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.”


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 42 min 49 sec ago
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”