Tastes of Belarus: Innovatory Culinary Tourism a Stimulus for Rural Entrepreneurship: the project aiming to support rural micro-entrepreneurship of North-Western Belarus – by creating and promoting a foodie-soft adventure networked tourist product: tastesofbelarus.org
The project establishes two integrated bike rentals – operating in the rent & drop formula – in Lyntupy and Trabuciški, three carefully trail-blazed tourist routes, along with tourist offer thereof.
The created tourist product draws on largely hidden and untapped tourist potential of Pastavy district, Viciebsk region: the area with a stunning – sloppy, undulating post-glacial landscape: with moraines, spectacular eskers (including the route from Khutar Balduk to Pieškaŭcy), deep troughs of post-glacial lakelets, along high, drainage marshes – lowlands and low peat bogs in stream valleys. All within the area of genuinely extraordinary rich multicultural heritage and cultural landscape of Belarusian, Polish, Jewish, Russian, Tatar and of the so-called Old Believers.
The area boasts truly well preserved traditional wooden architecture of hamlets, a great deal of veritable gems of well-maintained, field-stone granaries, barns and storehouse, dotting the villages here and there, along a pinnacles of neo-baroque churches.
Three cycling routes have been carefully marked out and trailblazed, being available for hiking as well, with a potential for cross-country skiing, as a low-off- seasonal tourism offer booster.
The first – the green – route is a short easy hike & ride: a loop in and around Lyntupy – essentially – from Kultyvatar to Kultyvatar. Exploring Hiruci – an off-beaten paths hamlet of time machine feeling – the semi-deserted village of a couple of farmsteads right at the EU border. The time has stopped here a few decades ago. The wooded cottages with verandas, stony out-buildings of pre-war period are pretty untouched – mellow -somehow as the august, baronial maples along the road. Further leading to Ramaniški – where one can visit the ruins of an eighteenth-century manor: an alcove, outbuilding, granary and the remains of the park along the picturesque chapel in linden-maple have survived. In the village, the hosts offer linden, honeydew, and buckwheat honey from their own apiary. In Lyntupy there are two monuments from the beginning of the 20th century: a neoclassical church and the Biszewski Palace, built in the style of an Italian Renaissance villa. Drinking water is available free of charge at Kultyvatar and Ramaniški. The wells were made possible thanks to support under the current project.
The second – the blue – leads from Lyntupy to Khutar Balduk, in Naračanski National Park: a longer ride, with a soft adventure climbs. The stunning landscape compensates the climbs, in spades.
Passing Usadba Trabuciški: the bike rental on the routes: 5 bikes are made available, drop off possible, though unadvisable. Usadba Trabuciški offers freshly cold pressed fruit and vegies juices of local varieties, available for sales in 3 and 5 l bag-boxes, along the bottles: ready to take away, drink while raiding or take home. The fully operational pressing and packing micro-line was made possible thanks to the project.
At Khutar Balduk, one can have a try of various herbal teas of local herbs, along wild sun-dried fruits. One can also take part in the outdoors workshops – painting or ecological. Balduk is worth visiting in the summer – as so you may participate in culinary workshops : learn how to combine traditional cuisine with new trends in the kitchen or, for example, a gluten-free diet inter alia. You can also drink safe water from a well there. The Khutar, being off grid, was equipped with a customized solar panel based energy generation unit, with a copious battery. Both endowed under the project.
The third route – the orange – connects Lyntupy and Kaptaruny in an extended loop circle: a decent ride exploring beauty, wilderness and oddities of borderland.
Passing Vialički: the ecological duck and poultry farm there. The safe water is available for free. Fresh bio duck breasts on sale: sauté or customized, marinated or sous vide in local herbs, ready for a hot bath, upon request: all made properly vacuum packed. The well & water installation at the farm, along packing equipment, were endowed under the current project.
At the very terminus in Kaptaruny – the Kaptaruny Art Village – a cultural centre founded by Artur Klinaŭ, operates since 2014. Literary evenings, concerts, and film festivals are organized in the Kaptaruny Art Village. The culinary offer includes fish soup prepared according to the original local recipe. The safe water is available for free: the well was made possible under the project.
The routes converge in the center of Lyntupy, where the two shared bike rentals are located: under “Kuĺtyvatar” Cultural Center and Lyntupy Hostel, effectively operated as single one rental. The third rental is located in Trabuciški: see above: under the blue route. In total 18 bikes are made available for the rent, supported under the project.
Culture Center “Kuĺtyvatar” stands as the main Belarusian partner of the project. A café serving fine, fresh coffee, local products, on-spot & take-away, and a short, eat-out simple menu, along the local tourism information centre was made opened in the thoroughly renovated historic building of a former officer casino, now belonging to “Kuĺtyvatar”. Toilets & water & Internet for free.
The renovation, adaptation, fittings and equipment of building and premises of café and tourism information center at Kuĺtyvatar were made possible thanks to the project.
Lyntupy Hostel is situated next to Kuĺtyvatar”. The hostel operates in a traditional wooden house, previously owned by the local school. It offers bargain overnight stays and events: both for large company and single tourists. The tents are available for rent, to camp on Hostel’s territory or beyond. Reliable mobile coverage throughout the project area triggered development of an on-line guide application (operating both online and offline), which makes it easier to book the ride, further navigate and explore the area. Renovation works at the Hostel were supported by the project.
The project is implemented jointly by Development Policy Foundation, the Association “Podlaskie Smaki” and “Kuĺtyvatar” Culture Center of Lyntupy, in cooperation with the administration of Pastavy District.
Project was generously supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland under Polish Development Cooperation Program Polish Aid 2019.