EU cultural/gastronomic designations are made with certain political objectives in mind that are usually obscure to the general public.
That said, they usually do have the virtue of making a lot of information available on line that would otherwise be hard to find, and this information can be of genuine value if you are planning a trip to Europe or just interested in learnng more about the incredible variety in European culture.
For 2017, the EU has designated the eastern part of the region of Lombardy in Italy as a “region of Gastronomy” (along with parts of northern Portugal, Catalonia, the coast of Denmark…) Eastern Lombardy is a truly fascinating part of Italy, generally way down on the tourist lists of “must-sees” despite having abundant historic interest and towns and landcapes of great charm.
This area of Italy is extremely agriculturally rich, but its cuisine if scarcely known in other parts of the world. The area of eastern Lombardy that the EU has designated includes the foods of Mantova, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona and Lodi – all truly fantastic destinations culturally and historically, as well as gastronomically.
One of the most marvelous eating destinations inside all of Italy is Mantova. Very few of its classic dishes are served elsewhere, and it is food very much worth getting to know:
The above link, by the way, omits some of Mantova’s more outré local favorites: frogs, eels and donkey.
This is a much geekier article about the region as a whole – it the actual application for the 2017 designation that was made to the EU by a consortium of producers in eastern Lombardia. But buried within the geekiness is a lot of valuable information about the unique food products of the region