The smell of freshly baked Challah, falafel and strudel filled the air at the UK’s largest Jewish food festival in Golders Green yesterday.
The fourth annual Gefiltefest, held at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, in Ivy House, attracted hundreds of visitors for a day of cooking demonstrations and tasty treats.
Former Labour MP David Milliband even dropped in to get a taste of some of the mouth-watering delicacies, along with a number of special guests from the food industry and Jewish community.
Gefiltefest founder Michael Leventhal said: “I was absolutely delighted – the sun was shining, we had packed sessions and Jewish and non-Jewish crowds.
“We had everything from eating locusts to some cook-offs between some really great chefs – it was fantastic.”
There was an educational element to the festivities too and visitors learned about the transformative power of wine in Jewish ritual, the value of fasting and the special significance of bread in the Jewish tradition.
Other highlights included chefs’ demonstrations, including Indian Cochin fish curry made by Nikita Gulhane from Spice Monkey, and the Jewish flavours of Libya’s Tripoli, introduced by Silvia Nacamulli.
Awards were handed out to restaurants and individuals covering various categories, including Best Kosher Restaurant and Best Challah.
Children got involved too, decorating waffles and creating edible famous characters from Jewish history and an edible scene of Tel Aviv beach.
Proceeds from the festival support the Gefiltefest charity and other food redistribution charities including Leket Israel, myisrael's Bet Shean Food Bank and GIFT.
Mr Leventhal said: “Everyone eats and most people enjoy food so it is a great way of bringing people together. You can use it as a gateway to learning about other cultures, ethics and religions.
“So many people are so excited and positive about the festival and every year we are expanding. It feels like we’re changing the way Jewish people think about food.”