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The Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship: calm life and tasty food

Send Print Download added: Anna Mackiewicz | 2015-04-01 16:47:19
poland, warmian-masurian, brand

During the rest at the picturesque Mazury it is worth looking for places marked with the symbol of a white cap in the blue background and stopping in towns at whose gates a logo of a crawling snail can be seen.

These signs are a guarantee of the highest quality of the taste of meals and of the taste of life.

The Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship has been considered as a summer holidays area because of its landscape and natural qualities; where one can sail through lakes or have a walk in the forests. A majority of tourists come here from May until September and spend their free time sailing (it is estimated that about 40 thousand of people come here to sail during the touristic season). However, the number of people who come here from the capital city or from the Silesia to go picking up the mushrooms in the autumn or to have fun iceboating or cross-country skiing in the winter is constantly increasing.

The people’s opinion of the region is a “resting” one, in whose landscape there are mostly forests and waters, is emphasized and consolidated by the logo of the voivodeship. The voivodeship logo shows a picture of a sailboat swimming on a green wave, which symbolizes the forest, the waves and the sun. Despite the recognisability of the logo, it is not easy to find any souvenirs with the logo on.

The mental picture of the Warmia region, especially of the Mazury, as an area that is calm, exceptional, even unique as far as the landscape is concerned, was consolidated by the region’s extensive promotional action, which had taken place from 2009 until 2011 because of the Mazury participation in the world contest Seven Wonders of Nature (New 7 Wonders of Nature), which had been organized by the Swiss foundation New 7 Wonders.

The self-government of the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship jumped to an appropriate conclusion that the Mazury participation in the contest would be a chance to promote the region in the country, in Europe and in the whole world as an Area of One Thousand Lakes.

The chief slogan of the campaign was as follows: “The Mazury - the Wonder of Nature”, which got accepted by many people, even by the president of Poland, who each year comes to the Mazury lakes to have some fun sailing, shouted it to journalists. The slogan, similarly as a graphic-verbal sign, was legally reserved; if somebody wants to make use of it, he/she has to apply for a legal permit at the voivodeship’s self-government.

Many people engaged in the Mazury participation in the New 7 Wonders contest. Apart from the president Bronisław Komorowski, a world-famous traveler, a discoverer of the head of the Amazon - Jacek Pałkiewicz - appealed to vote for the Mazury. The Mazury region was the only Polish finalist in the contest and was the only one from Europe, which finished up its rivalry in the group of 14 countries. Bearing in mind the fact that more than 400 hundred areas participated in the contest, it turns out that being one of 14 best areas was Mazury’s huge success.

The contest for new wonders of nature and the fame connected with it attracted many new tourists to the Mazury. Apart from Germans and Russians, who had earlier taken some rest here, some people from the Great Britain, Norway, the Czech Republic or from France began to come here. They noticed soon that the Warmia and Mazury does not only mean beautiful wild nature but it is also a place where people can have tasty and healthy food. The Warmia and Mazury is a region, in which many households, food processing plants or bakeries prepare products based on traditional recipes and only on local products.

Regional dishes are served by many local restaurants and it is quite easy to find such places. Since 2006 the region’s self-government has been appointing restaurateurs and producers of the best quality food with the certificates of the European Seat of the Cookery Heritage. The Warmia and Mazury joined the net as the first region in Poland. The net of the Cookery Heritage gathers producers and restaurants’ owners serving food produced locally and made of local ingredients of the best quality. The logo of the net in the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship is a white cookery cap in the blue background, next to which a knife and a fork are lying. In the Warmia and Mazury region the logo of the cookery heritage is hanged in restaurants at places where it is best seen, most often quite close to the entry door.

For a few previous years some cookery contests in all cities/towns of the region have been organized, whose aim is to popularize natural local food. During such contests one can taste local dishes and buy home-made jams, hams, cheeses, breads or sweets. The contests and traditional food fairs are extremely popular with the region’s inhabitants and with the tourists. The fact that it is worth promoting by means of the white cap logo is proved by a number of entities which had been applied to the seat of the cookery heritage so far - in the middle of July 2014 there were 155 applications (these were restaurants, hotels, butcher’s plants, bakeries, agro touristic and fishing farmhouses).

Simultaneously with the development of the Warmia and Mazury cookery heritage, a network of Cittaslow (an extensive network of towns promoting a natural healthy lifestyle) was discovered. The logo of the network is a creeping orange snail, which on the top of its shell is carrying townhouses. By means of placing the symbol of the snail at the town gates, the guests and inhabitants are shown that: the town is orientated on improving the quality of the environment and of the urban fabric, that the town is supporting the production of local food and traditional techniques of food production. It makes an influence on an exceptional character of the area, within which the traditions of local cuisine are cultivated and some previous traditions whose aims were to integrate people are celebrated. The brand Cittaslow is directed to smaller communities, which means that only towns smaller than 50 thousand of people can apply for it. Moreover, the towns cannot be capital cities of voivodeships/states or seats of regional governments. In return they are strong local communities, which have decided to improve the quality of their inhabitants’ lives.

Within the Cittaslow network some common initiatives are undertaken: cookery training courses, projects whose aims are to protect local products and handicrafts, building up traffic zones for pedestrians, controlling the air quality, opening up offices for the building industry complying with the ecological requirements, regulating of constructional techniques, standardization of electromagnetic overhead installations etc. It is emphasized that being “slow” does not necessarily mean being at the back. Contrary to the aforementioned, being “slow” means making use of technologies in order to make cities and town be an ideal place to live.

In Poland the first town joined the Cittaslow network in 2012; these were Murowana Goślina from the Wielkpolskie Voivodeship and a new Miasto Lubawskie from the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship. For the time being, 18 Polish towns belong to the world’s network, out of which a vast majority, precisely 14 towns, is situated in the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship. The logo of the creeping snail can be seen in Barczewo, Biskupiec, Bisztynk, Dobre Miasto, Gołdap, Górowo Iłweckie, Lidzbark Warmiński, Lubawa, Nidzica, Olsztynek, Pasym, Reszel and Ryna.

In the opinion of self-governments of towns belonging to the Cittaslow network, the fact of joining the net is connected with the following:

  • strengthening the competitiveness and enhancing the development of activities of local entities working in the touristic branch,
  • supporting the area attractiveness by means of exposing its natural and cultural heritage.

The slogan - “the wonder of the nature” and the signs of the cookery heritage and of the Cittaslow towns have already been quite famous in the region and in the country; however, the sign - “The Product of the Warmia and Mazury” has not been so famous so far. Last year the self-government of the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship undertook actions whose aims were to promote the broadly understood regional product, e.g. handcraft, industrial, touristic, gastronomic and medical products and also events connected with the region’s culture, sport and recreation. The entities possessing “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury” certificate are entitled to make use of it while running their activities. For the needs of the contest a sign had been designed showing the aforementioned voivodeship logo with the following sentence below “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury”.

The idea to mark local products and services in the Warmia and Mazury voivodeship originated as a result of cooperation with the French department Côtes-d’Armor (there exists a successful “the Product of Brittany”).

The Olsztyn Marshall’s office writes on its web pages that the main aim of granting “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury” certificate is to make the region more competitive and more attractive. In the opinion of the office, the businessmen granted with the certificate will be better recognizable by potential Warmia and Mazury products’ customers. Hopefully it will have an effect in making incomes on taxes on runnig economic activities go up. The only condition of applying for “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury” certificate is manufacturing the product in the region for a period of time that is not shorter than 2 years.

In September 2014 the region’s self-government handed in “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury” certificate to first 70 companies, among which there were big companies (e.g. the furniture factory Szynaka, which sells its products in the whole world) and the atelier “Adamska Bogumiła - the Gallerie of Artistic Things” from Braniewo, which sews linen clothing, produces clothing accessories and makes decorative clothing ornamented with natural amber and silver. If “the Product of the Warmia and Mazury” idea fulfills the trust placed in, it will turn out in a few year’s time.