tunisia-079-mediumThe Thalassa Hotel in Monastir, Tunisia, recently held an interesting foodie event called Cook&Share.

It was held in the Monastir Ribat, which is a fort built in 796 ad.

The ancient structure was the perfect place to hold Cook&Share.

Around 50 Tunisian and Mediterranean Chefs were invited to a fun cookery competition.

The idea was to promote Tunisian products.

A large replica market stall was set up, filled with lovely vegetables, fruit, herbs, rice, spices and other products.

Next to it, an old fishing boat was filled with ice and a huge selection of local, freshly-caught fish was displayed on top.

Nearby, a fridge was filled with meat.

tunisia-108-mediumFour chefs at a time were paired with chefs from other countries on the stage and when the signal was given, they had to rush to the market stall and grab all the ingredients they needed to cook their original dishes.

Friday, October 14th,2016

09h30 – 11h00: Show cooking Cereals and Fruit & Tasting and sharing workshop

11h00 – 12h30: Show cooking Spices & Tasting and sharing workshop

14h30 – 15h30: Show cooking Vegetables &Tasting and sharing workshop

15h30 – 17h00: Show cooking Pastry & Tasting and sharing workshop

tunisia-109-mediumSaturday, October 15th, 2016

09h30 – 11h00: Show cooking Kamias (mezzés, tapas) & Tasting and sharing workshop

11h00 – 12h30: Show cooking Stuffed & Tasting and sharing workshop

14h30 – 15h30: Show cooking Traditional Cooking Process &Tasting and sharing workshop

15h30 – 17h00: Show cooking Pastry & Tasting and sharing workshop

There was a selection of stalls lining the Ribat selling local produce like honey, hams, flour, date products, and more.

I found it all very interesting and discovered some things that I’d never heard of before.

Saturday night there was a special dinner at the hotel with a group playing and food cooked by some of the chefs.

I do hope they hold it again next year!

tunisia-224-mediumMonastir is a lovely old fishing port on the East coast of Tunisia. It’s a perfect blend of old and new.

In the souk, men break off their conversations to step forward and invite us into their small shops, guessing our nationality and changing languages from English, French, Italian, to Arabic.

Let’s face it, sometimes in English shops or markets it’s an effort to get the seller to stop texting on their phone and grunt in English!

The rule seems to be, aim for half the price that’s first quoted.

The men all wear modern clothes, but a lot of the women of all ages still wrap a scarf round their heads and cover themselves from top to toe, although I didn’t see any covered faces.

But they accept the sight of us tourists walking around wearing the minimum of clothing in the warm sunshine, and don’t stare at us.

tunisia-177-mediumA few miles away along the coast is the town of Sousse. It’s bigger than Monastir and has a bigger selection of shops and restaurants. We spent the morning there, wandering around.

Our hotel was excellent, the roads are good, the weather was great, and the people are very laid-back and friendly.

The faults? If you’re addicted to your phone and computer, you’ll get frustrated as the Wi-fi comes and goes.

And if you’re a stickler for time, as I have to admit that I am, you’ll get frustrated as time is unimportant in Tunisia!

My verdict? I love Tunisia and I’m going back there very soon…..

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Tunisian National Tourist Office UK & Ireland

3rd Floor, 111 Baker Street, London, W1U 6SG

T: 020 7224 5561;

 

For more information about Tunisia, visit: http://www.discovertunisia.uk

For more information about Tunisair, visit: http://www.tunisair.com/