First Cheese Festival in Dubai Lures Top Chefs

The first ever “Cheese Festival” in Dubai gathered top chefs last month to share their knowledge at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.

The festival had many exhibitor counters with demonstrations and cooking sessions. Chefs, sommeliers, and cheese masters curated the classical taste of cheese-based dishes from Latin America, Italy, Eastern Europe, Greece, India, the Middle East, and New Zealand. The professionals joined the event to shed light on the ways they incorporate cheese with other ingredients.

“I add two completely different salads to the cheese: for the first one I add spicy dates, and air-dry beef like Bresaola mixed with soft fray cheese. For the second one, I add watermelon, tomato with blue cheese,” the head chef at the Renaissance hotel Mohanad Al-Shamali told the MBRSC post.

He also demonstrated, and discussed the different ingredients mixed with cheese to obtain different tastes, and was mainly responsible for covering the Middle Eastern concept of how cheese is incorporated in their food.

“This is the first annual cheese festival; however am not sure if it will be held next year,” a Carrefour promoter said.  

Besides the fact that the fest was all about sampling cheese, visitors also get to buy them: “This is the pork station. We are selling smoked pork ribs, cheese sausages, cold cuts, and cubano sandwiches, and all are topped with cheddar cheese to enhance their taste, ” the head chef of La Cigale, Valentino, told the MBRSC post.

Though cheese is only considered a rich source of nutrition in some places, it is traditional in other places. The chef at the “little India” booth said that spreading mozzarella cheese on the Naan bread is contemplated as a light meal in India.

Cheese could also be used as a dessert; in Turkey, kashkaval cheese is used inside the kunefeh, sweetened with the sugar syrup, and is usually served in Ramadan.

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Safaa Aly

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