The event hall of the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos was bubbling with excited food and beverage enthusiasts and professionals on a recent Friday morning. The reason for the excitement was not far-fetched. For the first time, AfroGourmands, an event that showcased and encouraged the infusion of European dairy products in African cuisine visited Lagos.
The campaign which kicked off in June saw the team comprising internationally acclaimed Chef Christian Abégan, and Pierre Gay, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Fromager (Best Cheesemonger in France) visit Dakar, Abidjan and Douala in June and July respectively. Lagos is the final tour for the three-year program that is organised by the European Commission in partnership with the French Dairy Interbranch Organization (CNIEL).
According to CNIEL, the program will promote the know-how, diversity and excellent quality of the European dairy products – milk, butter, cream and cheese – used in the African cuisine.
Speaking at the event the Chief Operations Officer of CNIEL, Laurent Damiens said the event was organised to highlight through the Afrogourmand’s program, European milk and dairy products that are exported to meet the ever-increasing demands in the Nigerian market.
“In 2018, over 248 tons of French cheeses and 178 tons of milk and dairy beverages were exported to Nigeria,” he stated.
Laurent added: ‘’The purpose of the campaign is not to displace the use of local produce, rather it is to show the culinary possibilities that can be achieved with a fusion of local and international produce”.
Chef Abégan, who is also a Cordon bleu trained Chef and fervent promoter of African cuisine to the world hosted a tasting workshop at the event, and recreated the local Nigerian food favourite- Ofada rice, using some European dairy products. Abegan said “Incorporating European dairy products in local cuisine will improve and upgrade the African food culture. It will also increase the demand and interest in African cuisine”