June 21, 2019

A Warm Welcome to Tunisia

The Tunisian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Elyes Ghariani.

By Michael Bonté.

Exotic spices, like cardamom, cumin and harissa, wafted from the stand nearby the entrance of the restaurant. One only had to close one’s eyes to be transported to a souk in Tunisia.

A warm welcome indeed to the cuisine and hospitality of Tunisia at the monthly International Food Festival.

Once again the Crowne Plaza Hotel Promenade, Diplomat Magazine and in this case the Tunisian Embassy hosted this edition of the year long event featuring the gastronomy of a variety of countries.

For additional Kim Vermaat’s pictures, please open the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121611753@N07/albums/72157689702335700

Ambassador Ghariani and H.E. Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Tunisian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Elyes Ghariani opened his speech by welcoming the GM of the property Mr Patrick Aarsman, Diplomat Magazine and the Tunisian National Tourism Office. Furthermore he remarked that:  ‘Tunesia is graced with eight UNESCO World Heritage List Sites and we are looking forward to your visit this year’.

Among the guests were: H.E. Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of Morocco, H.E. Mr. Ahmad Al Mufleh, Ambassador of Jordan, H.E. Mrs. Odette Melono, Ambassador of Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Adam M.J. Sadiq, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mr. Magzhan Ilyassov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Abdel Ghaffar, Ambassador of Egypt, H.E Mr. Igor Popov, Ambassador of Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Dimitris Iliopolus, Ambassador of the EU, H.E. Mr. Fernando Bucheli Vargas, Ambassador of Ecuador, H.E Mr. Andrea Gustovic-Ercegovac, Ambassador of Croatia, H.E. Ms.  Irene Mkwawa -Kasyanju, Ambassador of Tanzania, H.E. Ms.  Mirsada Colakovic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E Mr. H.E. Haifa Aissami Madah, Ambassador of Venezuela. 

Mrs. Maja Popova and H.E. Igor Popov, Ambassador of Macedonia together with H.E. Dimitris Iliopolus, Ambassador of the European Union to the International Organizations.

Mr Mohamed Attia, the head  of the Tunisian National Tourism Office in The Hague remarked that: ‘the revival of tourism is the main focus and that the major Dutch tour operators were returning to the Tunisian market’.

Meanwhile the Founoun Lella Beya/Jouda Najah ensemble commenced their musical ministrations of the violin, oed and darboeka.

The guests were also anticipating their selection of starter dishes: A Tunisian grilled salad, Chicken soufflé, Brick with tuna, Shrimps with a spicy crust and Beef meatball confit. Two Tunisian wines, imported by Ms. Catherine Trepagne from Vin et Com in Brussels, a Cabernet Sauvignon Carthage and Domaine Clipea Chardonnay were  served.

Chef Wafik Belaid, Sido de Brabander, chef at Crowne Plaza and chef Haykel Ben Zaida

The buzz of lively conversation mixed with the lilting sounds of the music and the excellent wine created an amicable atmosphere.

It was time for the guests to stretch their legs as main courses had to be collected at the buffet.

Mr Patrick Aarsman, Crowne Plaza’s General Manager and Ambassadr Ghariani.

A feast awaited: Couscous with lamb, Rice with vegetables in the Jerba island style, Fish with lemon and capers, Chicken legs with olives, Chakchouka with lamb sausages, beans and pumpkin and Mloukhiya (black sauce) with beef. 

The last dish is made from the mloukhiya which is a savoury leaf which has bitter spinach notes. 

Founoun Lella Beya/Jouda Najah ensemble.

Chef Wafik Belaid mentioned that: ‘Mloukhiya was not a sexy dish but certainly a tasty one’. Mr Belaid is certainly a rock star in his region’s profession as he was the executive chef for the Tunisian football team and did a cooking show for Discovery Channel.

He worked for several International hotel chains in Tunisia and impressively showed together with chef Haykel Ben Zaida that he is in the top league.

The invitees to this event were ready now for the dessert. These were once again served at the table. A Pine Allepo cream and hazelnut cream concoction served in a glass.

Tunisian sweets were served on the side. As Nelly Furtado sang: ‘All good things come to an end’.

Fortunately for those wanting more of a different cuisine are in for a treat as Georgia will present their food and wine at the Crowne Plaza on April 12, 13 and 14.

So make your reservations quickly!.


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