By Laman Ismayilova
Shaki, one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, has opened its doors to the participants of the third International Festival of National Sweets.
A solemn opening ceremony kicked of in the yard of Yukharı Karvansaray hotel complex on July 20.
Co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Shaki City Executive Authority and Azerbaijan National Culinary Association, the festival brought together culinary experts from 19 regions of Azerbaijan and 8 countries, including Turkey, Indonesia, France, India, Greece, Russian Federation, Chuvash Republic, Uzbekistan, Iran, Ukraine and Ghana.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Head of Shaki City Executive Power Elkhan Usubov emphasized that the festival aims at promoting intangible cultural heritage, as well as the expanding the city's tourism potential.
Shaki was chosen for the festival not by accident. The city is historically renowned as one of the main centers of the national cuisine of Azerbaijan.
One of the most interesting, original and beautiful areas of Azerbaijan is recognized for its silk, and its halva, nogul, and almonds.
Shaki sweets stand out due to their flavors and diversity. The original composition and bright, fleshy, contrast and at the same time harmonic taste combinations has made Shaki sweets popular products on foreign markets.
Director of Azerbaijan's National Culinary Center, for his part, said that the city is a sweets capital. The focus is now directed to the city's recognition as the world capital of sweets.
Then the participants of the event got familiar with sweet products.
Magnificent tables with the delicious sweets – such as Sheki halvasi, pakhlava, barama, nogul made by Azerbaijani confectioners was met with great interest by the guests.
The pastry chefs presented their dishes in the national dress.
Moreover, the exhibition that featured the household items, vivid carpet created the atmosphere of festivity and joy.
Bright and nice sweets attracted all those who have a sweet tooth.
The winner of the festival became the representative of Uzbekistan. The cooks of Indonesia and India took second place. The confectioners of Iran were awarded with bronze medals.
Ganja won in the nomination for the Best pastry. The country's Oguz and Naftalan regions ranked the second, while Ujar, Ismayilli, Gabala, Agdash and Gazakh were third.
Confectioners Gakh, Zagatala, Goychay regions brought more kinds of sweets than other participants.
The Cup of Azerbaijani National Cuisine Center was presented to the head of Shaki City Executive Power.
The festival continued with a concert program of musical and dance collectives.
Shaki is one of the most fascinating ancient cities of Azerbaijan, famous for its own sweet pakhlava made of rice flour, nuts, and sugar-honey syrup. Every one visiting Shaki resist the temptation of its famous Pakhlava.
There are more than 30 varieties of Azerbaijani pastries that use unique ingredients such as poppy seeds, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, ginger, and cardamom, which make the treats spicy and especially tasty.
Every region of Azerbaijan has its own special recipe for local sweets, which may even have different shapes depending on the traditions of the region.
Pakhlava, shekerbura, and badambura – coveted during the Novruz holiday – are among the most famous Azerbaijani sweets.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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