Health festival in Abu Dhabi aims to make everyone fitter for 2020

Can you make your New Year’s resolution last longer than January? (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 January 2020

Health festival in Abu Dhabi aims to make everyone fitter for 2020

  • The festival will encourage participants to dive deeper into health and wellness
  • Sessions and workouts will cater to all ages and skill levels

DUBAI: It’s January, and everyone’s thoughts are turning to living a more healthy lifestyle.

With perfect timing, along comes a two-day festival that aims to help people in the UAE to do just that.

The Livehealthy Festival 2020, a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) and the online magazine livehealthy.ae, takes place at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 24 and 25.

The festival, aimed at the whole family, will encourage participants to dive deeper into health and wellness, giving tips on the benefits of lifestyle changes with a focus on moderation.

Its program is based on the “seven dimensions of wellness” —fitness, health, mindfulness, community, productivity, environment and food. Visitors can learn more about the mind, body and nutrition in a fun, encouraging and inclusive atmosphere, the organizers say. 

Sessions and workouts will cater to all ages and skill levels, ranging from children’s yoga to the Vinyasa flow. There will also be meditation classes, expert panels and workshops covering activities and interests such as understanding food sensitivities, mindfulness and meditation. 

“ADPHC highly recommends and encourages all community members in Abu Dhabi to participate in this fun, healthy and family friendly event,” said Matar Al Nuaimi, director general at ADPHC, which was launched last year under the Department of Health.

“We believe the planned activities and workshops will provide you with the motivation and tools in assisting you achieve your New Year resolutions and goals, as well as set you up for leading a healthier and happier life.”

Ann Marie McQueen, the editor of livehealthy.ae, said: “Making small adjustments in our lives can be much more effective than attempting big sweeping changes, which are not always sustainable.

“We believe in taking things in moderation, learning new things and ways of doing things, and understanding that we’re all part of something larger.”

The festival doors open at 9.30am, with sessions starting at 10am. 


Inside Fishbone, the latest restaurant from Chef Susy Massetti

Fishbone is by Chef Susy Massetti. (Supplied)
Updated 21 February 2020

Inside Fishbone, the latest restaurant from Chef Susy Massetti

MANAMA: Chef Susy Massetti is a long-established star of the region’s culinary scene — from five-star hotel kitchens in the UAE and Bahrain to her unique concept at Bahrain’s multi-award-winning Masso by Chef Susy Massetti.

Having left Masso just over two years ago, many Gulf foodies were left wondering where she had gone. The answer is Fishbone, a gorgeous spot tucked away in the Novotel Al-Dana Resort, close to town but with a seaside feel, where she has had a hand in everything from the interior setup — even down to the fabric design — to, of course, the kitchen and menu (which, by the way, is not all seafood).

The restaurant has a gorgeous, and uber-romantic, outdoor terrace with liberal sprinkling of fairy lights. (Supplied)

I was lucky enough to try out a selection of chef’s recommendations on a cool evening recently — and no, this is not the customary British obsession with the weather, but an excuse to mention the gorgeous, and uber-romantic, outdoor terrace with its liberal sprinkling of fairy lights. I chose to sit inside because of the chill, but it will surely be warmer soon.

I was by the ceviche, knowing it to be one of Chef Susy’s signature dishes. But, instead, I went with the recommendation of Fishbone’s Poke Bowl — sushi-grade tuna with avocado, red onions, sesame seeds, coriander and black rice, with Asian dressing.

Chef Susy Massetti is a long-established star of the region’s culinary scene. (Supplied)

Firstly, it looks beautiful, with the black rice adding a visual twist. And that same black rice also contributes to the texture mix, slightly rougher and nuttier than its white counterpart. The abundant raw tuna is a fish lover’s dream, fresh and succulent. The flavor additions are a perfect mix, giving just the right piquancy without overpowering the tuna. If you’re not a fan of coriander, don’t feel shy about asking for it to be omitted, the kitchen is very happy to oblige — though you’ll be missing out slightly.

For my main course, I was delighted to discover a whole section of the menu devoted to truffles. In an ‘Every day’s a school day’ moment, Chef Susy informed me that, as well as working with top-quality imports, she’s also a big fan of local truffles. I never even knew such a thing existed. Apparently, in season, the desert sands of Saudi Arabia are abundant with both white and black truffles and they’re particularly plentiful after rainfall.

Fishbone is a gorgeous spot tucked away in the Novotel Al-Dana Resort in Bahrain. (Supplied) 

I chose white truffle risotto. In my view, it’s the ultimate comfort food, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Arborio rice was perfectly cooked — tender and creamy without a hint of stickiness. The generous portion of wafer-thin truffle slices, pungent, and with that unmistakable delicate taste, was the cherry on the cake, so to speak.

Purely in the interests of research, you understand, I went for a second main of Branzino Al Limone — seabass fillet with a classic lemon-and-caper sauce. Delicious! The flesh was that perfect consistency of fall-off-the-fork tender but still firm enough to retain its robust meaty texture and the accompanying sauce demonstrates the skill of the kitchen — the simplest dishes are often the hardest to get right.

In season, the desert sands of Saudi Arabia are abundant with both white and black truffles and they’re particularly plentiful after rainfall. (Supplied)

At this point, I have to confess that I should have taken the advice on the menu: “Life is short, leave space for the cake.” With choices including chocolate toffee pudding with mascarpone cream, strawberries with jaggery and balsamic syrup, and baked yoghurt with fresh berries, I would have been very much in my element. Sadly, I simply could not fit any more in — the price for having two main courses. However, I shall treat my omission as an excuse to return, not that one is needed.

And if you’re in Saudi Arabia, you don’t need to wait for your next trip across the causeway to sample Chef Susy’s culinary creations, as you’ll also find her at the recently launched Eat’sy on the corniche in Alkhobar. I feel a road trip coming on.