More than 200 people attended A Taste of Haiti on May 19 to celebrate Haitian Flag Day. Ambassadors, journalists, business leaders, Haitian diaspora, NGO heads, embassy staff and friends gathered in Washington, D.C. to get a glimpse of Haiti’s rich culture and cuisine. For native Haitians and those who’ve traveled there before, it was a transport back.
Throughout the island’s history, Haitian food has sustained its natives and friends. One of the event’s objectives was to promote Haiti’s cuisine in the Washington, D.C. community.
Hosted by the Embassy of Haiti, the celebration featured more than 25 samplings of delightful dishes from Port-au-Prince chefs, Stephan Durand Berrouet and Pastry Chef Valery Abraham. The samplings were arranged in deliciously flavorful bite-size servings.
“Many people aren’t exposed to Haitian delicacies and its culture,” said Paul G. Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States. “We hosted this showcase of Haitian entrees, appetizers and sweets not only to have a party, but to share the essence of our culture. We opened the doors of the Embassy to offer a sampling of Haiti, as a way to open a constructive dialogue about our country, the opportunities there, the diversity there and, yes, the tasty food.”
The menu captured the soul-warming pleasures of Haitian cuisine by maintaining a luxurious approach to each dish. The meal started with mini plantains with fried pork and spicy vegetable relish. For the second course, guests were treated to the hearty Soupe Joumou (Haitian pumpkin soup). This was followed by shellfish and beef in okra and black mushroom stew over white rice; ending with Haitian peanut brittle, Barbancourt rum punch and savory sip of celebrity chef Jose Andres Haitian rum sour.
Guests included high-profile personalities such as Rajiv Shah Administrator of USAID, Pierre Garcon of the Washington Redskins and Patrick Gaspard U.S. Ambassador to South Africa & former director of the Democratic National Committee.
The celebration also highlighted the splendor of Haitian arts, courtesy of Fritz Racine’s collection. In addition, Haiti’s fashion was represented with gorgeous Karibella dresses, which were worn by the hostesses. The dresses were the creation of Maelle Figaro David, who is often regarded as one of the best Haitian designers of traditional Haitian clothing.
The event was a delectable explosion of flavors and a perfect way to celebrate two hundred and ten years of Haiti’s flag.
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