A BUSINESS operating as a retreat situated in the lush tropical highlands of Namosi is working with its neighbouring village communities to promote iTaukei cuisine through the use of traditional and locally grown food.
Namosi Eco Retreat, a traditional iTaukei-inspired retreat, has engaged with its nearby local communities to directly buy crops and other items needed for their authentic iTaukei menu.
Retreat owner Daniel Jason said using more local food not only assisted farmers and their livelihood but met the growing global demand for culinary tourism.
“A top highlight for our guests is having the opportunity to eat authentic iTaukei food, modern and traditional,” he said.
“There is an opportunity for farmers to capitalise more on the local tourism industry.”
By promoting iTaukei cuisine, Mr Jason believes this would encourage more tourists and tourism service-providers to put Fijian food at the top of their menus.
“All travellers eat and drink, and food and refreshments can give tourists a more local experience and longer-lasting memories than any other kind of tourism experience,” he said.
“The more we work together to promote culinary tourism and agritourism, then the better it will be for the tourism sector as a whole.
“Of course, we are very small, but I think every contribution helps,” Mr Jason said.
Mr Jason added that culinary tourism, the activity of offering locals and tourists an authentic taste of a country, was rooted in the agriculture and rural sector.
“The promotion of culinary tourism ultimately benefits rural communities, creating a direct transfer of money from the tourist to the land,” he said.
Mr Jason said they had also networked with chefs and staff from other resorts to proactively promote local cuisine. This, he said, allowed them to share ideas with the village cooks to inspire and motivate each other.
The Namosi Eco Retreat is a traditionally-inspired village retreat with authentic bure (huts) and a valenikana (dining hall) handcrafted by local people for the ultimate iTaukei experience.
The site, which sits along the Luva River beside Navunikabi Village, is about one-and-a-half hours drive from Suva or three hours from Nadi.