AlUla Citrus Festival, Fresh Food Market and Flavours of AlUla will all explore the area’s diverse and rich variety of produce
AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-: A unique and immersive culinary journey is on the cards for food lovers in AlUla, thanks to an expanded series of culinary events and activations which will showcase the high-quality, locally grown produce synonymous with the area.
As part of this year’s Winter at Tantora schedule, the AlUla Citrus Festival returns for a second year, with local farmers from the area’s 4,700 farms promoting the diverse selection of crops available in the fertile region including oranges, clementines, mandarins and lemons as well as lime grapefruit, pomegranate, pomelo, kumquat, citrons and more on the weekends of January 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21.
The region’s rich produce grown from orchards holding over 200,000 citrus trees will be celebrated across action-packed weekends through market stalls, cooking sessions, tastings and demonstrations as well as competitions, live music and child-friendly activities.
Celebrity chefs will also demonstrate the diversity and high quality of the produce available in the region.
French Michelin-starred chef William Ledeuil, owner of three restaurants in Paris including the iconic Ze Kitchen Galerie, got things underway over the weekend of January 6-7, creating a number of dishes inspired by the sheer diversity of produce available this season.
The following weekend, January 13-14, acclaimed Japanese pastry chef Keiko Nagae, renowned internationally for her work with some of the most celebrated chefs and restaurants in the world, including Pierre Gagnaire at Sketch in London, Yannick Allenon at Le Meurice in Paris and Michel Troisgros at the Hotel Lancaster, will incorporate the quality AlUla produce into her own innovative pastry work.
The food experiences will continue at AlUla beyond this year’s Winter at Tantora festival through a Fresh Food Market from January 27 to March 18, which will also offer plenty of fresh produce and community activity for all ages.
Free entry and open to all, the market will feature outdoor stalls offering the most magnificent, locally sourced farm-fresh produce, from dates, citrus fruit such as oranges, lime, mandarin, kumquat, and other fresh, seasonal fruit through to local vegetables including tomato, eggplant, squash, onions, peppers, lettuce and more.
Stalls will be showcasing local cuisine and recipes, giving visitors a taste of homecooked Saudi favourites including delicious Kabsah, Jarish, fresh Majrafah bread, crispy samposas and salad featuring local produce.
Local artisans will also be demonstrating their handicraft talents – and the wealth of natural materials available in the region – through a range of products such as pottery, woven baskets, intricate bead work, handmade soaps, jams and more.
While the stunning location alone is the perfect reason to bring the entire family to the Fresh Food Market, there’s also a range of activities to entertain the children. From face painting to storytelling and board games, the Kids Zone will keep the youngsters amused.
Flavours of AlUla, the fun and colourful celebration of food, flavour and art, is also running until January 14 as part of the Winter at Tantora schedule. The event is highlighting traditional local and regional cuisine and ingredients through a range of experiential masterclasses with high-profile chefs, food stalls and fun activations for all ages that will make for a truly multisensory experience.
The versatility of AlUla produce will be clear for all to see at a diverse range of stalls showcasing everything from Arabic and Asian-inspired dumplings, through to bubble tea, organic bowls, veggie rolls and more.
Flavours of AlUla runs from 4pm to midnight and is free to walk around, with food stalls and certain activities operating a voucher system. Vouchers can be purchased directly at the venue.
Winter at Tantora will also offer high-end cuisine and top-quality entertainment through the introduction of two innovative, pop-up restaurants.
Acclaimed Marbella brand Mamzel is open now and serving its renowned combination of international dishes and entertainment in the AlUla canyons while Awna, located in the UNESCO Heritage Site of Hegra, will bring a roster of internationally acclaimed chefs including industry legend Raymond Blanc to the table.