All over the world, Muslims are celebrating Ramadan. This holy month is observed by many Muslims with fasting, spiritual reflection and solidarity with the poor.
Just before the sun sets and the ‘azan’ resounds from Istanbul’s innumerable minarets, friends and families gather around their dinner tables. The streets and squares of the city fill up with plastic chairs, tables and (donated) food for students, guests, foreigners and the less fortunate. Random strangers come together to break the fast and share the ‘iftar’ meal.
Sharing and caring; patience and mercy; keywords for Ramadan.
At the Consulate General we support the peaceful and unifying message of Ramadan. This is one of the reasons why we chose to organize our very first own ‘iftar’ which takes place tonight.
This ‘iftar’ has a Dutch touch. Famous chef cook and television personality Wilco van Herpen created a special menu including Dutch asparagus. Asparagus, also known as the ‘Dutch White Gold’ are available for only a very short period (which makes them exclusive). Wilco will demonstrate his cooking skills in the garden. There will also be traditional Turkish ‘Meze’ and ‘Şerbet’.
Dutch-Arabic singer Teema will perform Arabic Jazz accompanied by clarinetist Hüsnü Şenlendirici. Although I wished that we could invite the whole city to taste our ‘iftar’ dishes, due to logistic reasons, participation in the ‘iftar’ dinner is by invitation only.
Culinary Diplomacy around the dinner table
We are also organizing an ‘iftar’ to introduce our Turkish contacts to the Dutch cuisine and the possibilities that the Netherlands has to offer them. During an evening like this, religion, cultures, networking, agriculture and haute cuisine come together and mix.
I am very much looking forward to share this ‘iftar’ with our valued guests in the historical garden of the Consulate General. Whereas I usually start a meal by saying ‘Afiyet olsun’, this time it will be ‘Allah kabul etsin’ (‘May God accept’).
Follow this event via Twitter @rschuddeboom or @NLinistanbul: #iftaratthedutch.