“Apart from the traditional paper form, our map can be loaded onto a phone using our mobile app for gastronomic tourists. A domain name has already been registered for the electronic version; in the future, we expect it to become a major resource, with new recipes and places continually added,” commented Ms. Klitsounova.
The first issue of the map includes a hundred of Belarus’ convenient eateries; these are mostly homesteads and cafes in the countryside offering typical dishes. The crossed spoon and fork are the symbol of the project; these are stylised under the national flag. Visitors need not worry that they will meet multiple examples of draniki (potato pancakes), the organisers of the project are keen to break this stereotype and gastronomic tourists will be offered rare dishes whose recipes have been preserved in remote corners of Belarus. Among them are dumplings with dushas (in folk recipes, ‘dusha’ stands for meat filling which is the tastiest part of the dish). In Vitebsk Region’s Lepel District, these are commonly eaten for dinner. Disna butter and Polesie garlands are also worth attention.
A culinary collection of recipes will be a pleasant addition to the gastronomic map. According to many folk recipes, village stoves are better for cooking traditional food, rather than modern baking ovens. With this in mind, it’s aimed at professionals, making a culinary tour, attending several master classes and only then attempting to cook something independently. Ms. Klitsounova believes that it’s a wonderful chance to revive Belarusian gastronomic traditions and inspire interest in them.
The project has attracted students from the Belarusian State University’s International Relations Department. They’ve conducted a poll which has sadly shown that modern young people know little of national cuisine, nor are they much interested in it. To address the issue, the students of International Tourism organised a social media event: its participants were expected to cook a Belarusian national dish and place the results of their work on the Internet, under the №gastinia hashtag. The results of students’ attempts to cook kolduny (potato pancakes stuffed with meat), komy (potato balls with pork), potato babka or cranberry drink can be seen. The authors of the gastronomic map are hopeful that the recipes will soon be used in restaurants and culinary centres will open in provinces for anyone, including children, able to attend national cuisine classes. Motol, an agro-town in Brest Region, well-known for its delicacies, is the first potential candidate for such a centre.
By Olga Pasiyak