Chocolate adds spice to growing Saudi market, exhibitors find

Updated 01 April 2018
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Chocolate adds spice to growing Saudi market, exhibitors find

JEDDAH: Coffee and chocolate-lovers were united under one roof at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center yesterday at an international expo that attracted more than 250 exhibitors from around the world.
The expo, organized by the Heights Company, showcased the latest equipment and products relating to coffee and chocolate, and offered advice to investors and entrepreneurs.
The Saudi coffee and chocolate market is one of the biggest in the Middle East, with sales accounting for 40 percent of the total GCC figure.
Visitors to the expo were welcomed by the smell of coffee in the air.
A section of the exhibition was dedicated to coffee’s rich history, with early coffee-making equipment borrowed from the Kingdom’s first coffee museum in Al-Ahsa, in eastern Saudi Arabia.
The owner of the museum, Abdullah Al-Hajjras, said he was excited to be part of the expo. “I love the concept,” he told Arab News.
“Everybody enjoys chocolate and coffee. Now they have the chance to learn about the history and origins of their favorite drink or dessert,” he said.
Booths at the expo displayed coffee and chocolate from leading producers, including Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
Workshops showed the latest coffee-making techniques, including “cupping,” which blends coffee beans from various parts of the world.
The training manager of Alam Maqahi, Marty Pollack, said he was looking forward to teaching the people of Jeddah about coffee.
“We are based in Riyadh, so coming here is exciting. Hopefully, we will find the uniqueness of each coffee flavor together,” he said.
Another workshop used a large screen to offer a close-up lesson on milk-frothing techniques.
Among the large number of specialty shops was Zouk Coffee, which serves Ugandan coffee. “It is natural, not washed, so you can taste the fruitiness, a little acidity and some sweetness,” the barista, Abdulillah, said.
Kahwa Loz, a startup outlet, specializes in a traditional Hijazi drink with a modern twist. “We change the recipe slightly to modernize it,” the owner, Najda Hijazi, said.
The French chocolate company Le Concheur attracted a large crowd who were offered 33 types of milk, dark and white chocolate for tasting.
Mohammed Al-Tayyab, a coffee enthusiast, told Arab News: “It is exciting to see coffee from around the world. This exhibition has given me the chance to taste the exact coffee I want and order it, which is amazing.”
Nouf, 28, said: “This exhibition combines two good things — chocolate and coffee. All the coffee here is high quality.”


Aid agency steps up relief work on Yemen’s west coast

Updated 9 min 18 sec ago
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Aid agency steps up relief work on Yemen’s west coast

JEDDAH: King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Center (KSRelief) has distributed 2,000 bags of wheat to displaced people from the western coast of Hodeida governorate to Aden as part of welfare operations in Yemen.
Yemen’s Minister of Local Administration and Higher Relief Committee chairman Abdul Raqeeb Fatah said KSRelief was seen as a beacon for humanitarian work.
More than 200 relief programs and projects had been carried out by the center in Yemen.
The Yemeni government condemned the silence of the UN and the international community on abuses committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militia against people in the Al-Hima area of Taiz governorate.
Rebels had continued indiscriminate shelling of Hima’s villages, forcing people from their homes, Fatah said. Fatah said the militia’s crimes in Taiz districts were contrary to international law. He called on the global community and humanitarian organizations to take a firm position on all Houthi crimes.
Yesterday, KSRelief distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Al-Mukha directorate in Taiz governorate, benefiting 21,000 people.