Gastronomy is one of the most authentic expressions of the cultural richness of Colombia, Colombia’s envoy to Turkey said Thursday.

During an address to the online conference, “Colombia: The New Destination for Gastronomic Tourism,” in cooperation with the Colombian Embassy in Turkey and Bilkent University in Ankara, Julio Anibal Riano invited gastronomy lovers to visit Colombia that has “quite mad landscapes and cultural manifestations.”

He said Colombia has become an attractive gastronomic destination, as well as Turkey.

Veronica Socarras, a member of a non-governmental organization that promotes Colombian gastronomy and tourism, said: “Food tourism is a type of tourism, where people want to get to know the country through its food, through its cuisine.”

“It is an immersion to the local culture by visiting markets, tasting typical food, eating what locals do,” she said. “It is about knowing the culture, recipes, everything about the local food.”

Socarras said it has positive effects on people. “It revitalizes local economies and contributes to the image of the country.”

She explained different types of tourists in terms of the main characteristics they have in common.

Emphasizing that her group started the journey in food tourism by thinking about the fact that people need to eat wherever they go to stay alive.

Food tourism “is a cultural expression that brings everything together, revitalizes local communities, while also it generates a greater connection with the culture and the people of the country,” said Socarras. “The gastronomic experience is as important as visiting a museum, enjoying music or admiring the architecture of a destination.”

Why Colombia?

Asked why people should visit Colombia, Socarras said because it is “the second most biodiverse country in the world, along with having a diverse range of affordable tourist attractions, and gastronomy.”

“Colombian gastronomy is a cultural expression as colorful as its people and its traditions, festivities and landscape,” she said of the South American country with a population of almost 50 million.

Restaurants are listed among the best across Latin America, she said, and Colombia also has “talented local chefs that are changing the restaurant scene in the country.”

After naming a few internationally famous restaurants in Colombia, Socarras said the country has all climates and benefits from the diversity in the products it uses in food.

She said it has more than 400 types of fruits. “Some people talk about 2,000 varieties of fruit all year long.”

Socarras also underlined national dishes, the importance of coffee, literature and other gastronomical and cultural riches that Colombia has and invited all to come, visit, see and taste everything first-hand.

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