"First we eat, then we do everything else." Immortal words spoken by the late food writer, M.F.K Fisher, whose famous quote couldn't sum up Egypt's relationship with food any better – we really do love to eat. It's this seemingly shared and culturally engrained insatiability for food that is one of the key ingredients (ha!) of Egypt's biggest food festival, Cairo Bites.
Having launched last year, Cairo Bites is set for a spectacular 2015 return on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of April and there's plenty in store for Cairenes.
The inaugural edition of the festival saw some of the most recognisable names and innovative culinary practitioners descend on Baron Palace for two-days of all things food – eating, cooking, queuing up to eat, talking about eating and more just plain eating. This year's Cairo Bites, however, is set to take place at New Cairo's Family Park which affords the festival a whole lot more space for eating, queuing up to eat – well, you get the point.
Speaking to sister-site, Cairo Gossip, Cairo Bites' Sarah Abdallah is incredibly excited at the new venue. "We're certain that moving to a larger space will benefit everyone. We can host more F&B vendors, more visitors and what's better than spending a sunny day in a park surrounded by greenery?"
You can't argue with the prospect of a sunny day at the park, but for all of Cairo Bites' whimsy and fun, there's a motivation and aim to champion the increasing innovation in culinary practices in Egypt. "Cairo Bites is about being creative and expressive with food and, luckily for us all, Cairo is also a hub of creativity these days and it's something that has enriched the dining scene and how food is approached in general."
Cairo Bites was conceived during a rich period for the food and beverage industry in Egypt and has provided a platform for the increasing number of chefs and restaurateurs to break out and reach the public in a very real and personal way. More than just pleasant day out, Cairo Bites looks at dining as an experience – something Cairo 360's food reviewers understand all too well – and as an art. Scoff if you must at the latter, but this year's guests pay testament to that with the festival's live cooking demos and a cooking competition that is set to be overseen by the chefs from CBC cooking show, Sofra, including the one and only Chef Cherbini.
With all of this in mind, however, Cairo Bites are the first to dismiss the notion that this is an occasion for exclusively for foodies. In fact, the term foodie is banded around quite carelessly in these areas, often misunderstood as being attached to fine-dining or an individual's predilections. The essence of being a foodie isn't about being overly discerning; it's about exploring and experimenting, which is something that lies at the heart of Cairo Bites' aim to help widen Cairenes' palate and scope of dining and cooking.
Last year's festival saw over 15,000 visitors enjoy the foods of more than 100 exhibitors over the two days and with a new venue and more exhibitors, as well as a special line-up of live entertainment, this year's Cairo Bites is shaping up to be something rather extravagant.
All that's left is for you to secure your tickets; call 16826 or visit www.cairobites.com. See you there – make sure you're wearing something comfortable. Maybe something with an elastic waist.