The Traditional Food Festival for Productive Families, which was held as part of the activities of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award in its second edition, has attracted more than 20,000 visitors and featured 70 participants showcasing the UAE’s culinary heritage via live demonstrations and cooking competitions.
The festival, which lasted for 11 days, was well attended by the public and showcased traditional foods that are an authentic part of the UAE's material heritage, making it one of the most significant events that contributed to enriching the activities of the Sheikh Zayed Festival and increasing its appeal.
Twenty seven licensed productive families took part in the festival, alongside 70 participants comprising 50 families, 10 children and 10 People of Determination. The event included a variety of cultural and entertainment programmes, live demonstrations of the preparation of traditional Emirati dishes, and a market showcasing the popular foods produced by the participating families.
The festival featured seven cooking competitions, where participants competed against each other based on specific criteria, including flavour, taste, presentation innovation, use of local products, and adherence to hygiene and food safety standards. The winners received prizes totalling AED210,000, in addition to valuable prizes and gifts to the public.
Festival visitors enjoyed a family atmosphere, highlighted by livestock competitions showcasing the best breeds, livestock auctions and daily competitions for the public with valuable prizes and gifts. Visitors were also treated to tastings of famous Emirati traditional recipes.
The festival served as an important platform for supporting productive families by giving them the opportunity to market their traditional food products directly to the public. Numerous exhibition and selling outlets were offered free of charge to the participating productive families.
The festival played an important role in promoting local produce, which is essential in the preparation of popular Emirati dishes. This is in line with the objectives of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award, which aims to stimulate the UAE's agricultural sector, improve the quality of local produce and enhance its competitiveness both locally and globally.
The festival held five special competitions for participating productive families, with competitions in marqooqa, meat machbus, balaleet, khbeesa and jabab dishes.
The festival's competition programme was aimed at specific groups in society, with a cooking competition for People of Determination, showcasing their creative energy and innovative cake decorating ideas. A special children's competition called Tayebeen Pasta, translating as Pasta of Good People, was organised to raise awareness among this age group about the use of local agricultural products in cooking.
The Festival's Organising Committee thanked the large number of people who attended and participated in all the events and competitions. The committee highlighted the success of the inaugural edition, which they said would serve as a basis for future editions, promising qualitative additions and major surprises for both the public and the exhibitors in future editions.
The Organising Committee confirmed the festival's success in achieving its strategic objectives. These included expanding the reach of agricultural sustainability to all segments of society, promoting local agricultural products in culinary endeavours, supporting productive families and fostering an understanding of the heritage and history of traditional foods in the UAE.