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    Bella Cuisine: Culinary Service Improvement in Latgale and Vitebsk, based on Culinary Heritage Concept

    March 2013 – September 2014

    Interakcia was a project partner and coordinated the project in Belarus.

    Project budget: € 483,195; EU’s contribution – € 434,875 (90% of total).

    The project was funded by the European Union under the Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.

    Location: Latgale region (Latvia) and Vitebsk region (northern Belarus).


    The regions of Latgale (Latvia) and Vitebsk (Belarus) used to be parts of the same state; the same peoples inhabited the two regions. Not surprisingly, the traditional cuisines in these regions have many similar characteristics and open up endless opportunities for cross-border tourism.

    The Bella Cuisine project was based on the concept of culinary heritage.

    Thanks to the project, cafes, restaurants, and farmsteads from the neighboring regions of Vitebsk and Latgale can now apply new tools for marketing their traditional recipes to gourmand tourists. Moreover, Vitebsk region became the first Belarusian member of the European Culinary Heritage Network.

    These partners from border regions of Belarus and Latvia joined forces for the Bella Dvina project:
    In Belarus: city and district authorities of Polotsk, Lepel, Glubokoe, Verkhnedvinsk, and Miory district of the Vitebsk region.
    In Latvia: administrations of the Kraslava, Aglona, Dagda, Rezenke and Ludza districts of the Latgale region.

    The European Culinary Heritage Network appeared in Scandinavia: in Southeast Skåne, Sweden, and on the Danish island of Bornholm in 1995. It emphasizes local traditions, peculiarities of culinary services and the usage of local products in cooking.


    This approach is now developing in more than 30 European regions, including Polish, German, Danish, and Swedish regions around the Baltic Sea. They participate in the European Culinary Heritage Network.


    Latgale had joined the European Culinary Heritage Network in 2005. Thanks to the Bella Dvina project, Belarusian entrepreneurs received the chance to learn from the Latvian colleagues’ almost 10-year experience in promoting the national cuisine. And the European Culinary Heritage Network’s website now features information on the cuisine of the Vitebsk region, together with a cross-border culinary route around the Latgale and Vitebsk region – the Bella Cuisine route.

    Project results:
    Vitebsk region became the first Belarusian member of the European Culinary Heritage Network.
    More than 30 farmsteads, cafes and restaurants now offer traditional dishes.
    The 6-day tourist route Bella Cuisine around more than 60 Latvian and Belarusian farmsteads, cafes, and restaurants was created.
    Potential tourists and partners visited 3 travel fairs and 4 culinary festivals where the project and the culinary businesses from Latgale and Vitebsk regions were presented.
    The international Bella Cuisine center opened its doors in Kraslava. At the center, food travelers can plan their gastronomic trips around Latvia and Belarus.