The large car park at the Harbour Point was nearly filled when I arrived for the 2016 edition of FirstBank sponsored Eventful Fiesta of Flavours on Monday. The security man dressed in sparkling white uniform politely asked for my wristband which gave me access into the arena. Beads of sweat lined his forehead as he gave me a nod signalling my admittance into the venue.
“Come over here and have a taste of our unique finger food,” a female food vendor spotting a black t-shirt told me as soon as I stepped into the arena. I could not help but looked in the direction she was pointing at. I walked to the Silton Africa Kitchen stand where the founder, Anthonia Ojenagbon was attending to some customers.
She beamed with a smile raising her right arm in the air to welcome me. She quickly took me through her menu for day. “We have on our menu today, peppered snails, yam, Tigernut milk and more,” she said. She would later tell me the Tigernut milk was freshly made and refrigerated.
“Our unique selling point is that we call ourselves the Nigerian finger food company,” she explained. “We offer finger food that are locally sourced and made with Nigerian ingredients the Nigerian way. Most people love dundu, mosa, akara, ojojo and all those local finger foods which we make and serve in a unique way.”
Thereafter, I moved over to another interesting stand. I was fascinated by the crocodile head placed on a griller. At Palmified, it is all about local drinks strictly made from Palm wine.
“Not many people know the benefits of eating crocodile,” said the attendant at the stand. “Crocodile is medicinal it cures asthma and other disease. We offer Palm wine mixed with herbs that cures pile, body and waist pain. We are strictly African and proudly Nigerian.”
Away from the interesting spectacle at Palmified, I moved over to Chef On Wheels owned by a Nigerian who just returned from abroad. Oluwaseun Ayanlaja, CEO, Chef On Wheels, offers a unique mix of Asian and Nigerian food.
“What we are doing is to bring Asian to Nigeria,” explained Ayanlaja. “We have been around for two years now. I was influenced by my Asian friends. I used to go to their house to eat. I was influenced by the taste. The response to Chef on Wheels has been great. Ninety-five percent of our ingredients are sourced locally.”
In its second year, Fiesta of Flavours has become a rally point for families and friends to eat, share drinks and have great time every December. Yewande Zaccheaus, CEO, Eventful and one of the early pioneers of corporate event planning in Nigeria said when she started the food fiesta two years ago, it has opened the space for more food festivals in the state.
“We are grateful and excited by the turn out every year,” she said. “We are excited about the support we are enjoying from FirstBank. They have supported us since we started. Fiesta of Flavours have become an annual food event that many people now look forward to. We are glad to be setting the pace and bring people, families and loved ones together to truly enjoy the flavours of Nigeria under one roof.”
Bukola Oluyadi, head, brand management, FirstBank, said FirstBank is supporting the Eventful Fiesta of Flavours in a bid to call the world’s attention to what Nigeria offers in terms of food and tasty cuisines.
“We are aligning with the change from an oil dependent economy to support the food economy. It is like an intervention. We are supporting the event to make food business an important part of the economy. This is the second edition. Between last year and now, people are beginning to see that food is the new oil.”
At the event, there was plenty to eat, drink and share. The children were not left out of the fun. There was a kiddie’s corner where children played chess, went on merry-go-round, face painting and more.