Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cooking Festival at Biel

More than a week has passed since I went to the Cooking Festival in Biel, to feed my curiosity. I remember it was a three-day event, from Thursday the 7th till Saturday the 9th of November; I was only able to make it for a short hour on Saturday. Between study and homeworks, chilling with my French Lebanese friend who visited Beirut for the weekend, and a birthday of a good friend of mine, (and besides the fact that I woke up at noon) I was literally running the stands at Biel in order to make the most out of it in the shortest period of time. Not to mention the 40minutes hour traffic down the last road to Biel, it caused me to be late for the birthday dinner 2 hours!! Likewise, I have to mention the parking problem at Biel--very little room relative to the large number of interested people. Moreover, the valet parking wasn't taking anymore cars because they have filled up all of their potential parking.

Some things I noted worthily:
-The majority of the stands were distributors defending a self-owned or licensed brand directly to the consumer; this was the B2B companies interacting with their product's end-customer. The rest were local businesses, like product shops or pastries, Librairie Antoine, and a cooking demonstration as well as an olive oil tasting (way of marketing of a certain brand). I expected more sorts of workshops, perhaps a cuisine training as well?

-There was some kind of soup recipe tasting for both Maggi brand and Campbell's,which is distributed by G. Vincenti &sons in Lebanon. 
Maggi, which was a boss at attracting the crowd, was serving tongue-burning soup in masses. Yet, what i found most beguiling was the giant step they tried to make to build their social media awareness and  to make people participate in their social online presence. In fact, they exchanged sets of soup worth only 2$ with a Facebook like on their page! And people got excited for the free soup...but hey you already incurred a 10,000 L.L ticket bill at the door. From a business perspective If free food was their real motivation for showing up here, they were at terrible loss! (I could not waste my time on a petty Facebook like, I love social media, yes, but not always the way it is represented). At the same time, if I choose so, I can praise their marketing system too; they were the only one at the cooking festival to make use of social networking.
Then, I head to Campbell's stand; there was less of a crowd there, the people were more quiet, less stressful, perhaps more knowledgeable if they knew the iconic image of the brand and highly publicized due to Andy Warhol's handmade work of art. For the first time, I tried the famous condensed tomato soup... Rating? It was too blend and I thought it would be more spiced up! 
The guy serving the tomato soup was kind of cute, and I thought that he must be part of the management team at Vincenti. Even better than that, turned out I was speaking to the brand manager of Campbell's, chez Vincenti, in Lebanon. So I chatted him up, I told him about my mandatory internship this summer and I thought I might be interested to go to a food oriented company... He gave me his email, and I really should be sending my CV soon.

- I bought a pistachio eclair and before I have a bite of it, it falls on the floor. I am leaving what happened next to your imagination...

I discovered a stand that sells flavored salt to use for different types of cooking, for salads, meat, or poultry. The seller let us discover the different tastes of salt mixes with tiny pieces of apples that we dipped in every bowl. I bought a purple Hibiscus salt for salads, I thought it would look nice on pictures! It also tastes great. It is just too bad that the place does not have a store yet, their only selling point so far was this stand. Perhaps the purpose of this stand was to test the interest of potential customers in their product line. They took the email of those interested, including me, to keep us updated. The bottles sell for 5$ the unit.

- I bought one recipe book and another food critique book.

- I just loved loved the aprons designed by Carol Nader!! If interested, you can contact her at 03/713714. Her Facebook is carol.nader.90

More pictures...

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