It was an ingenious decision to align the Saudi Feast Food Festival with the prestigious international Gourmand Awards 2023 in Riyadh. The festival opened on Nov. 23 and runs until Saturday, while the awards were handed out earlier this week.
The awards celebrate excellence in culinary writing and unite the best food with the best related works from around the world. Over three days, visitors had the chance to engage with winning authors and learn about their culinary experiences through discussions and presentations. The blending of the Gourmand Awards and Saudi Feast Food Festival offers an enchanting escapade for gourmands and food aficionados.
The festival is an example of the great ambition shown by the Kingdom in the past few years. It showcases a delightful variety of traditional and contemporary culinary creations from Saudi Arabia and beyond. It is a gastronomic journey filled with delicious aromas, flavors and textures, while also featuring live cooking demonstrations, workshops, entertainment and a competition area.
Visitors can explore countless food stalls with offerings from local and international chefs and restaurants.
Under the framework of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a promising and fascinating voyage with a view to transforming the economy and modernizing society. The ambition touches on all aspects of modern society, from technology and tourism to education, infrastructure and the environment.
These events offer international guests a chance to explore Saudi Arabia and witness firsthand the remarkable transformations occurring within the Kingdom. The nation is also now readying itself to host World Expo 2030 after Riyadh was chosen by the member states of the Bureau International des Expositions.
I would like to emphasize the significance of Spain’s participation in the Gourmand Awards and the food festival. Numerous books have received nominations and awards demonstrating Spanish cuisine’s vitality and prominence.
It is a daunting task to list them all, so let me highlight a few examples:
“Cocina Ucraniana, Recetas para la Cooperacion” by Professor Jose M. Soriano and Sabina Escortell is a development cooperation tool from the University of Valencia that delves into Ukrainian gastronomy.
“Reuniendo Sabores,” directed by Professor Jose M. Soriano at the Valencia Conference Center, illustrates the relevance of gastronomy within the lucrative meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector of the global tourism industry.
“Science at the Table” by Fernando Sapina of the University of Valencia presents a history and compilation of recipes rooted in molecular gastronomy.
Notable works by renowned chefs and authors add to the diverse culinary experiences showcased at the festival. These include: “La Cocina al Desnudo” by Santi Santamaria, “La Insurreccion Silente del Chef” by Paco Roncero, “A Fuego Lento, Gastronomia de Aras de los Olmos” by Maria Dolores Gimenez and “Recetario Hebreo” by Almudena Villegas.
Some books concentrate on using bread, honey and cephalopods in various ways to create tasty recipes. These are: “Pans del Mon a l’Escola” by Ceip La Solana, “Urban Honey” by Professor Jose M. Soriano from the University of Valencia and “Cefalopodos” by Toni Sanchez.
It would be remiss not to mention the remarkable book, “Cooking Her Heritage: Saudi Arabia,” written by five women who embarked on a quest throughout the nation to gather the finest traditional Saudi recipes and present them alongside beautiful photographs in this exquisite volume.
The contributing authors include Spaniards Cristina Sanchez and Begona Mateos, along with Jacqueline Jackaman, Sahar Jamal, and Dr. Awatif Al Keneibit.
Finally, I must commend the exceptional execution of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, and we are honored to have pioneers like Edouard Cointreau, one of the primary founders, along with the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission devoted to organizing such valuable events.
The Saudi Feast Food Festival presents a captivating voyage through diverse international culinary customs. It is a must-see for all and an essential experience for food enthusiasts.
- Jorge Hevia Sierra is Spain’s ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.