SRINAGAR: Clamor is growing for Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the exquisite Kashmiri wazwan.
Leading the campaign is celebrity chef Sanjay Raina. Raina has started a Twitter campaign demanding a GI tag for Kashmiri cuisine.
Wazwan is a multi-course mutton cuisine. It is served to guests who sit on the floor to relish the meal on `tramis’ (bigger copper plates). The cuisine ranges from seven to 25 mutton dishes with `ferni’ as dessert. Mostly four people eat from a `trami’ as the chef takes turns to serve each dish.
Culinary experts count Kashmiri wazwan among the ‘top three exotic foods’ of India.
Chef Raina curated the two-day food festival at Tulip garden which was attended by more than 2000 guests in March. More than 15 chefs prepared wazwan to showcase Kashmiri cuisine to the outside world.
Picking up from where he left in March, Chef Raina has started an online campaign demanding a GI tag for Kashmiri wazwan.
“Wazwan is not just a food, it is a whole experience. Right from preparing the food to sitting on the floor, eating from the tramis et al. Wazwan is our pride and we need to preserve it for posterity. That is why we want GI tag for the cuisine,” Chef Raina told The Kashmir Monitor.
GI status is a sort of trademark or a patent given to the products which are indigenous to a community in a particular geographical region. The GI registration acts as a certificate that the product is made by traditional methods and possesses certain qualities specific to the area and the community.
“We are not asking something new. Hyderabadi Haleem has been awarded the GI tag. Why can’t wazwan? It is time that we join hands and seek GI tag for our wazwan,” he said.
Wazwan is the biggest attraction for tourists visiting Kashmir. Anyone visiting Kashmir will definitely savor wazwan wither in whole package or some of the dishes. “There is hardly any tourist who might not have relished wazwan while visiting Kashmir. It is something different. It is endemic to Kashmir. Nobody can take this art from us. Ye Rista kya kehlata hai…,” he said.
Food is one of the biggest industries in the world. The global culinary tourism market was valued at $1,116.7 billion in 2019. It is expected to have a market value of $1,796.5 billion by 2027. Culinary or food tourism is a form of travel in which a tourist purely visits a place to explore its cuisines and food markets.