Tastes from around the World – Christabel (Nigeria)

How many countries have you travelled to, and how many different cuisines have you tried?
Personally, I’ve been to 4 countries including Estonia, and I have never been a fan of trying new dishes. This changed when I came to college, I had the opportunity to try 10 different cuisines on a single day. All that without having to set foot outside Pärnu.

How you might ask?
Well, we had this event called “Maitsed Maailmast”, which translated to “Tastes from around the World” at the University of Tartu, Pärnu College. At this event over 30 persons (including students and the staff) had the opportunity of a world tour experience, eating and dining together at this beautiful event. The cultures and cuisine of Nigeria, Russia, Netherlands and many more were represented at the event and had Pärnu in cloud 9.  In all we got to try national cuisines from over 10 countries. Another exciting thing was that the traditional recipes from all over the world were given an Estonian twist.

The event was for the first year Masters students of the Wellness and Spa Service Design and Management program, to analyse and find out the possibilities to combine the elements of different cuisines. Since the customers of the Spa hotels are different, their eating habits are also different. To cater to their needs, it is important for the students to learn how to combine international cuisines with the local ones to make spa food. This was the main goal of the event. 15 students from different nationalities including me, participated in this wonderful event organized by our lecturer of the Spa Nutrition and Food Management, Anne Roosipöid (PhD) as a part of the course requirement to complete the food hygiene course.

Staff and students enjoying the dishes

I was awed and privileged to work closely with my fellow classmates and the Estonian celebrity chef, Herkki Ruubel. At the event, I was in charge of collecting feedback and reviews of the food. I had a great time doing this since I am a very outgoing person and enjoy interacting with people. The event also gave me nostalgia since my Nigerian classmates and I made the popular national delicacy, Nigerian Chicken Pepper Soup. It felt like a mini-ceremony to me. The lovely atmosphere and people working together was enough to release the feel good hormones in my system.

Herkki Ruubel and my Nigerian classmates hard at work

Among all the food that was served I found Sajoer beans served with rice, prepared the Dutch way to be extremely delicious. I still drool when I think about it. As a matter of fact, I think the Netherlands will have a new tourist this summer.

I also tried Russian Sauerkraut Cutlets with Chicken, and Syrniki. I enjoyed them so much that I took some back home with me. And the Moroccan soup served with the Estonian black bread was the peak of the event. It was the twist that got me, Moroccan and Estonian cuisines fused into one!

People say that football unites the world, but here in Pärnu I saw the love for food uniting all the students.

Students working together and prepping

I still can’t imagine why I haven’t tried the dishes from other countries I visited.
This whole event has made me even more eager to travel the world, try new meals and create memories.