There’s a Madrid joyful and gluttonous that vibrates with life in the bars of the bares, the long meals at the table and tablecloths in its restaurants, the expeditions to discover flavors from outside without even leaving its markets. That Madrid is already preparing to receive one of its most important appointments: Gastrofestival 2021. A gastronomic contest that will arrive on April 17 and that, for two weeks, will return in the form of a tribute everything that the hospitality industry has done for the city during this last year. It will be the first of the gastronomic events that the capital has hosted since the pandemic broke out and it arrives with a program impossible to be enjoyed in its entirety. News and events that forced the Covid-19 to be suspended feature an intense agenda until May 2 with 570 activities and 450 participating institutions under the slogan ‘Madrid to eat it’.
This is how it was presented this Monday, April 12, in an exceptional setting: the Royal Room of the Casa de la Panadería in the Plaza Mayor. An act, chaired by the mayor of Madrid Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, which has had the participation of prominent personalities from the world of gastronomy and tourism: Benjamin Lana, president of the Gastronomy division of Vocento and vice president of Madrid Fusión; Jose Carlos Capel, president of Madrid Fusión; Luis Suarez de Lezo, president of the Madrid Academy of Gastronomy; or Hector Coronel, Director of Tourism of the Madrid City Council, among others.
Among the main novelties of this edition, the number XII since it started in 2009, is the special look that the festival will dedicate to the flavors of Latin America. A nod to the current celebration that makes Madrid, during this year as it was the previous one, into the Ibero-American Capital of Gastronomic Culture. A cuisine that has conquered not only restaurants, but also municipal shops and markets, and that place the city as one of the best representatives of this culinary school. In the Prosperidad and Antón Martín markets there will be workshops, tastings, tastings and “many surprises” that invite you to discover.
The Countess of Pardo Bazán, in memory
About the kitchen, Emilia Pardo Bazán wrote that she was only “a very modest fan.” “More than teaching, I want to learn,” he boasted in the prologue to one of the several books he dedicated to gastronomy – ‘Ancient Spanish cuisine’ (1913) -. The countess will be this year, on the occasion of the centenary of her death, the protagonist of the section ‘Gastroculture‘. Recognized as the maximum reference of naturalism in Spain, she was the author of one of the first culinary essays in Spanish written by a woman, the aforementioned book. Special attention deserves the activity ‘Casa Emilia. Stews and stories around the fire ‘, which can be followed virtually from the
Gastrofestival website. «This particular food house will offer us a menu of the day made up of stories. Each dish will be accompanied by a text by the Galician author, dramatized by the writers María Folguera and Silvia Nanclares ”, explain those responsible.
To all these activities will be added the ones that ‘Enoculture‘ Y ‘Gastrosalud‘they will offer every day to look for the links of gastronomy with values that transcend the kitchen; well-being, beauty, sustainability or tradition, among others. The festival will also attend one of the great trends promoted by the health crisis experienced since last year: the distribution of food at home and to take away.
Tribute to the hospitality industry
This XII edition will be a supposed “tribute to the hospitality industry” that has withstood the onslaught of the Covid-19 in the city of Madrid thanks to the support that the City Council and the Community of Madrid have given to entrepreneurs. “Thank you for your determination in supporting the hospitality industry,” said Benjamin Lana. The president of the Gastronomy division of Vocento valued the evolution that Madrid has had in recent decades to make it a place of international reference in gastronomy. Especially in these tough times of the pandemic: “Before it was, but now it is undoubtedly one of the great world capitals of gastronomy.” “Having remained open when the rest of the European capitals have been closed is a great competitive advantage that is going to be maintained over time and that should be taken advantage of,” he explained comparatively against the situation of other European capitals such as Paris or London.
That spirit, with which Madrid shows its chest before the world, translates into the great event that will come after the Gastrofestival celebration: Madrid Fusion 2021. The “big brother” of this festival will take place in Ifema, between May 31 and June 2 to give back the pulse of world cuisine –in face-to-face and online format– with circular gastronomy, new business models and a customer profile that is aware of the main issues to be discussed. “It is the most important gastronomy congress in the world and it will be the first major international event in the sector,” explained Lana. And, despite the context, “it will not be a passing Madrid Fusion, but a congress that marks the lines of what we want to be in the future.” “In this we are closely accompanied by the idea and model of a gastronomic city that Madrid is defending,” he added.
Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, for his part, highlighted the support and encouragement that Vocento, sponsor of this festival, offers to the sector and thanked the work done by the division chaired by Benjamín Lana. He also assured that Gastrofestival represents everything that Madrid offers at the moment: “It is a good fusion of what this Madrid is, which at the moment has the hope of gradually recovering normality”. “If Madrid is one of the best, if not the best world capital of gastronomy, it is thanks to a sector that is constantly reinventing itself and adapting to all the demands derived from the pandemic. And yet it has never stopped seeking excellence and has known, at all times, to meet the demands in terms of security with large investments of money but that allow us to say today that the restaurants of Madrid are safe ”, he concluded.