Murmansk To Promote Arctic Gastronomy Trade and Tourism

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The Russian Arctic capital city of Murmansk, close to the borders with Finland and Norway in Northern Europe, has laid out plans to develop as a gastronomic centre promoting Arctic foods.  Regional Governor Andrei Chibis said at the ‘Accessible Arctic’ forum this week that “We want to offer appropriate economic incentives to promote Arctic cuisine at restaurants in our regions and in other regions. Tourism is an important sector of the economy. We have launched the Arctic tourism and the Arctic cuisine project. What tourists normally expect are emotions and, of course, tasty food. These two aspects make tourism economically effective and interesting and thus favor formation of this sector.”

One of the tasks of the Murmansk Region in this project, he continued, is to make Arctic food available not only in the capital, but throughout the region.

Murmansk’s Deputy Governor Olga Kuznetsova stressed that many dishes of Arctic cuisine, included in the Gastronomic Map of Russia project and presented at the forum, had been made by local producers from local products. “The restaurants under this project cook dishes only from local products, thus, in addition to developing tourism, the project supports local producers, including small businesses,” she said.

The Gastronomic Map of Russia project’s leader Ekaterina Shapovalova welcomed the forum participants underscoring that Arctic cuisine is a separate area, which is not just products, but first of all people – the carriers of the local culture, those, who know how to make the unique product and how to present it. Shapovalova is an initiator and co-founder of the system to certify best companies working in cooking and tourism.

The Murmansk Region’s seven cooking and tourism businesses have received the project’s certificates. The winners – hotels, restaurants and cafes – have placed the Arctic cuisine certificates and QR codes at their entrances. The Murmansk Arctic menu includes dishes of cod, halibut, crab, scallop, sea urchin, venison, kelp and Northern wild berries – cowberries, blueberries and cloudberries.

Sergei Biksaleyev, owner of the Teriberka Shore tourist complex, says the Gastronomic Map of Russia, in which the Murmansk Region actively participates, will attract many tourists in case of effective product promotion.

“I am certain it will attract many tourists. I wish I could take a trip somewhere, say to Yakutia. I think that promotion of local Arctic cuisine is the right choice, and the Gastronomic Map of Russia has proven its success. Here, in Teriberka, we have clients who have been here a few times already – they know our products, they order certain dishes, I may single out some of them: scallop, crab, sea urchins, and of course the unique cod – our flagship product,” he said.

The company offers only fresh sea products, as the tourist complex is located right on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. “We never freeze anything, we have everything fresh, because we are located on the ocean shore. We have our own divers and our own fishermen. We hire ships. We get everything with our own hands. Everything that is there in the Barents Sea, in the ocean – everything that swims, flies, crawls on the sea bottom – is on our tables,” he added.

Ekaterina and Georgy Mun, owners of the In One’s Element restaurant in Murmansk have diversified their business and opened the FriendChef catering delivery service specializing in Arctic cuisine. “Our delivery menu includes the Pearl Barley special course, venison burger, salad with cod liver, halibut in cheese sauce, fish soup with cod and salmon, salad with baked beetroot and red fish and venison in cream sauce.” Ekaterina said.

The couple expect the Gastronomic Map of Russia program to support promotion of Murmansk’s Arctic cuisine across the country’s other regions. “We hope everyone will learn that we exist, that we are a tourist center with many surprises up our sleeve, many dishes to offer. We believe this project is useful, and we expect more tourists, which would be very good for us and for the region. Let other companies in other Arctic regions also treat customers to venison, but our thing is that we are different, we have mountains, fantastic views and herbal tea of fireweed which grows up in the mountains. Here it is tasty, hospitable and warm. We welcome guests and are ready to be guests ourselves.” she said.

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