Hungry? Well, you’re in luck if you call San Antonio, Texas home. Alamo City was recently designated a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO as a part of the organization’s Creative Cities Network. The Texan city is only the second city in the United States to be honored with this distinction. (Tucson was the first.)
“Travelers are increasingly seeking a destination with a robust culinary scene as a way to really get to know the heart of a city,” said Casandra Matej, President & CEO of Visit San Antonio. “The UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy designation confirms what millions of visitors have known all along—San Antonio’s cuisine is truly unique and authentic to our region.”
As diversity becomes increasingly popular in the culinary world, it should come as no surprise to see San Antonio join the list. This is a city with German, French, Mexican, and of course, American influences, and it all shows in the region’s cuisine.
Food has always been important to the area, dating back to the indigenous peoples who foraged roots and harvested pecans when they weren’t busy hunting game for 13,000 years. In the 18th Century, Spanish colonists quickly made what is today’s San Antonio an important hub in trade, starting a confluence of cultures and tastes that continues to this day.
Nowadays, a visitor to San Antonio needs to look no further than the city’s famous River Walk for samples of UNESCO-caliber eats. Enjoy some Texas Tapas, like smoked shrimp enchiladas and chili fried oysters, and old, reliable favorites — duck and sausage gumbo or mesquite-grilled quail. (Out-of-towners might be more familiar with the city’s best-known culinary export — Tex-Mex.)
“This is an exciting time for the culinary arts in San Antonio—the designation reinforces the creativity and hard work of every individual who participates in and supports the local culinary community and the philanthropy of so many groups, like the Chef Cooperatives and our chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier,” said Chef Johnny Hernandez of Grupo La Gloria. “From showcasing our culinary heritage to sharing local innovations and leading the way with San Antonio’s brand of culinary diplomacy, the opportunities afforded us as a City of Gastronomy are all reasons for San Antonio to celebrate today.”
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Cover image courtesy of Visit San Antonio