October 27th is a day to mark in your diary. It is the ever-ambitious Kilkenny charity, Twilight Community Group, who hold their second installment of their ‘European Cultures Together Programme’. The October bank holiday is the time when we have a festival in the marble city; Savour Kilkenny Food Festival where many top chefs come to town to show their skills and recipes to the public. This year Twilight are bringing a number of countries together to offer FREE samples of traditional dishes in the Ormonde Hotel, Friday 27th October at 10am.
This European Cuisine Together International conference is part of Twilight’s overall European Cultures Together programme. During St Patrick’s Festival 2023 over 300 people called to see the Cultures of Europe and beyond bringing their arts, culture and music to Kilkenny. The event saw over 18 different nations attend the 4-day event. So, what can we expect on Friday 27th in the Ormonde Hotel? For a start the event is free to attend. All of the visitors and people of Kilkenny are welcome. Call and meet the different nationalities and have free mouthwatering food that will tantalise your taste buds and will leave you wanting more and more!
Our friends from Romania are bringing the taste of the east with wonderful dishes such as Sarmale. Considered to be Romania’s national dish, Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls), is actually of Turkish origin, but the Romanians claim that theirs is the best, and they are probably right. The initial recipe was strongly modified over time until it reached what is now considered to be the perfect stuffing. A balanced mixture of rice and minced meat (usually pork or pork combined with beef) and other vegetables and local herbs is rolled in cabbage leaves or young grape leaves for a delicate flavour. We might sample the 100% Romanian Balmos, which is a traditional shepherd dish, a genuine tribute to the famous mamaliga, which will blow your mind when tasting it. It’s fatty, buttery and sticky, it’s soft and silky like cream but heavy and rich in taste, and it has tons of cheese in it! It’s incredibly easy to make if you have the right ingredients! Much more is to be sampled including Kilkenny’s own pretzels made and served here in Stefan Cadare’s ‘The House of Pretzels’ in Market Cross.
Our Polish Diaspora are making some of their beautiful dishes like pierogi (Polish dumplings with various fillings, such as cheese, meat, mushrooms, or fruits) which will leave your taste buds with an earthy sensation. Maybe you might get an opportunity to taste placki ziemniaczane (Polish potato pancakes grated with onion, carrots, or other vegetables, topped with sour cream or sugar).
Our friends from the Moroccan embassy have been with the Twilight Community Group at all of their conferences since 2018 and have a Charter of Friendship agreement between Twilight and the wonderful city of Tiznit. This friendship agreement would not have been possible without the incredible work, advice and guidance of the Moroccan Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Lahcen Mahraoui, a true friend of Twilight and of Ireland. Moroccan cuisine is usually a mix of Berber, Andalusi, Mediterranean and Arab cuisines, with minimal European (French and Spanish) and sub-Saharan influences. Like the rest of the Maghrebi cuisine, Moroccan cuisine has more in common with Middle Eastern cuisine than with the rest of Africa. The main Moroccan dish people are most familiar with is couscous. Lamb is the most commonly eaten meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a tagine with a wide selection of vegetables. Chicken is also very commonly used in tagines or roasted. They also use additional ingredients such as plums, boiled eggs, and lemon. Like their national food, the tagine has a unique taste of popular spices such as saffron, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cilantro, as well as ground red pepper. While at the Moroccan display, do not leave without tasting Moroccan tea and watch the skill of the pour. As Irish tea drinkers, your mind will be opened to a new and uniquely flavoured refreshing tea of this African Nation.
Our friends from India and Bangladesh offer their wonderful marinated food (usually meat) that has been soaked in liquid containing flavourful ingredients like herbs, spices, vinegar, and oil. Many of us still wrongly believe that all of these region’s dishes are hot and spicy. Well, you should try their Korma or Pasanda which are both creamy with a smooth and rich texture that usually comes from the incorporation of dairy, a full and rich flavour.
Food from South Sudan is a combination of fruity and earthy flavours, reminiscent of fresh soil. Succulent marinated meats, root vegetables, and mushrooms make dishes such as kissra, an experience not to be missed.
To mention all of the participants and possible dishes would take us up to a day in itself. The best way to experience these incredible dishes is to join us at the Ormonde Hotel on the 27th October. The event begins at 10am with coffee/tea on arrival and after the introductions, the sample of these European and world dishes will begin for your pleasure. Twilight Community Group’s growth is due to its incredible support from their top-class volunteers. This group is so important to the charity as they also contribute to the creation and deliverance of all of Twilight’s programmes.
‘Twilight International Cultural House’ is now nearing completion and doors will be opening to all communities in the very near future. This is the result of a five-year plan. It will have facilities for men, women, boys and girls in all of their diversity. These community based facilities will include a digital media training centre, classrooms, large meeting rooms, an intercultural library, a café dock with internet access, an open space for community activities such as Seniors Chair based exercise, and dance classes, and a meeting point for seniors and other groups to relax, chat and enjoy the company of others! Language courses for the younger members are also on the activity sheet.
Keep your eyes open and get the Kilkenny Observer weekly as Twilight Community Group’s announcements will be published in Kilkenny’s weekly free newspaper!
Twilight Community Group – 056 781 3105 / 086 325 5840