Tahatai Coast School families were momentarily transported from the sunny shores of Papamoa to a culinary trip around the world as the school hosted its first ever Food Festival yesterday.

Students and their families were invited to bring a dish from their culture, or even just a family favourite, to share with others.

The global taste-fest saw the local community try a range of exotic treats including American pumpkin pie, Austrian Kaiserschmarrn (pancakes), Chinese fortune cookies, Fijian treats, and tasty Brazilian dishes.

The school transformed itself into a mini festival for the evening with a live band entertaining the families as they grazed the aromatic food stalls set up around the edge of the central astroturf.

Tahatai teacher Andre Jay organised the Food Festival as a special way to bring the community together and celebrate the many different cultures and ethnicities represented at Tahatai Coast School.

“In any school, the community is one of the most important assets and is the heart and soul of many events and experiences that contribute to a successful all round education,” says Jay.

“Tahatai draws from a huge community base in many different ways and what better way to bring it together than with a trip around the world sharing foods from different cultures. Not only tasting, but learning about them as well.”

Many families were eager to share other aspects of their culture ­- some adorned their food stall with their country’s flag; others came dressed in their national colours.

Tahatai parent Carrie Brown Davies says keeping hold of her American heritage is always a challenge living in New Zealand.

“Having the international food festival at school allowed my son and I a chance to share our culture with his classmates. And by baking our family recipe of pumpkin pie together, we created special memories to cherish,” she says.

“It was a unique event to not only be able to let others experience our culture, but for us to see and taste that of other nationalities.”

Jay agrees.

“My biggest highlights were seeing our kids tasting foods they have never tried or seen before and parents engaging with stories of travel and experiences from around the world.”

Pleased with the success of the inaugural event, Jay already has his sights set on the next Food Festival.

“We can’t wait to host the next one!”


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