One of the key components of a national culture is food. It’s what unites and, in some cases defines, people.
That’s why the National Geographic Traveller magazine’s annual food festival is an adventure not to be missed if you’re eager to experience different parts of the world through mouthfuls of delicious food.
Experts, enthusiasts, cookbook authors and speakers will all be assembled at London’s Business Design Centre on 16-17 July to discuss and prepare some tasty dishes for attendees.
The event includes masterclasses, where visitors can learn culinary methods from well-known chefs, as well as access interviews and Q&As. An all-day ticket costs a snip under £25.
Let’s be real here, online courses are great and all, but nothing beats an in-person tutorial when it comes to food.
Alongside the massive exhibition of dishes, fresh ingredients and drinks from across the globe to sample, visitors will also have the opportunity to find out more about destinations to book a trip to where these dishes originate from.
Sounds like a satisfying way to spend the weekend this summer, eh?
And that’s not all! One of the standout cuisines featuring in this year’s festival is from Azerbaijan, also known as ‘The Land of Fire’.
Azerbaijan’s rich cuisine is derived from the numerous cultures that have travelled and traded along the Silk Road passing through this Caucasus territory that links the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Packed with herbs and spices, there’s absolutely no dull dish to be found on an Azerbaijani menu. The flavours explode, offering a memorable impression of this Caucasus region that connects the East to the West.
Like its more famous neighbour Türkiye, Azerbaijan’s cities and districts are famed for their diverse culinary wonders.
As you travel from the capital Baku to Nakchivan,then Gusar, and from Sheki to Lankaran, expect a combination of refreshing flavours, each leaving their own indelible mark.
Every Azerbaijani menu will have classic dishes such as dolma (stuffed vine leaves), kebabs, plov (rice), qutabs (filled pancakes) and dovga (a yoghurt soup) at the National Geographic Traveller food festival, each made with different accents depending on the region.
And don’t forget the desserts! The famous syrupy pakhlava, shared with Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines, and the Azeri sweet pastry shekerbura.
On this festival, however, you will be discovering a whole other world of traditional Azerbaijani sweets and dishes than just these classics. One thing to know about their dishes; there’s a lot of vegetables, herbs and meat… so, basically an all-rounder cuisine.
Tuck into some sugary halva from the historic city of Sheki and a taste of some arzuman kofte unique to Nakchivan.
One of the most famed Azeri rice dish is the mouth-watering Shah Plov “the King of Plovs”, which is sure to make an appearance at the festival stands too.
A bite of the stuffed meat pie ‘tskan’, specialty of Lezgi people, will teleport you right to the frosty Caucasus Mountains.
So beware, because the Azerbaijan stands are set to take you on a flavourful ride through their beautiful lands bordering the Caspian Sea and home to hundreds of mud volcanoes.
FOOD FESTIVAL DETAILS
Event name: National Geographic Traveller Food Festival
Dates & opening hours: 16 July (10am – 6pm) and 17 July (10am-4:30pm)
Venue: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH
Admission price: £20 + £4.48 booking fee per ticket
Tickets: buy online from the event organisers – click here
For further information and to acquire tickets, visit the National Geographic Traveller website at: foodfestival.natgeotraveller.co.uk/tickets