Exploring the Rich Flavors of the 2023 African Food and Drinks Festival Nigeria

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The 2023 edition of the biggest food festival in Africa, the African Food and Drinks Festival, was recently concluded in both Lagos and Abuja. The event which takes place yearly is proudly organized by the African Food Network.

This year, the event was hosted in 2 cities in Nigeria to the delight of the attendees, Lagos and Abuja. The Lagos edition of the festival was held on November 19th at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island while the Abuja edition took place on November 26th at Tobix Garden. Both festivals had a combined attendance of over twelve thousand people.

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Culinary Extravaganza

The heart of the African Food and Drinks Festival Nigeria was a culinary extravaganza that transported attendees on a gastronomic journey through various regions of Africa. A plethora of dishes representing the continent’s culinary diversity were showcased, offering festival-goers a sensory delight.

Sponsors such as Golden Penny Noodles, Hayche, foodblog, Malta Guinness, Imperial Blue, Rida and Airtel provided free samples and exclusive offers which enhanced the overall experience. Noteworthy exhibitors like Loya Milk and Addmie were also present in Lagos to engage and delight the enthusiastic crowd.

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Masterful Chefs and Cooking Demonstrations

A highlight of the festival in Lagos was the masterclass session hosted by Onga, featuring renowned Chef Giggles and Zen Master George. Their presentation skillfully fused African and Asian influences, allowing attendees to savor the unique blend of flavors. This interactive session not only showcased culinary expertise but also provided an opportunity for attendees to taste the final creations.

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Marketplace of Delights

The festival boasted a bustling marketplace with over 30 diverse vendors in both Lagos and Abuja. This hub of activity showcased an array of dishes, snacks, spices, condiments, drinks, and exotic ingredients unique to African cuisine. The marketplace was not just a place to indulge in delectable treats but also an avenue to appreciate the richness and variety of African culinary offerings.

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Cultural Showcases

Beyond the culinary delights, the African Food and Drinks Festival celebrated Africa’s vibrant cultural heritage. The opening act for Lagos was the Eyo Masquerades, donned in their signature white robes, who depicted the history of Lagos through their enthusiastic dance routines.

Later in the evening, the Lagos attendees were entertained by the Ogene Cultural Group, who mesmerized the audience with a performance narrating the story of the Igbo culture. These cultural showcases added a dynamic and enriching layer to the festival experience.

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Community Engagement

The festival actively engaged the community through various activities. In Lagos, the highly anticipated cooking competition was held, the segment was sponsored by Onga and the African Food Network. The segment not only showcased the impressive culinary skills of the chef but also featured a rap battle, won by the impressive ‘maninred.’ Games, a mini dancing competition led by DJ Elsie, and a clay moulding class further enriched the festival’s interactive nature.

In Abuja, the festival actively engaged the community through horse back riding, local foods, cultural displays, face painting, dance and eating competitions, and fireworks. The festival’s ambience and music was spearheaded by Dj Kendrick. Online participants also got real-time updates about the event on social media, so they weren’t left out of the fun.

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Global Fusion

While rooted in African traditions, the African Food and Drinks Festival embraced a global perspective, illustrating how African cuisine has evolved and influenced culinary trends worldwide. The fusion of flavors and techniques underscored the dynamic nature of African food, positioning it as a global culinary force.

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Cooking Competition

The African Food and Drinks Festival Lagos hosted the Jollof rice cooking competition, also sponsored by Onga, which saw five cooks competing to create the standout Jollof dish of the festival.

Online celebrity critics: yourfoodgirl, Paul Kezu, and Restaurant Critic, served as judges. A winner emerged with over 60% of the judges’ votes, and the audience had the opportunity to taste the contestants’ creations, offering valuable input.

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The 2023 African Food and Drinks Festival, proudly hosted by the African Food Network, was a resounding success. It provided a dynamic platform for cultural exchange, gastronomic exploration, and community building.

As the flavors linger and memories of the vibrant event endure, attendees departed with a profound appreciation for the diversity and richness of African cuisine. The African Food and Drinks Festival served as a testament to the power of food in fostering connections and celebrating cultural heritage.

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