefs and activities, an event that local authorities think will boost tourism in the country.

Gaziantep, a Turkish city with a thriving food scene, is located in southeastern Turkey on the ancient Silk Road trading route, near the Syrian border.

The city, home to several civilizations of the past, is geographically situated on a crossroads of cultures between the East and the West, connecting Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the Middle East.

It has rich historical and cultural traditions which made its cuisine famous with its dozens of culinary delights, herbs and spices.

Gaziantep cuisine was added to the UNESCO's "The Creative Cities Network" cities list in 2015 and therefore constitutes according to gastronomy experts the "excellent location" to host the "Gastroantep" event.

The festival will, according to the organization committee, welcome 41 chefs from 40 countries, including world-famous Michelin-starred chefs, who will prepare their own dishes and also taste the unique cuisine of the city, with some traditional dishes reinterpreted in a modern way.

Gastronomy remains the main driving force of the local economy in the city of nearly 2 million inhabitants, 60 percent employed by the sector and nearly half of the enterprises are mainly dedicated to food, entitling Gaziantep "the City of Food" in Turkey.

Organizers of the three-day event told Xinhua that the city was preparing for the festival for nearly a year and the entire population was ready to host invitees.

They also underlined that the festival would attract tourists to the city which suffered from the seven-year-long war in neighboring Syria. Thousands of refugees have flocked to the city because of the raging conflict in their country.

The Gaziantep municipality has demonstrated a strong commitment to promote the city's cultural, historic and gastronomical heritage.

Mayor Fatma Sahin, a former cabinet member, was active in the organization of several culinary events among others in her city.

"In the next three years, we aim to host 3 million foreign tourists. Gastroantep will be the culmination of our efforts to promote our city's delights," she told reporters.

Gaziantep municipality plans to open a unique museum dedicated to pistachio, which would the first of its kind in the world, showing how it is grown, processed and used abundantly in the food industry.

The food festival will also be a good opportunity to promote another part of Gaziantep, the Zeugma Museum, the world's largest mosaic museum, where visitors can find stunningly well-preserved mosaics uncovered and saved from the Roman archeological site of Belkis-Zeugma, unfortunately now completely flooded by a dam.

Lovers of food to attend the festival will also have the chance to treat their palate with the kebab dishes of Gaziantep and also the lahmacun, a flat bread with spicy meat mince.