Regional Cuisine – Sushi Restaurant Albany http://sushirestaurantalbany.com/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 13:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-1-150x150.png Regional Cuisine – Sushi Restaurant Albany http://sushirestaurantalbany.com/ 32 32 Things to do in Miami: Ciderbration at Ceiba Cider Works July 2, 2022 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/things-to-do-in-miami-ciderbration-at-ceiba-cider-works-july-2-2022/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/things-to-do-in-miami-ciderbration-at-ceiba-cider-works-july-2-2022/ Ceiba, one of Miami’s first dedicated cider and mead works, will celebrate summer with a “Ciderbration” – a new festival aimed at highlighting its specialty offerings. On Saturday, July 2, Ceiba – named after the tree native to many Latin American countries – will host its first annual Ciderbration at its dining hall in the […]]]>

Ceiba, one of Miami’s first dedicated cider and mead works, will celebrate summer with a “Ciderbration” – a new festival aimed at highlighting its specialty offerings.

On Saturday, July 2, Ceiba – named after the tree native to many Latin American countries – will host its first annual Ciderbration at its dining hall in the Bird Road Art District. The inaugural festival invites patrons 21 and older to sample Ceiba’s cider offerings via a free-entry, open-format event.

In 2020, Ceiba co-founders Eric Seidmon and head brewer Sean McClain began producing and selling Florida-inspired meads, ciders and fruit wines through online versions of their Miami-based production facility. . In December 2021, the duo – alongside the company’s five co-owners – opened Ceiba to the public, offering customers the chance to sample their products via an in-house dining room.

Now, the founders hope to give fans and newcomers a chance to sample one of their specialties – hard cider – with a new festival they say is unique to the region.

“We wanted to do something fun and different,” McClain said. new times. “So we decided to build a whole festival dedicated to ciders.”

Using local tropical fruits and Florida honey, McClain and Seidmon create drinks suited to the Florida lifestyle.

Although many of McClain’s recipes are traditional, he enjoys experimenting with different bases as well as honey, using the fruits he grew up with in Puerto Rico. As a result, Ceiba’s products are often tropically themed, ranging from fruit-flavored meads and ciders to a “Summer Juice” series of low-alcohol, easy-drinking sparkling fruit wines in various flavor combinations.

On July 2, McClain’s small-batch specialty ciders will be in the spotlight. Each cider is made from freshly squeezed juices that the brewer mixes with fresh apple cider, which he ferments for two to four weeks before being served as a hard cider that ranges from 4-10% ABV.

While customers can find several ciders on tap in Ceiba at any given time — including the Miami brewery’s flagship dry cider Sidra Sidra — Ciderbration will offer a plethora of Ceiba ciders, as well as several collaborations with breweries across southern California. Florida, all available for purchase. Featured tropical fruits will include guanabana, passion fruit, mango and coconut.

McClain says to keep an eye out for an Unseen Creatures collaboration made with vanilla, hibiscus and guava and a Spanish Marie collaboration made with freshly squeezed green apples and cranberries aged on whiskey sticks.

Vendors will be on hand, as will live music from DJ GuacDNB and food from @JennyWithThePot and @LuchaDough.

“Ciders are easy to drink and refreshing,” says Seidmon. “We think they’re perfect for this warm weather and wanted an exciting and somewhat unique platform to share them. We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone who can.”

cider house. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday July 2 in Ceiba, 4233 SW 75th Avenue, Miami; 305-982-7672; ceibasfl.com. Free entry.

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THE S.PELLEGRINO YOUNG CHEF ACADEMY PRESENTS THE WORLD JURY FOR THE GRAND FINAL OF THE S.PELLEGRINO YOUNG CHEF ACADEMY 2022-23 COMPETITION https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-s-pellegrino-young-chef-academy-presents-the-world-jury-for-the-grand-final-of-the-s-pellegrino-young-chef-academy-2022-23-competition/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-s-pellegrino-young-chef-academy-presents-the-world-jury-for-the-grand-final-of-the-s-pellegrino-young-chef-academy-2022-23-competition/ The Competition will offer young chefs under the age of 30 a unique opportunity to enter the Academy and embark on an inspiring and educational journey. It’s time up June 30, 2022 to enter the Contest. MILAN, June 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy is proud to announce the “Seven Sages“, the […]]]>

The Competition will offer young chefs under the age of 30 a unique opportunity to enter the Academy and embark on an inspiring and educational journey. It’s time up June 30, 2022 to enter the Contest.

MILAN, June 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy is proud to announce the “Seven Sages“, the jurors who will judge the Grand Final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23taking place in Milano by September 2023.

To view the multimedia press release, please click on:
https://www.multivu.com/players/uk/9059851-s-pellegrino-young-chef-academy-presents-the-global-jury-for-competition/

During the regional finals phase, 170 young chefs from around the world will compete in live cooking competitions in front of a local jury from participating countries in the fifteen different regions. After working closely with their respective mentors to perfect their recipes, the regional finalists will demonstrate their skills in preparing their signature dishes in front of the Seven Sages.

Believing that the passion, culture, innovation and ethics behind a dish will make the difference for a chef of tomorrow, the seven giants of world gastronomy will be entrusted with the great responsibility of pooling their intuition and knowledge to select and crown the final winner. The jury will honor brilliant talents capable of pushing the boundaries of gastronomy and inspiring the younger generation of chefs with their personal visions and opinions.

The international jury of this edition line-up international chefs is composed of:

1. Eneko Atxa, the Basque chef has 5 Michelin stars thanks to his restaurants Azurmendi and ENEKO. With his constant commitment to health, solidarity and sustainability, he has received numerous sustainability awards. Its cultural roots, the link with the territory and its products, the traditional Basque recipes have been and remain the foundations of its creations. About mentoring, he says: “Our junior chefs start very young with us and learn with us, so educating them on old Basque recipes and traditions is crucial, as well as showing them how to use new tools that allow us to work better. My advice to young talents is to working hard, with a lot of enthusiasm, perseverance, loving the territory and understanding that the food will speak about the chef, who is, his territory and his culture.”

2. Ricardo Camanini, he is one of the chefs who best understands how to express the new Italian cuisine with technique, elegance, essence and vision. Michelin star since 2014, barely 8 months after the opening of its Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, has a solid culinary base resulting from the teachings of Gualtiero Marchesithen refined with Raimond Blanc at the Manoir aux Quat Saison, 2 Michelin stars, and by the pair of Alain Ducasse and Jean Louis at The Grand Cascade at Paris. To young leaders, he says, “Creativity is nothing more than the sum of a lot of information that we have received over a lifetime and that we have been able to interpret. Pirandello once said that creativity is like a slice of bread: solid food on which you can spread jam. So, let’s remember that creativity and certain results are the culmination of a long journey as an artisan, based on time, constancy and perseverance.”

3. Helene Darroze, as a fourth-generation chef, cooking will always be in Hélène Darroze’s blood. Today, she runs a three-star Michelin restaurant in The Connaught hotel at Londontwo Michelin stars for “Marsan” in Paris and a Michelin star in Provence for “Hélène Darroze at Villa La Coste” in France. In addition to being recognized by Michelin, she received the Veuve Clicquot award for best female chef 2015 among the 50 best restaurants in the world. Finally, she has been a judge on the hit TV series “Top Chef” since 2015. Her creative flair brings self-expression that uses emotion as a starting point and is bound by the common thread of authenticity, resulting in dishes and complete menus. of instinct and emotion, while remaining faithful and sensitive to the absolute quality of their basic ingredients. “Believe in you, believe in your dreams, live your passion, the sky is the limit

4. Vicky Lau, she forged an unconventional path to fine dining after giving up her career in advertising and channeling her creative ambitions into professional cooking. She began her career with an apprenticeship at Cépage before going freelance and opening the TATE dining room in 2012. Last year, she made history by becoming the first female chef in Asia receive two Michelin stars for her hong kong Hong Kong Macau 2021 Michelin Guide restaurant. To young talent, she says, “As a chef, it is important to prepare beautiful and delicious dishes, but we also seek more meaning in life. Success does not only depend on you, but also on the positive impact you can have on the society. This is what we should all aspire to.”

5. Pia Leon, be on top Latin America Listed as one of the top 50 restaurants for three consecutive years and voted one of the world’s top ten restaurants for five consecutive years. She co-owns Central with her husband Virgilio Martínez and ran the kitchen there for a decade, before deciding to go her own way with Kjolle. The restaurant is named after a native flowering tree that grows at extreme altitudes. He was ranked 21st on the list of Latin America 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 and received the award for Best New Entry. To young minds she says: “It can be difficult sometimes, but if you have the will and know what you want, things happen in their time and at the right time. The most important thing for me is the people around you and who accompany you in your life. missions and goals.”

6. Julien Royer, he is the chef-owner of Odette, a three-star Michelin modern French restaurant at the National Gallery Singapore. Established in collaboration with The Lo & Behold Group, Odette offers an ever-changing menu guided by Royer’s longstanding respect for seasonality, terroir and artisanal products from small producers around the world. The name Odette is a tribute to Royer’s grandmother, who was one of his greatest influences in life and in the kitchen. To young talents he says, “The people you meet along the way are essential to your growth. Never stop learning from your peers, partners, suppliers, collaborators and other creators. It is important to constantly expand your view of the world and to open to other perspectives. Creating an experience is a collective effort, and a great chef is only as great as the team that supports and believes in him, working together in harmony to create incredible experiences for our guests.”

seven. Nancy Silverton, she is an American chef, baker and author, who received the Outstanding Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2014 for her role in popularizing sourdough and artisan bread in United States. Silverton is co-owner of the Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza, as well as Pizzeria Mozza, Mozza2Go, chi SPACCA, Pizzette and The Barish in Los Angeles. His advice to young talents is, “I recognized my vocation very early on. I still remember that day: I followed the recipe for a dish as simple as lentil bread or steamed vegetables and melted cheese, chef’s knife in hand, pages of my cookbook opened, and I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’ Since then, my path has never changed. Becoming a chef is incredibly hard work. Only start this professional path if it is in your heart and soul.

The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition will provide a unique opportunity for young chefs to participate in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy. Within the inspiring community, they will connect with the most influential and renowned members of the foodie world and receive an empowering program of educational, mentorship and experiential opportunities. Young chefs under the age of 30 will have the chance to register for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2022-23 competition at www.sanpellegrinoyoungchefacademy.com until June 30, 2022, by providing information about themselves and their profession and by submitting the recipe for a signature dish that expresses their personal vision, their unique know-how and their creativity. As in previous editions, applications will be assessed during the first selection phase by ALMA, the International School of Italian Culinary Arts. ALMA will establish a pre-selection of Young Chefs who will participate in one of the 15 Regional Finals that will take place around the world in the second half of 2022.

To learn more about the initiative, please visit: www.sanpellegrinoyoungchefacademy.com.

About thePellegrino and Acqua Panna

S.Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Drinks are international brands of Sanpellegrino SpA, based in Milan, Italy. Distributed in more than 150 countries through branches and distributors on five continents, these products represent excellence in quality from their origins and perfectly interpret Italian style throughout the world as a synthesis of pleasure, health and well-being. Founded in 1899, Sanpellegrino SpA is the leading company in the beverage sector in Italy with its range of mineral waters, non-alcoholic aperitifs, drinks and iced teas. As a major Italian mineral water producer, it has always been committed to improving this essential good for the planet and works responsibly and passionately to ensure a secure future for this resource.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1840622/S_Pellegrino_Seven_Sages.jpg

THE SEVEN SAGES FOR THE GRAND FINAL OF THE S.PELLEGRINO YOUNG CHEF ACADEMY 2022-23 COMPETITION

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The Summer Fancy Food Show features 22 Brazilian exhibitors https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-summer-fancy-food-show-features-22-brazilian-exhibitors/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 13:01:07 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-summer-fancy-food-show-features-22-brazilian-exhibitors/ ApexBrasil, Brazil’s trade and investment promotion agency, along with Uvibra, BSCA and Abrafrutas, is sponsoring 22 Brazilian food and beverage companies to showcase their products and unique offerings at the Summer Fancy Food Show, taking place this week at the Javits Center in New York. This year’s event is expected to attract more than 10,000 […]]]>

ApexBrasil, Brazil’s trade and investment promotion agency, along with Uvibra, BSCA and Abrafrutas, is sponsoring 22 Brazilian food and beverage companies to showcase their products and unique offerings at the Summer Fancy Food Show, taking place this week at the Javits Center in New York.

This year’s event is expected to attract more than 10,000 qualified buyers and industry professionals who will have the opportunity to connect in person with the exhibiting national and international brands and producers to discover the latest innovations in foods and specialty drinks, trends and ideas. of the whole world.

“Brazilian cuisine is unique in so many ways, and we’re thrilled to be back in New York to showcase the best of our country’s specialty food and beverage offerings,” said Liane Werneck, head of ApexBrasil office in Miami. “Some people still think of Brazil for its grilled meats, but the country has become a real culinary hub. The companies we are supporting this week at Summer Fancy Food are outstanding examples of the diversity of Brazilian flavors. From açaí , it can only be found in Brazil, from panettone cakes inspired by the traditional Italian delicacy, to regional chocolates and cheeses – and even collagen-infused tea – Brazil has a lot to offer the global healthcare industry. food and drink.”

“Our goal at Summer Fancy Food is to connect with the thousands of U.S. buyers and distributors in attendance, especially those seeking unparalleled products from a country endowed with exceptional natural resources and export capabilities. Our vision of the future is for Brazilian cuisine and beverages to a deserved and consolidated presence in the specialty food scene, globally.”

Brazil has become one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world over the past two decades. In fact, Brazil has become the world’s second largest supplier of food and agricultural products, behind only the United States, and the country is projected and ready to contribute around 40% of global food production by 2050; this would position Brazil as the premier supplier to meet the growing global demand for food security.

In addition, currently, food and beverage exports represent 21.1% of Brazil’s total GDP – but with agricultural production expected to increase by 266% in 40 years through the use of emerging technologies and investments. in research and development, the Brazilian food and beverage sector is in full development. years to come to contribute exponentially to the country’s economic growth.

Brazilian companies exhibiting at the Summer Fancy Food Show, located in the Brazilian Pavilion in booths 1800-1830, will display food products and provide samples to attendees, increasing awareness of Brazilian food specialties to US and international audiences.

For more information:
Savanna Fuller
On behalf of ApexBrasil in the United States
Such. : +1-808-317-8758
Savanna.Fuller@ruderfinn.com

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What to see and do in bustling Berlin, Germany https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/what-to-see-and-do-in-bustling-berlin-germany/ Sat, 11 Jun 2022 23:03:47 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/what-to-see-and-do-in-bustling-berlin-germany/ The River Spree is the perfect place to cycle, walk or enjoy a German beer in the sun. Photo/Getty Images Superb museums and a multicultural culinary scene characterize the exciting German capital, writes Brett Atkinson. What to see: With around 170 different museums, Berlin is one of Europe’s capitals of history and culture. Highlights of […]]]>

The River Spree is the perfect place to cycle, walk or enjoy a German beer in the sun. Photo/Getty Images

Superb museums and a multicultural culinary scene characterize the exciting German capital, writes Brett Atkinson.

What to see:

With around 170 different museums, Berlin is one of Europe’s capitals of history and culture. Highlights of Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage destination in the River Spree, include five different world-class institutions spanning over 6,000 years of history. Classical sculpture and architecture from Greece, Rome and the Middle East are on display at the Pergamonmuseum – including the reconstructed blue and golden glory of the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon – while the repository of Egyptian wonders from the Neues Museum includes a 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti.

Berlin is full of museums and historical sites, including the Brandenburg Gate.  Photo/Getty Images
Berlin is full of museums and historical sites, including the Brandenburg Gate. Photo/Getty Images

More contemporary history is on display at Museum Island’s DDR Museum, offering fascinating and often poignant slices of life under socialism in the East German Deutsche Demokratische Republik from 1949 to 1990. There’s even a Trabant (“Trabi “), the East German compact car had to wait years to buy. Take him on a virtual tour of a neighborhood in East Berlin.

To better understand the history of East Germany in the 20th century, visit the Stasimuseum, an intriguing insight into the ever-present control and surveillance powers of the Ministry of State Security.

North of the river in Friedrichshain, the East Side Gallery showcases murals and street art along a 1.3 km stretch of the Berlin Wall that divided the city from 1961 to 1989. Berlin’s essential landmarks recalling the genocide of European Jews during World War II include the moving Holocaust Memorial and Judisches Museum, expanded and reopened in mid-2020.

The East Side Gallery features vibrant murals and street art on a section of the former Berlin Wall.  Photo/Getty Images
The East Side Gallery features vibrant murals and street art on a section of the former Berlin Wall. Photo/Getty Images

What to do:

For ardent fans of East German “Trabi” cars – vehicles both loved and mocked – Trabi Safari offers guided tours of the city. Look forward to squeezing into (very) compact front seats, cruising (slowly) past the open-air color and art of the East Side Gallery, and occasionally getting a wry nudge from the drivers of Mercedes, Audi and BMW when stopped at traffic lights.

Loved and mocked in equal measure, Trabi compact cars are the perfect way to (slowly) see the sights of the city.  Photo/Getty Images
Loved and mocked in equal measure, Trabi compact cars are the perfect way to (slowly) see the sights of the city. Photo/Getty Images

Tours exploring Berlin with a focus on food and drink are offered by Fork & Walk Food Tours. Book for the Inside Berlin experience: East Meets West in Berlin’s “Little Istanbul” district of Kreuzberg, and also north across the Spree to Friedrichshain for local craft beer, street food and the art of more colorful street.

Specialist tour operators include Berlin Unterwelten exploring the city’s underground history and World War II bunkers, and Refugee Voices Tours, learning about the city with Syrian refugees and exploring historical parallels between the 20th and 21st centuries.

Where to eat:

Two Berlin neighborhoods are must-visit destinations for the city’s best restaurants. Stretched along the Landwehrkanal, the Turkischer Markt is tasty evidence of Kreuzberg as the traditional home of Berlin’s Turkish population, and in recent years newcomers from Syria and Iraq have also expanded the culinary mix of the region. Recommended restaurants include Fes Turkish BBQ and Cafe Mugrabi for modern flavors influenced by Lebanese and Israeli cuisine. Baklava and syrupy kunefe are the star desserts at Damaskus Konditorei.

For a modern take on traditional German dishes, always highlighting seasonal and regional produce, head to Kreuzberg’s Ora, an elegant combination of wine bar and bistro housed in a restored 19th-century pharmacy.

North of the river in Friedrichshain, the restaurant at the trendy Hotel Michelberger is informed by all that has been harvested from its own “regenerative food forest” on the outskirts of Berlin. Michelberger’s chefs also work closely with local pickers and hunters to craft menu highlights. Dinner consists of around 6-8 plates, while Michelberger’s brunch buffet is a great way to start the day.

Where to drink:

Berliner weisse, a tangy, low-alcohol wheat beer, is a refreshing favorite in the warmer months. Try it with a dash of himbeersirup (raspberry syrup) in most coffees and beers. Look for Berliner Kindl Weisse on the menu and ask for “mit Schuss” (“with syrup”) when ordering.

From serene sidewalk cafes to bustling markets, there are plenty of places to sample Berlin's multicultural cuisine.  Photo/Getty Images
From serene sidewalk cafes to bustling markets, there are plenty of places to sample Berlin’s multicultural cuisine. Photo/Getty Images

Versions of Berlin’s traditional beer are made by a few of Berlin’s craft breweries, but the focus is usually on hoppy IPAs, robust stouts, and hazy pale ales. Popular destinations for travel enthusiasts include the Protokoll Taproom in the bohemian district of Friedrichshain and Heidenpeters, south across the River Spree in the multicultural district of Kreuzberg, and part of the Markthalle Neun, a renovated food market with stalls serving cuisine from around the world. The market’s regular Street Food Thursday events attract curious foodies from all over the city.

Serving frosty glasses of pilsner and wheat beer, Schleusenkrug’s canalside location is a classic Berlin biergarten (beer garden) experience. You will probably also want to order a currywurst sausage.

For a less polished experience, adjourn for a cocktail in Mr. Susan’s elegant underground location. Thanks to the owners’ travels, everything from Mexican mezcal to Korean soju is among the ingredients of one of the best cocktail lists in town.

For a good coffee, head to one of The Barn Roastery’s 10 Berlin locations.

Where to stay:

Combining a friendly hostel, stylish hotel rooms and spacious apartments, Circus Berlin is north of the river and a short walk from Museum Island. An in-house microbrewery and the ability to join exclusive guest-only walking tours are other highlights.

Getting there and getting around

For New Zealand travelers, Berlin is accessible by direct flights from Doha with Qatar Airways. Scoot, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airline, offers direct flights from Singapore.

Find out more at visitberlin.de

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A Journey Through Austin’s Knafeh Offerings with My Arab Dad: A Taste of Home, Connection, and Knafeh – Food https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/a-journey-through-austins-knafeh-offerings-with-my-arab-dad-a-taste-of-home-connection-and-knafeh-food/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 21:29:45 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/a-journey-through-austins-knafeh-offerings-with-my-arab-dad-a-taste-of-home-connection-and-knafeh-food/ Dad with knafeh at Peace Bakery & Deli (Photos by Yasmin Diallo Turk) My father was born in Jerusalem in 1938 and came to the United States as a teenager. Today, more than 70 years after his arrival in America, he still has a passion for the nostalgic Mediterranean flavors of his childhood. At 84, […]]]>

Dad with knafeh at Peace Bakery & Deli (Photos by Yasmin Diallo Turk)

My father was born in Jerusalem in 1938 and came to the United States as a teenager. Today, more than 70 years after his arrival in America, he still has a passion for the nostalgic Mediterranean flavors of his childhood.

At 84, he decided it was time to eat dessert first. One of his all-time favorites is knafeh (sometimes spelled “kanafa” or “kunafee”), a rich dessert usually made with shredded filo pastry covered with cheeses (or other fillings) then dipped in a simple syrup. Depending on regional preferences, it can be bright orange, topped with crushed pistachios, and contain a dash of orange blossom water.

With my dad staying at our multi-generational home for part of the year, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend some one-on-one time with him than enjoying knafeh at four locations around Austin.

My dad loves knafeh so much that one of my favorite childhood memories with him is when he made the effort to spend an afternoon teaching me how to make it in our kitchen at home when I was 11 years old. At that time, it was very rare to find prepared filo pastry and it was like such a rare treat. In some places outside of the Middle East, it can still be hard to find. Even today, in the international Facebook group Mama’s Palestinian Kitchen, members from many places are posting asking what they can use as a substitute for dough when it’s not available in their area.

In Austin, however, there are plenty of places to find shredded filo pastry and at least four places to find freshly made knafeh. With my dad staying at our multi-generational home for part of the year, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend some one-on-one time with him than enjoying knafeh at each of the Austin locations. Food has a special way of bringing out the storyteller in my dad, and that’s what I’m here for.

Our first stop on this knafeh tour was a place I’ve wanted to try since it opened in early March this year, Baklawa House (10205 N.Lamar #135, baklava-house.com). The only Arabic candy store in Austin, Baklava House is a nod to traditional Middle Eastern stores that offer a variety of candies, some I had never tried even in my time living. in my father’s country. Located in a strip mall in North Lamar, Baklava House is stocked with several types of baklava, sesame cookies and a melt-in-your-mouth semolina butter cookie called ghoraibah sold by the pound and in prepackaged gift trays. From the moment we walked through the doors of Baklava House, owner Mohammed Tabbaa made us feel welcome. We weren’t in the store five minutes before he handed us samples. The hospitality was undeniable which is essential to my dad before he tasted anything.

There are two main types of knafeh: smooth (naa’meh) and coarse (khishneh). Baklava House knafeh is made to order; during our visit we tried the smooth variety. Tabbaa says they make less common varieties of knafeh, including Nutella, cream and ice cream fillings. Tabbaa opened his cafe and bakery because Austin had no Middle Eastern confectionery. About knafeh, he said, “I had to have knafeh on the menu because it’s one of the most famous and delicious sweets in the world.”

Homemade Knafeh Baklava

My father’s opinion: “Baklava House has the kind of atmosphere where the lovely variety of desserts and hospitality give the knafeh its best taste. The knafeh had a good pull on the melted cheese when the fork lifted it. The taste was familiar and traditional and the quantity of pistachios was generous.”

After a few days of rest following our visit to Baklava House, we headed to one of my favorite places for Middle Eastern cuisine: Almarah Mediterranean cuisine (12129 RR 620 N. #450, almarahgrill.com). This restaurant is beloved among Austin’s Arab community. It offers sit-down meals and its menu features three different types of knafeh: the traditional orange-colored coarse knafeh topped with crushed pistachios, the cream-filled coarse knafeh, and a smooth type called Nabulsiya in reference to the city of Nablus, which is famous for this dessert.

We ordered all three varieties, along with Turkish coffee to go with them. I drink my unsweetened Turkish coffee when I have dessert, but my dad is a firm believer that sweetened coffee goes best with sweet desserts. His smile when he saw three plates of knafeh in front of him was priceless. He took the tasting seriously and, one by one, gave each serving its own time.

My father’s opinion: “The cream-filled knafeh was just the right amount of sweetness. The texture of the coarse shredded filo pastry had the right amount of crunch. Overall, it was a winning knafeh. The traditional knafeh and Nabulsiya had the stretchy cheese which is the telltale sign of good knafeh, but had a bit more syrup than some might prefer. I would definitely have all three again.”

Then we visited a Palestinian restaurant and bakery called Peace Bakery & Deli (11220 N. Lamar, peacebakerydeliaustin.com), which bakes fresh pita, sweets, salad, dips, many vegetarian offerings, and shawarma every day. This place, run by owner Nuha Hammad and her family, is the type that can feel right at home not only for the flavors but also for the customer service. They are always ready to help me decide what to taste on a given day. On a recent visit, while choosing from many delicious pastries, the owner’s son informed me that his mother had just made a new platter of a semolina and almond cake called basbousa and that I should not not let it pass. These are exactly the kinds of tips that make a difference in my experience.

Peace Bakery makes two types of knafeh: cheese-filled and cream-filled. On the day we visited, this restaurant had a large platter of traditional knafeh ready to go alongside their daily food and baked goods offerings. Ms. Hammad says of her knafeh, “It’s actually my own recipe that I created when I opened the restaurant. Over the past 9 years, I’ve been able to perfect it.” She warmed up our knafeh slices for us and we included Turkish coffee in our order to complete our knafeh tasting. This knafeh was especially reminiscent of the knafeh that my father had throughout his life. It was the familiar comfort food he loves. The filo was orange, the cheese was well balanced and the syrup was sweet.

My father’s opinion: “Good solid knafeh. Generous portion and well matched with Turkish coffee.” The filo wasn’t as crispy as he wanted, but would return to Peace Bakery any day of the week for the knafeh and the many other options they have.

Our final stop on this Austin knafeh tour was a restaurant on Oltorf called Cafe Mezze (504 W. Oltorf, mezzecafeaustin.com). We did things a little differently this time around and chose both the traditional coarse knafeh and a chocolate filled version. They didn’t have any syrup with them, which seemed like a red flag, but it was actually a hit with my dad. He liked the less sweet version. He had a nice filo crunch, just the way he likes it. As someone who doesn’t like chocolate, he didn’t particularly like the non-traditional version of knafeh. It didn’t go to waste, however, as my kids with palates less accustomed to traditional knafeh thoroughly enjoyed it.

My father’s opinion: “The crunch on the knafeh from Mezze Cafe was the winner of all the knafeh we tried. It wasn’t drenched in syrup, but it’s still a great dessert.” Chocolate isn’t for knafeh in my dad’s book, but he was glad his grandkids were keen on it.

At the end of our knafeh tour of Austin, all samples were approved by Arab dad. Even bigger than the knafeh itself was the time we spent together eating delicious treats, talking about the memories those beautiful experiences evoked for both of us, and creating new memories centered around the knafeh. For our next culinary adventure, my dad asked for his second favorite dessert: apple pie.

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Delight as Coventry restaurant wins gong at Food Awards England 2022 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/delight-as-coventry-restaurant-wins-gong-at-food-awards-england-2022/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 04:00:00 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/delight-as-coventry-restaurant-wins-gong-at-food-awards-england-2022/ A Coventry restaurant celebrates after tasting success at a national awards ceremony. Blue orchid, in Les Buttes, was the only restaurant in Coventry and Warwickshire, out of eight finalists, to leave The Food Awards England 2022 with a trophy after being nominatedBest Oriental establishment in the Midlands. The restaurant, which serves Thai and Indian cuisine, […]]]>

A Coventry restaurant celebrates after tasting success at a national awards ceremony. Blue orchid, in Les Buttes, was the only restaurant in Coventry and Warwickshire, out of eight finalists, to leave The Food Awards England 2022 with a trophy after being nominatedBest Oriental establishment in the Midlands.

The restaurant, which serves Thai and Indian cuisine, however, missed out on the national title of Zen Restaurant in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. Saif Ali, director and owner of Blue Orchid, said the price had almost made all the lockdown struggles worth it.

“We are very happy and it is just very nice to be recognized in this way,” Mr Ali told CoventryLive. “Lockdown was a very difficult time. But we did our best to energize the business afterwards and now we have this award to show for it.”

READ MORE: What’s happening in Coventry this week, including Martin Kemp, Guz Khan and Rosie Jones

Blue Orchid has been in the business for about 15 years, but Saif only took over running the restaurant from his cousin about four years ago when his relative started a business in Birmingham. “It’s the same name and in some ways the same restaurant,” Saif added.

“It’s popular in Coventry because there aren’t many Thai restaurants in the city. A lot of people asked if we could serve Indian food as well, so we expanded to cover Indian food as well. “

Sadly, the other seven finalists from our region left empty-handed from last night’s ceremony at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel. Nailcote Hall in Berkswell, on the outskirts of Coventry, Coventry-based Brackenwood and Selminas Restaurant & Bar in Spon Street failed in the Hotel Restaurant, Catering and Best Mexican Establishment categories respectively.



The Phad Khing (sautéed ginger) dish at Coventry’s award-winning Blue Orchid restaurant

Like Coventry, Warwickshire had four regional finalists hoping to qualify for a shot at national honour. The Fourteas in Stratford, recently named one of the UK’s top ten tea rooms thanks to its five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, was featured in the West Midlands Café/Bistro of the Year section and The Pickled Crab in Warwick was in the running for the best seafood establishment in the Midlands.

Henley Ice Cream in Henley-in-Arden was hoping to win Dessert Outlet of the Year and Warwick’s Dough & Brew was aiming for a share of recognition as Pizza Restaurant of the Year. Now in its seventh year, the Food Awards England celebrate “everything about food by recognizing and rewarding the very best servers, specialists and manufacturing”.

Speaking ahead of the awards night, a spokesperson said: “The finalists were voted for by the public for providing authentic recipes and unique dishes to their diners, creating memorable experiences for residents and residents. visitors. Without a doubt, there are incredible specialists across the country, who know how to offer quality service, delicious cuisine and meet the expectations of their diners. It is these professionals that we wish to reward.”

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Layering stories: Alexandra Antoine connects with the African diaspora through her artistic practice https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/layering-stories-alexandra-antoine-connects-with-the-african-diaspora-through-her-artistic-practice/ Mon, 06 Jun 2022 12:00:06 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/layering-stories-alexandra-antoine-connects-with-the-african-diaspora-through-her-artistic-practice/ “Self-portrait”, 2020, acrylic and hand-sewn pearl sequins on canvas/Photo: Alexandra Antoine For artist and educator Alexandra Antoine, learning about traditional art practices has been a pathway to building intergenerational connections not just in Chicago, but around the world. To date, his creative talents have been cultivated across the African continent in Mali, Benin and Kenya, […]]]>

“Self-portrait”, 2020, acrylic and hand-sewn pearl sequins on canvas/Photo: Alexandra Antoine

For artist and educator Alexandra Antoine, learning about traditional art practices has been a pathway to building intergenerational connections not just in Chicago, but around the world. To date, his creative talents have been cultivated across the African continent in Mali, Benin and Kenya, and across the Caribbean in Cuba and Haiti.

“When I travel, I see what it takes to learn the art from traditional masters. Learning from craftsmen who hail from a specific region is more observational and requires active listening. You have to be able to watch, listen , to feel and be present in front of the work in front of you”, explains Antoine.

“Visions of growth”, collage on archival paper, 11 x 15 in, 2021

Nurturing his skills in art forms passed down for generations and across cultures – including woodworking, weaving, collage, beadwork, painting and printmaking – Antoine often depicts people from the diaspora African in the larger narrative of her Haitian identity. She attributes her interest in traditional artistic practices to her maternal grandparents, whom she visited regularly in her family’s place of origin in Léogâne, Haiti, a coastal community west of the country’s capital in Port. -to the Prince.

In addition to his artistic practice, Antoine is also a certified teacher in Illinois. “I wanted to teach students about art within the African diaspora and a lot of my curriculum was global,” says Antoine, retracing how she grew up as an educator. “With all the global experiences I’ve had, it was important to me to share that knowledge with students, especially at the predominantly African-American schools where I’ve taught, like Dett Elementary, North Lawndale College Prep, and Pirie Elementary. It is important that students see art that represents you.

Antoine grew up in Miami and moved to Chicago in 2012 to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She graduated with a degree in fine arts, majoring in arts education, in 2014. She didn’t know anyone in the city when she first moved there, but expanded her network by volunteering and by exhibiting his work in institutions such as the Artists’ Cooperative. Residency & Exhibitions (ACRE), the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, the South Side Community Art Center, Spudnik Press and the Stony Island Arts Bank.

“Holding a bitter melon”, photography, 2021/Photo: Alexandra Antoine

Much of the work in her installations are handmade pieces that explore the intersection of food, agriculture and visual culture – an interest that stems from childhood experiences in Haiti. “My grandfather was a farmer all his life. His house is where I saw chickens, horses, goats, lifebloods of farming and agriculture. They were part of my decor. Incorporating agriculture into my artistic practice definitely seems to come full circle,” says Antoine.

Her “I Followed the Drinking Gourd and it Led Me to Myself/Love/Healing/Community” screenprint collection, developed during a residency at Spudnik Press, shows a series of images and patterns found in the kitchen of the African diaspora to honor the cooking methods, visual details and culinary stories and traditions associated with popular ingredients such as hibiscus, okra or black-eyed peas. Each image contains intricate layers of symbols and photographs that reflect the natural landscape and agriculture around the world. The composition is meant to replicate how intimate details, such as scents and surfaces, take shape in memory. “A lot of foods in countries on the African continent and the Caribbean contain the same ingredients, but while traveling I noticed that they were prepared in different ways,” she says. “It showed me that while they may have specific memories for me, many ingredients and cultures have traveled through the diaspora. Learning about cultures and their history allows me to understand people’s cultures.

“Migration: Revolution”, collage on archival paper/Photo: Alexandra Antoine

In 2019, her creative practice expanded through a residency with the Urban Growers’ Collective (UGC), a black-led nonprofit farm in Chicago working to build a fairer local food system. and fair.

Throughout the year, Antoine worked with the organization to provide art education classes for teenagers that included printmaking lessons in addition to gardening techniques. “I approached this residency considering the farm as my studio and studying how art can be used as a tool for engagement,” explains Antoine.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Antoine brought this concept to life. Food company Barilla, in partnership with UGC, commissioned him to design the exterior of a bus as part of the relaunch of UGC’s Fresh Moves Mobile Market program, which provides BIPOC communities hardest hit by the pandemic more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce, five days a week, year-round. Customers board the bus and fill their bags with local vegetables, produce and fruit. Antoine’s design aimed to bring joy, emotion and cultural connection to the communities served by the bus.

“The intent I had for the food collages was to showcase communities of color, especially black and neighborhood, in the context of abundance and healthy food,” Antoine explains. “The images go against the negative stereotypes of our communities who don’t have enough of them. All images included are either of UGC staff members, volunteers or the children of staff. This is because I wanted the project to reflect the mission of UGC and the people who work there and make their programs happen every day. They should shine. The project showed me that you never know how an idea can flourish, who it can affect and, above all, in what form it can evolve.

Fresh Moves Mobile Market for Urban Growers Collective, 2020/Photo: Alexandra Antoine

In March 2022, Antoine was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at the Legler Regional Library in West Garfield Park, where she will spend the next two years developing public art projects, as well as community art programs. “I took the time to connect with community groups, volunteer and attend events,” she says. “When it comes to connecting with people and building a network and community, you have to show up for the people. first, then ask for what you need. It’s a two-year residency, which gives me time to build relationships, so whoever comes behind me has some sort of foundation to stand on.

“In Care Of Black Women” Chair, 2021, collage on archive paper/Photo: Alexandra Antoine

In the future, Antoine plans to continue to develop his practice by exploring art forms deeply rooted in the cultures of the African diaspora.

“When I learn a new technique, I ask myself, ‘What traditional skills appeal to me and how can I connect with people to learn them?’” she says. “This ongoing investigation helps fuel all the other arts programs I do. I will always keep a part of my practice dedicated to this: curiosity. (Sabrina Greig)

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The culinary destination inspired by the nostalgia of Pune https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-culinary-destination-inspired-by-the-nostalgia-of-pune/ Sat, 04 Jun 2022 20:28:19 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/the-culinary-destination-inspired-by-the-nostalgia-of-pune/ Former software engineer Poornima Somayaji founded a Pune-based food studio, Aragma Food Studio, which offers cooking classes, workshops, weekend pop-ups and special events. Their philosophy is to create nostalgia-inspired dining experiences with maximum flavor, local ingredients and intriguing stories. Aragma is a Greek word meaning “to savor life’s little pleasures”. Poornima turned to food for […]]]>

Former software engineer Poornima Somayaji founded a Pune-based food studio, Aragma Food Studio, which offers cooking classes, workshops, weekend pop-ups and special events. Their philosophy is to create nostalgia-inspired dining experiences with maximum flavor, local ingredients and intriguing stories.

Aragma is a Greek word meaning “to savor life’s little pleasures”. Poornima turned to food for comfort after experiencing a personal loss. She wanted to share her newly discovered love for food with others, so she created the studio, as a place to slow down, sit down and savor every bite and every moment with loved ones or new friends.

The studio is a charming space that can accommodate up to 14 people and is designed to make you feel at home. Dining at the studio will transport you to your living room with a group of friends.

Studio services can be broadly divided into:

Seated dinners

Poornima hosts multi-course sit-down dinners, which are by default private dinners unless advertised as tickets. The menu features modern cuisine prepared with fresh, local ingredients sourced from the food forests of Pune and surrounding areas. Dinners are prepared by young in-house expert chefs with Michelin star experience. Poornima hopes to offer regional Indian cuisine as part of its sit-down dinners in the future.

Cooking workshop

Sign up here for hands-on recreational cooking lessons. At the studio, you’ll find flavor and pleasure in everything from the perfect Thai curry and regional Indian specialties to farmer’s market favorites and comfort food classics. Cook with the freshest ingredients in state-of-the-art kitchens run by experts and regional chefs!

Weekend Context Menus

Every Friday evening, Aragma offers meal boxes for one person which can be reserved in advance. The menu typically includes comfort food from various cuisines from India and around the world, ranging from gua baos and bowls of ramen to an Udipi oota meal.

Two things that stand out, the first is their ingredient list, each ingredient used in their cooking has a unique story and is sometimes given to them by customers or obtained through foraging. For example, the pepper is freshly harvested from the farm of a long-time customer. The team then spices their butter with fresh green pepper, dries some of the seeds into ground pepper powder, and ferments the rest. Similarly, on his travels, Poornima brought back dried Mahua flowers from a tribal village in Maharashtra. They are now preparing a pudding washed down with the flowers.

Chefs transform ordinary fruits and vegetables into works of art. Chocolate Chikoo, a caramel-flavored mousse with spicy chikoo and blueberry filling molded into a chickoo shape and coated in dark chocolate, is one such dish.

While celebrating everyday ingredients, the team also spends time researching and sourcing ingredients from across the country. Chefs serve a snack made from chakli flour, accompanied by mashed green peas and coriander, fresh butter and grated smoked Bandel cheese, an indigenous variety of unripe, salty soft cheese brought to India by the Portuguese and now only available in cities near Kolkata. , on one of their sit-down dinner menus.

Poornima believes in conscious collaboration. They source their products from non-profits such as 14 Trees Foundations, which has restored native green cover to ecologically degraded plots of arid hillsides near Pune. Poornima also creates a community of conscious eaters. He was able to source his supplies directly from small farms and tribal villages in Maharashtra with the help of his family and friends. Their wild honey, for example, comes from a tribal village near the Bhimashankar shrine.

The stories that come with each dish are another aspect that sets the dining experience apart at Aragma. Without a doubt, flavor is inextricably linked to memory and emotion. Poornima engages guests with anecdotes about the ingredients and the land that produced them, as well as the fantastic recipes they inspire. When she tells the story of her watered down pudding, for example, one can very well imagine walking through a tribal forest picking Mahua flowers. His stories evoke memories, which further enhances the dining experience.

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30 years of City Grocery with Chef John Currence https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/30-years-of-city-grocery-with-chef-john-currence/ Thu, 02 Jun 2022 20:04:57 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/30-years-of-city-grocery-with-chef-john-currence/ By Maya Martin Pictures of Joey Brent Sitting in Courthouse Square in downtown Oxford is a two-story, exposed-brick building that serves up some of the best southern food in the area. City Grocery celebrates 30 years of feeding Oxford and the greater community with memorable food and surroundings. It has been consistently recognized by reputable […]]]>

By Maya Martin

Pictures of Joey Brent

Sitting in Courthouse Square in downtown Oxford is a two-story, exposed-brick building that serves up some of the best southern food in the area.

City Grocery celebrates 30 years of feeding Oxford and the greater community with memorable food and surroundings.

It has been consistently recognized by reputable publications such as The New York Times, Southern Living, USA Today, Bon Appetit, and many others as a good Mississippi establishment. The restaurant’s kitchen team have also been invited to cook at the James Beard House on several occasions over the years since its inception.

Award-winning chef, restaurateur and founder of City Grocery, John Currence, could never have imagined that City Grocery would have the legacy he created. He never planned to move to Oxford with his creation.

“I had helped open restaurants in the past, but I wanted to open one for myself to better verify that,” he said. “I thought I would be at Oxford for a few years, sell my interest and move on. Go back to New Orleans or New York or wherever. Luckily things worked out the way they did and I’m still in Oxford.

Although that’s a goal, Currence said he had “no business” opening a restaurant.

“I didn’t know anything about creating a thematic or ethnic restaurant. I was just dangerous enough, armed with enough knowledge of a number of things to open up a place where I could tap into my own experience.

A Southerner through and through, Currence has drawn on his experience of Creole-French and Cajun cuisine to inspire City Grocery’s familiar yet upscale menu. Not to be overlooked, the menu also features Asian, Italian, French and Southwestern influences.

From the home cooking he experienced growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, to his travels across Europe, the City Grocery menu takes Currence’s catalog and condenses it into something that appeals to the community.

“I just did things that I knew would make people happy and created a menu with enough stuff that everyone could at least find something they wanted to eat or something that seemed interesting,” he said.

What better place to show off your culinary experience than Oxford? In 1992, Oxford was not the gastronomic center it would soon become, but this era has created a situation full of opportunities and curious people.

“There was nothing going on in Oxford and there was enough of a young, professional clientele that was hungry for something,” Currence said. “And once we opened those doors, there was no turning back.”

City Grocery is changing the perception of what Southern food is. For Chef Currence, Southern cuisine is infinitely more than its stereotype and does a disservice to the cultures that define it.

He cites Creole-Italian, Italian, French, German, Caribbean and West African as strong influences on what we know to be Southern cuisine.

“Southern food has been completely misunderstood by people for years,” Currence said. “They want to cram it into the corner of ‘Southern food is fried, it’s unhealthy.’ of immigrants who moved to the United States and tried to create the dishes of their country of origin with the ingredients available.

Now take that same concept but elevate it. Familiar and recognized dishes get an upgrade at City Grocery, “elevating [their dishes] above the qualification of regional and ethnic cuisine,” reads the restaurant’s website.

Some will credit Currence and City Grocery with making Oxford the food city it is today. The leader acknowledged this acknowledgment with some hesitation, but

“People criticize us and it would be a mistake of me to say we weren’t one of them,” Currence said. “We certainly were. The creation of the Southern Foodways Alliance certainly helped elevate that and I think our dedication to opening up quality establishments that we kind of went through the fist for a long time.

While food is a standout aspect of why City Grocery has stood the test of time, but for Currence, service plays an equally important role.

“Our dedication has always been as much to service as it is to food,” the chef said. “Unfortunately, there is this connotation that eating is about food. ‘What did you think of the food at this place? What did you think of the food at this place? As far as I’m concerned, service plays a a lot greater role in the restaurant dining experience than the food.

According to him, a spectacular server or manager can overcome the experience of a bad meal. Customers are willing to give the restaurant another chance than one that has good food and terrible service. Experience is all about the customer.

“And I love it,” the chef said.

Currence taps into the need to connect with the people they nurture. Creating the ideal dining experience coupled with fantastic cuisine and a pool of enthusiastic customers is a surefire way to keep the doors open for a long time.

When you walk into City Grocery, you should feel like you’re visiting a friend’s house for a well-cooked dinner.

“We’ve always set up the restaurant in a way that people feel welcome and included, regardless of their background, income, race, religious preference or sexual preference,” Currence said. “We are an inclusive environment. We take care of people. »

And as much as City Grocery cares about people, the people of Oxford care about City Grocery. People Square Books owners Lisa and Richard Howorth were one of City Grocery’s biggest supporters, those who fell in love with what City Grocery was doing and gave it their all, Currence said.

“It became the place they took everyone to when [Richard] came to town to do a reading or a dedication,” he said. “Everyone was taken to the bar for a welcome drink and an introduction to Oxford.

“It was while sipping coffee on the balcony of Square Books and working on menus and recipes before opening City Grocery that I quickly realized how important this place would be and how important to our success. It is important to develop these relationships because [the Howorths are] the true pioneers of Oxford.

That kind of support and appreciation has helped City Grocery keep going, strong and with no end in sight. Now it’s up to the restaurant team to keep that fire going and give the community what they crave.

“A lot of the future of City Grocery is in the guys running this kitchen,” Currence said. “Nick Schlager and Eric Tate are the masterminds behind the kitchen right now and Jennifer Nelson, who runs the front part of the house, has breathed new life into the grocery store. I think it’s, right now and without , the best the restaurant has ever been.

To learn more about City Grocery, visit the website at www.citygroceryonline.com/city-grocery.

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Managing the growing number of non-native species in the Mediterranean https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/managing-the-growing-number-of-non-native-species-in-the-mediterranean/ Tue, 31 May 2022 14:02:08 +0000 https://sushirestaurantalbany.com/managing-the-growing-number-of-non-native-species-in-the-mediterranean/ Hundreds of non-native species have invaded the Mediterranean Sea over the past decades. Today, they are altering local biodiversity, disrupting fishing and aquaculture throughout the region. But some of these invasive species generate business opportunities for the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Rise of the Blue Crab The The Ebro Delta is the largest wetland […]]]>

Hundreds of non-native species have invaded the Mediterranean Sea over the past decades. Today, they are altering local biodiversity, disrupting fishing and aquaculture throughout the region. But some of these invasive species generate business opportunities for the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The Rise of the Blue Crab

The The Ebro Delta is the largest wetland in Cataloniahome to hundreds of aquatic species and a place with a long fishing tradition.

For centuries, the local association – ‘Brotherhood of San Pere’ – has been fishing in the largest lagoon, the Encanyissada. But a few years ago, their usual catches suddenly dropped. Instead, they found a surprising newcomer: the blue crab, a ferocious North American crustacean that has invaded the area, decimating local species.

“What happens is he eats all the young species, he eats all the eggs and destroys our nets! He eats everything! He ate all the endemic fish here,” says local fisherman Raul Paulino.

With the other species having largely disappeared, local fishermen have turned to catching blue crabs.

“In the early years they were plentiful but not very expensive. Now it’s the opposite: less but worth more. But hey, that’s the fisherman’s life,” says Raul.

Allowing commercial fishing of these new crabs is the best hope of stopping a population explosion, local researchers say.

Catalonia has set up a special co-management committee with the aim of providing better scientific advice, improving catches and streamlining trade in blue crab through the fishing market.

This part of Spain is closely watched by other regions, increasingly affected by blue crab invasion.

The The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean has launched a regional research program on the spread of blue crab through the Mediterranean Sea.

“We have to solve problems with knowledge. And this knowledge comes from all parties involved in the problem – that is, fishermen, fisheries administration and also scientists, but also NGOs”, Pere Abelló, senior researcher in crustacean biology, ICM-CSIC, says.

A few reasons to be happy

Catalonia’s innovative technology and large-scale fishing infrastructure appear to have had an impact: its blue crab population has apparently stopped growing, although further study is needed.

Either way, the invasive blue crab, likely brought from America in the ballast water of commercial ships, is here to stay.

“At this time, it must be said that eradication of this species is virtually impossible due to its inherent characteristics. But our goal is to be able to control the population to minimal levels, allow other species to recover, and thus allowing fishermen to benefit again from all the resources they had before,” says fisheries biologist Verónica López.

A major benefit is that blue crab tastes good, so intensive fishing of the species is a win-win for the environment, the fishing industry and consumers.

Restaurateurs like Albert Guzmán have embraced the North American invader as a local specialty.

Atlantic blue crab may seem foreign to Mediterranean cuisine, but the chef says it pairs perfectly with other seafood, served either as a main course or in broths, snacks, starters , sauces and paellas.

“We used to use different species that were much more expensive, like lobsters or the spider crab, which is not indigenous – it had to be delivered from Galicia. And now we have the blue crab which has a flavor and a taste similar – then we have a great, premium product at a price suitable for affordable restaurants, which is also a good thing,” says Guzmán.

Not just a Catalan problem

But invasive species are not only present in Catalonia. In Greece, in the Gulf of Elefsina west of Athens, local fisherman Giórgos Grívas regularly harvests non-native bivalve molluscs. Originating in the Indo-Pacific region, they spread to this part of the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal – one of the main routes for non-native marine species in the Mediterranean.

“It is called the pearl oyster, Pinktada imbricata radiata. In addition to food, pearls are sometimes found. It can be eaten raw, baked, steamed or fried, in pasta or risotto”, explains Giórgos.

Fishermen sell the pearl oysters to local fishmongers who then sell them for €5 a kilo – but the trade is limited by a lack of regulation.

Unlike mussels and other popular local molluscs, pearl oysters are considered an exotic species, and Greek law does not cover their exploitation for human consumption.

John Theodorou, associate professor at the University of Patras, is working to change that. His to research Calls for the legalization of pearl oyster fishing in Greece so that they can be fished sustainably and sold at higher added value.

“This is very important as it provides an alternative for fishermen to improve their income as pressure on natural stocks of other shellfish increases due to overfishing and climate change,” he explains.

“Pearl oysters a superfood”

Researchers from the University of Patras have concluded that pearl oysters do not harm endemic species and can be fished sustainably.

They have developed new rules and standards for the entire value chain – from fishing specifications to best storage and transport practices.

Recipes with pearl oysters are already studied in cooking schools in Greece.

Eleni Liakea, professor of tourism and hospitality, told Euronews: “People really like this meal! I would even call pearl oysters a superfood, they are high in protein with minimal carbs and fats, and they have great flavor and taste delicious. .”

Push for regulatory change

Legalization could also be good for aquaculture. In Sagiada, near the Albanian border in western Greece, Spyros and his father cultivate seashells on submerged ropes.

The only invasive species that cause them problems are the translucent sea squirts that have to be constantly cleaned from the ropes. But farmers don’t care about pearl oysters, which are sometimes found among their main crop.

They say it could be another product for sale if the regulatory framework accounted for this non-native species.

“We can’t grow them legally, or sell them, so we basically harvest them for our own consumption, whenever we have parties or whenever special people come,” said Spyros Stasinos, from Stasinos mussel and oyster farm

The aquaculture sector is developing rapidly in this part of Greece. Mussels and oysters help keep the water clean of excess nutrients. They are also an excellent source of healthy food, so farming pearl oysters could be a harmonious solution.

“It’s growing fast, it tastes good, the markets are there. So I think it’s a matter of time to commercialize this new resource. We can’t eradicate this species. We have to co-evolve with them as society and as a production sector”. “, explains Costas Perdikaris, the head of the Epirus Regional Fisheries Department.

The invasion of hundreds of non-native species in the Mediterranean Sea over the past decades is a major challenge, but also an opportunity for the fishing sector to adapt and make the most of it.

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