I guess you already know that one of the things I really enjoy during my travelings is food. Of course! It’s one major part of a trip, I find, which reveals a lot about the place you are visiting. Food is connected to the history of a country and its culture. It’s an experience by itself. So, one of the first things that I planned when I arrived to Doha is visiting the 8th Qatar International Food Festival. It ran from March 29th until April 8th.
It proved to be a wise thing to do.
But first things first. What QIFF 2017 is?
Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) is a festival of taste, an insight into the flavors of other places. A festival that celebrates the country’s diverse food. Different cuisines from all over the world and traditional delicacies come together and invite residents and visitors to a journey of culinary experiences. Moreover, the festival introduces to visitors the hospitality offerings.
The 10 things I loved at the Qatar International Food Festival 2017
So, let’s get started!
1. Firstly, I loved the location. A big park and the skyscrapers of West Bay on the background. The weather was amazing the day I visited and that helped on creating a lovely atmosphere. The location was Hotel Park, in front of the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
2. The purple big sign #QIFF2017. Loved the color, loved the sunlight on it.
3. The Turkish ice cream. If you have tasted Turkish ice cream, then you know that it is different from others. Its texture is elastic and stretchy and the flavor is different as well. The ‘salep’ creates this variation. Also, the men who make the ice cream and serve it to people, do their magic tricks! So, you try and try to catch your ice cream, but you can’t, until they decide to give it to you!
4. The Ethiopian coffee. Truly amazing! The best I have tasted so far, and I consider myself a coffee lover. It is believed that the origins of coffee come from Ethiopia. And the way they are serving it… So traditional! In little cups… You can also sit at the little tables and chairs and enjoy it. This coffee didn’t leave any bitter flavor at the end.
5. I loved the options of food. So many cuisines to choose from! Thai, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, Italian. Furthermore, so many sweet delicacies around. Crepes, pancakes, sweet-flavor popcorn, ice cream, churros.
6. There was also a funky potato! Curly and spiralized!
7. The cooking class from Chef Manal Al Alem. Despite the fact that the class was in Arabic and I couldn’t understand what she was saying, it didn’t matter. I could watch and almost ‘taste’ the recipe Chef Manal Al Alem was making.
A few things about the Chef
“Chef Manal Al Alem has a wide experience in cooking and recipe preparation. She spent 30 years working with recipe testing, tasting, and teaching in order to produce recipes with guaranteed nutrition, mouth-watering taste, and look.
Since 1983, she has played a major role in producing new dishes and enhancing existing merchandise items for big F&B manufacturers. She participated in advertising food products, and in judging cooking competitions in the Arab world. Additionally, she contributed in many cooking related festivals, interviews, forums, meetings, and conventions”.
8. The fountain in front of Sheraton hotel as the sun falls. The colors of sunset create an even more beautiful scenery! Kids were playing with water and everyone was in a very good mood. And why not to be?! The Sheraton hotel is a landmark here in Doha, as it is the first hotel (or one of the firsts) that were built here.
9. The fireworks! Everyday at 20:00 o’clock, there were fireworks spreading magic all over!
10. Lastly and most importantly, I loved the multinational character and purpose of the event. Qatar is home to many people around the world. This hospitality was reflected to the Food Festival. Different cuisines, flavors, traditional delicacies with a twist. At the same time, different people, different cultures, interacting with each other and, above all, respecting each other.
During the festival, there were outdoors food-related movie screenings, supported by the Doha Film Institute and also, Dinner in the Sky. I have lived this experience in Athens, but I bet that the Doha skyscrapers night view is more compelling!
A beautiful day and a very well organized event came to an end. Thank you Doha! I am looking forward to experiencing more of such events!