In our #GETINSPIRED series we will be showcasing Destination applications and case studies submitted for the Innovation Award in 2017.  

The first in our series is the 3rd finalist for this year’s Innovation Award: Zurich for their FOOD ZURICH Festival.  So, what is FOOD ZURICH and what makes it so special? It is a stage for gastronomic creativity in Zurich. Swiss cuisine, innovation, young talent and sustainability represent the heart of the food festival. Every year, FOOD ZURICH celebrates the local dining culture in all its facets: Street Food, Slow Food and Fine Food. The wide range of exciting events invite everyone – families, hipsters, the eco-conscious, the food passionista, young and old – to tinker, discover and discuss their passion for food in all its varieties.   200 food manufacturers, gastronomes and retailers, and 62,000 visitors attended the first edition of the festival in 2016. The second edition took place from 7 to 17 September 2017.

FOOD ZURICH is organized as an independent and self-sustaining association based in Zurich. It is financed by sponsors, partners and distributors: the hospitality and food industry, local producers and the retail sector all join forces to work towards the same goal.   Knowing how food is a big factor in sustainability especially when it comes to its transportation, production and waste, accounting for about 1/3 of the city’s emissions. FOOD ZURICH highlights and emphasizes the local sourcing of food and showcasing its potential in reducing emissions. FOOD ZURICH effectively includes sustainability within its positioning as well as the content (curation): Swiss cuisine, innovation, young talent and sustainability. In 2017, 65 of the events were explicitly sustainable.

Together with the city of Zurich (department of environment and health protection), Slow Food Youth and a local consultant, every event organizer was actively counselled to improve the sustainability performance. The events during the festival offer to guests a variety of vegetarian, vegan and local dishes; they actively communicate a responsible and respectful consumption of food, and the servings are adjusted to reduce food waste whenever possible. Showing that sustainability and a delightful lifestyle fit together perfectly!

Every year a comprehensive topic for the festival is defined with a “City Dish”. This topic serves as an inspiration for new and creative dishes among the many participating restaurants in the city. In 2017, the topic was ‘Vörigs’ (Swiss-German word for food waste). As an example, the restaurant Kantorei included ‘Fotzelschnitte’ (a traditional Swiss dish made out of old bread) on its menu. Slow Food Youth organized a big event for the local population particularly to educate about food waste.   To make this event even more awesome, Google has joined the festival in 2017. Not as a sponsor, but it organized several events and has been part of the local food community. Its events – which took place in its office spaces – sold out immediately.   With a widely common proverb that says “food is the fastest way to the heart”, FOOD ZURICH is sure making its way to our hearts and to our agendas to make sure we visit and follow its news!