Saudi minister talks media in Kuwait

Saudi minister talks media in Kuwait
Saudi minister talks media in Kuwait

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: A culinary evening hosted by the Danish embassy in Riyadh highlighted the best of the country’s cuisine, from imported cheeses to chocolate.

Liselotte Plesner, Denmark’s ambassador to the Kingdom, said: “Every one of us enjoys good food and we would like to bring this food to Saudi Arabia.”

Speaking at Wednesday’s event, she said the focus was on celebrating high-quality Danish food. She also underlined the importance of acknowledging the achievements of her country’s culinary scene over the last two decades.

“When I was younger, it was near to impossible to find a restaurant serving Danish food in Denmark,” she said. Italian, Chinese and Mexican cuisine was all available but “only a very few restaurants in Denmark would serve the traditional open sandwiches.”

In 2004, a group of chefs and foodies decided it was time for change. “They issued a manifesto on New Nordic Cuisine,” said the envoy. Two of the chefs involved were the founders of Noma, a restaurant with three Michelin stars serving Scandinavian food in Copenhagen.

“Fast forward, and in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, Noma was ranked the best restaurant in the world,” said Plesner.

“Today, Denmark sports 32 Michelin-starred restaurants, which together hold 45 Michelin stars.”

She stressed good quality food could bring people together.

“It is also our hope that this evening brings a bit of inspiration from Denmark to Saudi Arabia — from one Kingdom to the other — as KSA embarks on her ambitious journey to starkly increase tourism and to offer guests a high culinary level,” said the ambassador.

During the event, chef Christian Pedersen used freshly sourced ingredients to give visitors a taste of Denmark and shared insights into the dishes’ flavors. The evening was attended by several government officials, ambassadors, local chefs, culinary enthusiasts and media personalities.

The embassy partnered with the Danish Dairy Board for the experience. Resident cheese expert Rasmus Holmgard curated a selection of 16 cheeses, with samples for the guests to try. Sweets were showcased with chocolate-covered licorice from Lakrids by Bulow, a gourmet licorice and chocolate company. Other stands featured delicacies including steak, bread and more.

Plesner said: “Together, the chef, the Danish Dairy Board and the gourmet licorice generate a perfect combination of Danish top-class flavors.”

She added she knew some of the products, such as the aged cheeses and licorice, were likely to be new to those present, but “I have found that Saudis have such an appetite for new flavors. It’s something that (they) are maybe not used to but they are also very open.”

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