As soon as I passed through the ‘gates’ the atmosphere was amazing. Despite it being a hot weekend the park was full of people chilling out on their picnic blankets, chairs and some have even set up tents to enjoy the festivity. There were seven stages in total, some larger than others, set up for performances, workshops and speakers forums. While WOMAD is a festival of music and arts, this year they have incorporated talks on saving the environment and the planet’s sustainability.
|Welcome to WOMAD|
Yalumba, Coopers Ale and Hills Cider had bars and tents set up across the venue selling their famous beers, ciders and lovely wine. People congregated around the Yalumba barrels under the umbrellas to enjoy a cool and refreshing drink while soaking in the atmosphere.
|One of the few Yalumba, Coopers and Hills Cider Tents|
|Refreshing Hills Apple Cider anyone? Or perhaps a glass of lovely Yalumba wine from the shelf behind?|
|That’s the way to chill at a festival|
Making my way across the park I came across this lovely Coopers Beer Garden. With a few food stalls by its side, this beer garden was well set up and feels just like your backyard with decking, greenery and a rustic feel thrown in. Great place to chill as the sun goes down.
The Internode Lounge was great, together with Cibo this internet and media hotspot was very popular. Grab a Cibo coffee and check your Facebook. There was also a photobooth for some fun with friends and family. Run out of battery because you’ve been there all day? No worry, charge your device at the charging station! Don’t even worry about being trapped in a tent and missing out on performances. Cibo provided lounge chairs under umbrellas so you could imagine you’re at the seaside but with musical performances. Cibo was also popular because on a hot day you need gelato!
|The Cibo Lounge and Tent|
Then came my favourite part. Food! There were over 40 stalls showcasing all types of food from around the world. Coupled with our Australian Bars it was a pretty perfect food village. Some of the mobile food vendors and trucks were ones we’ve frequently seen driving around Adelaide and some were restaurants setting up a stall for the festival. Some other food vendors travel from other states across Australia chasing festivals and markets. What a great job, travelling and introducing your prided food the people all across Australia. Nevertheless one thing was certain, there was a lot of yummy food and pretty much all cultures were represented.
|Food Of The World|
So often have we seen Burger Theory around Adelaide, frequenting Hindmarsh Square, Leigh Street, Victoria Square, North Terrace and East End. In fact they have been at The Depot over the Adelaide Fringe Festival period. Their menu is simple, two choices of burgers with or without chips and drink but let me tell you, their burgers are juicy, fresh and of high quality. Tasty stuff!
|The famous Burger Theory truck|
The girls from Baba:Q (the boys were busy BBQ-ing) promoting live flaming charcoal BBQ Mediterranean style. While they pop up in festivals and fiestas, they also cater for parties. It smelt real good, what the boys were cooking.
Soonta has one of the best Banh Mi in town. I can totally vouch for that. Bahn Mi (Vietnamese roll) is a crusty Vietnamese baguette filled with pickled vegetables, coriander and your choice of meat such as BBQ pork, crispy roast pork, chicken, meatloaf and more. Soonta does an awesome crispy roast pork Bahn Mi. Vermicelli noodle salad, cold rolls and spring rolls are also on offer. Do try Vietnamese Iced Coffee too if you ever get the chance, it’s strong and thick sweetened with condensed milk.
The Coconut Shack really drew my attention. I loved the theme and decor of the stall. They promote organic fresh drinking coconuts and smoothies. It had a very tropical and jungle feel, definitely organic and what I loved the most was the “chandelier” made from Coco Juice bottles. On a day this hot, I think she was very popular.
I also had the chance to chat to the girls from Cajun Kitchen serving Soul Food. I love soul food, an African-American cuisine with popular dishes such as Jambalaya and Gumbo. They also use the cajun spice a lot in their cooking. It’s really lovely, flavoursome, hearty food. Cajun Kitchen are actually from Melbourne and have come down specifically for WOMADelaide which just goes to show what this popular festival attracts.
Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts was another example of our festival attracting food vendors from across Australia. Originating from Byron Bay and predominantly appearing in markets, these guys make some amazing organic doughnuts. My personal favourite? The chocolate filled one of course!
The Passion 4 Juice stall totally caught my attention. I mean, with something this striking and colourful looking like a magic inflatable castle, how could I not be attracted to it. Not only did they sell juice but smoothies, wraps, fruit salad, yoghurt and waffles were also on the menu. These guys travel across Australia and the UK spreading their juice cheer promoting healthy living.
Hari Har Chai was another colourful stall that caught my eye. Based in Torquay, Victoria, these guys use the finest grade of Australian grown tea that is low in caffeine and grown chemical free to make six blends of authentic chai tea.
Sep-Lai was an extremely popular stall with a line everytime I walk pass. The aroma was amazing. I loved the look of the stall, very much Thai like with the colours of the Thai flag and Thai newspaper clippings pasted on the stand. Selling our favourites of Pad Thai, Larp Chicken, Red and Green Curry, Fish Cakes, Green Papaya Salad and more, no wonder this place was a hit. Sep-Lai Thai Street Food will be present at The Depot for Fork on The Road by Splash Adelaide this Sunday 17 March 2013 for the last day of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
By now I was getting a bit warm and bothered. It was then that I walked past this intriguing tent. The Holy Cow! Very cool Indian themed place selling chai, tea, coffee and other drinks, it was a lovely place under shade to chill and relax. There were mats on the floor in their tent for patrons to lounge about with a drink. Very cool!
|The Satay Hut was also very popular|
|The grilling kitchen|
After drooling over all the deliciously tempting food stalls, it was time to visit the Taste the World Tent so across the road I went to this side of the festival. It was pretty warm so of course I had to rehydrate right? Hills Cider tent conveniently located for your hydration needs. Water, soft drinks, cider, beer and wine for your choosing.
Taste the World is where cooking demonstrations were held by artists performing at WOMADelaide to introduce their food culture. Hosted by the Adelaide’s lovely Rosa Matto who has had over 30 years in the food industry and her own cooking school. I liked very much the concept of sharing cultures not only in music but also in food. Today in such a melting pot society, Australia has been a wonderful mix of culture with a vast array of cuisines available and these cooking demonstrations do not only introduce a dish but the history of their cuisine, food in their family and society, the food culture in their home country.
The first demo I caught was by Squad Massi of Algeria who now resides in France. Her music is also a big melting pot combining traditional Algerian style, flamenco, rock and fado. Her dish was Algerian Couscous with White Sauce. The original recipe used lamb cooked with zucchinis, turnips, chickpeas and some spices to make a lovely broth for the couscous. She learnt to make couscous the traditional way from her mother mentioning that it took her mum four hours but she claims it tastes much better than the instant microwave stuff we make these days.
|From the right: Rosa Matto , Squad Massi, Doug, Interpreter|
The other cooking demonstration I had the pleasure of sitting in on was by The Alaev Family. Their story is interesting and their culture is strong. Originating from Tajikistan, this family now resides in Israel and all three generations travel the world to introduce their music. The 80 year old Allo Alaev leads a percussion spectacular with all three generations embracing and modernizing Tajikistan music traditions. This family has great energy, many great drummers, violin, clarinet, accordion and horn ready to entertain with full enthusiasm. They have recently come back from a show in Las Vegas where they fed 250 people this dish that they demonstrated today. Bukharian Polov is a rice pilau dish by Bukharians who are Jews from Central Asia. According to Allo, he makes this for his family every Tuesday afternoon. It smelt absolutely amazing and tasted great. Although it went for longer than it should, we were thoroughly entertained with his stories and some performances from his children and grandchildren in between. We also got an insight of the third and youngest generation’s views on music, food, the family and touring. It was an amazingly tight knit family who celebrated the same things. The “Polov” was simply oil, water, onions, garlic, stock, julienne carrots, beef or lamb and rice with seasoning all layered, not stirred and mixed. The rice went in last before they put the lid on and left it to cook while we were entertained. The juices from the bottom steamed the rice and infused it with the most amazing flavour.
It was a great and fun eye opening experience at WOMADelaide this year. I am starting to understand the attraction. Look forward to next year!