Italian food festival opens in Jeddah

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Updated 29 January 2014
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Italian food festival opens in Jeddah

The best way to a man’s heart, they say, is through the stomach. To take this metaphor further, food is a binding factor that can also strengthen relationships and cultural exchange between nations.
And that is exactly what is happening in Jeddah with the inauguration of the third edition of the 15-day Italian food festival at Habsburg Restaurant at Rosewood Corniche on Wednesday.
Well known Italian lady chef Francesca Simoni, a native of Emilia Romagna in Bologna, will be overlooking the preparation of authentic Italian fare during the festival, which was inaugurated by her jointly with Roberta Fedele, wife of Italian consul general, and Ahmed Al-Baik, director of room service, Rosewood Corniche hotel.
The festival will have on offer exciting and the most authentic Italian cuisine using the finest ingredients and Simoni’s signature recipes from Emilia Romagna in coordination with Executive Chef Maurizio.
“The cuisine of any country is a reflection of its culture and tradition. We will offer a mix of different spices and flavors from Bologna to tickle the palates of the people of Jeddah. Words cannot express my excitement and pride at being the first female Italian chef taking part in a leading food festival in Jeddah,” Simoni told Arab News.
Stating that was her first culinary brush with the Arab people in the Gulf, she said has been to various countries across the world. “I am glad that I am starting from the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, with a professional and skilled team such as Habsburg’s. I am sure this year’s edition will be another success to add to the festival’s history. We have prepared a diverse and rich menu for our guests,” she added.
Simoni said guests at the food festival will have a variety of original Italian cuisine from Amelia Romagna including the authentic homemade pasta, fresh sea food Fritto Misto, as well as a spectacular live cooking station of the delicious risottos.
Italians have given spaghetti and pizza to food lovers all over the world. During the ongoing festival, people will get to taste other specialties from the country.
“The main dishes we will make are two types of risotto, passatelli, a traditional pasta of Emilia Romagna made with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and eggs, special bread Tigelle which is cut in half and filled with salami and cheese, and special desert called chocolate salami made of chocolate, biscuits and almond, besides rice cakes,” she said.
Simoni said another special dish by her will be Tortellini, a traditional dish of Emilia Romagna made of egg pasta and filled with cheese and other ingredients in thin layers of pasta before serving it in a triangular shape.
Chef Simoni is currently working for one of the most respected and prominent Italian restaurants, Amerigo 1934 Trattoria, that recently won the prestigious Gambero Rosso Award for the best restaurant in Italy in 2013.
The difference in this year’s festival is the presence of the lady chef who has brought small bread like Tigelle and Borlengo, authentic Parmesan cheese selections and row pasta varieties brought specially to cater to the guest, said Chef Maurizio.
Fedele, on behalf of Simon Petroni, Italian consul general, thanked the Rosewood Corniche hotel for organizing this festival for the third time. “Such cultural activities promote Italian culture, capabilities and traditions as food is always a major source to promote cultural exchange,” she said.
The festival will have four to six different authentic Italian dishes go to with the traditional main course.


Saudi food app is perfect recipe for people in need

Updated 19 May 2018
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Saudi food app is perfect recipe for people in need

JEDDAH: A Saudi relationship manager has designed a mobile app that allows food to be delivered to people in need, including Syrian refugees living in camps in Lebanon and Turkey.
Western region manager Fahad bin Thabit, 34, described his YummCloud app as a “sharing economy” platform.
After working with app developers from India, Ukraine and the US, Thabit launched the platform in late April with help from the US digital agency Ingic.
YummCloud was featured in US company news, such as Cision PRWeb.
“The idea behind YummCloud was to provide home-cooked meals to the users in the most convenient way,” Cision PRWeb said.
“Developers were told to develop an open platform app that will let users buy, sell or send home-cooked meals around them. All a user has to do is to choose the food they would like to eat and get it delivered at their convenience.”
Thabit said that his brother, who lives in France, was the inadvertent inspiration behind the app.
“At that time I wanted to send him food and that was when I had the idea: Why can’t I send him local food?
“I could not find any of our local food there, and this was how the application came up. I said once I can do that, I can send food to anyone anywhere in the world — all I need to do is provide the supplier,” Thabit told Arab News.
Anyone can help communities in need via the application, he said.
Thabit said he was planning to help Syrian refugees in Turkey.
“We call these meals ‘humanitarian meals’ — all we need to do is reach them via a social network and get a supplier there. People who sympathize with the refugees — they could be 100 kilometers away or in different parts of the world — can pay online and buy meals for them.”
He said whole communities could take part in the “sharing economy.”
“For example, in Africa, there are areas that have people suffering from starvation, but there are other areas that have food supplies, so if you buy the supplies from those areas, they can import them to the starvation-stricken areas. This is what I call a sharing economy.”
The app’s international features are still under development, but are expected to launch in two years.
“We can create a market anywhere in the world. All we need to do is add a language, find a delivery company there, and if there isn’t one, people can deliver it themselves.
“We had 500 orders in the first 10 days of the launch in Saudi Arabia.”
Thabit said that transportation network company Careem was acting as a logistics partner.
“Careem have us covered everywhere — it is operating in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Egypt. Wherever Careem is present, we are there regarding delivery,” he said.
Thabit said he had agreements with delivery companies and charities in different parts of the world for YummCloud’s global transition.
The application is an efficient humanitarian platform.
“We provide a platform for everyone to help everyone,” he said.