Monday, December 7, 2009
Hallacas and Pan de Jamon - Venezuelan Xmas in London
For details of the 11 December 2011 Venezuelan Christmas Bazaar at Bolivar Hall, London, click here.
There was a tropical twist to the usual run-up to Christmas in London on Sunday, 6 December, as the Venezuelan community turned out in force to savour traditional festive dishes at the annual Bazaar Navideno held in Bolivar Hall, the Venezuelan Embassy's cultural centre in Grafton Street.
To the sound of gaitas and the aroma of hallacas, the assembled visitors made the most of the opportunity to catch up with old mates, swap stories and introduce British friends to the essential elements of a Venezuelan Christmas.
All the delicious dishes you'd expect to grace the table of a Venezuelan Christmas meal were on display, from hallacas and pan de jamon, to ensalada de gallina, pernil and sweet desserts such as torta de navidad and quesillo.
The most surprising thing about the event this year was the number of stalls making Venezuelan food "por encargo" ("to order") and the range of dishes being offered, from pasapalos (party snacks) like tequenos to Christmas drinks like Ponche Crema.
Venezuelans offering traditional food to order
Mi Cocina es Tuya
After many years in the business of cooking Venezuelan food Alexis and Mary Pulido know how to adapt the ingredients they find in the UK to make their dishes taste authentic. They have provided the catering at Anglo-Venezuelan Society events and have a well-established food stall at the annual Carnaval del Pueblo in Elephant and Castle, the largest Latin American outdoor festival in Europe.
webpage:Mi Cocina es Tuya
Tu UK Navidena
Roberto Jardin and Luisa Chavez might look like cowboys in the photo, but there was nothing dodgy about their pan de jamon, which was one of the best I've had in the UK and the pastry was just right.
Libia Marulanda has been cooking for the ambassadors of Venezuela for 14 years and makes and excellent ensalada de gallina. Apart from the hallacas and hallaquitas on her stall, she was doing a roaring trade in homemade tequenos, the Venezuelan party snack of choice.