If you are an ardent foodie, head straight for Nalban where the eighth edition of the West Bengal Tourism and Food Festival has been on since Thursday. The five-day extravaganza which has mouthwatering cuisines from five states on offer and much more will continue till Monday.
The five participating states Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir have been given a day each to present their cuisine before the visitors. Day I began with Andhra Pradesh. With a nominal entry fee of `10, the food festival is expected to pull in the crowds. The authorities feel that the footfall this year will exceed 60,000.
Besides food stalls, there will be stalls for promoting tourism, kiosks displaying arts and crafts of the participating states and of course, a line-up of cultural events. James, a rock band from Bangladesh and the Vir Khalsa Group of India’s Got Talent fame will be the major attractions this year. Presented in association with The Times of India, the timings would be 12 noon to 9 pm for the fest and 6 to 9 pm for the performances.
The TOI team found Parna Ghatak, an assistant filmmaker and also a regular at the food festival, enjoying herself at the fair. “I have sampled a chicken and a fish preparation till now and I must say that the food is very good. In fact, I look forward to this fair every year. You can spend the entire day here, have lunch, dinner, enjoy the performances and go home happy,” she smiled.
Welcoming one and all to the food festival on Thursday, Manabendra Mukherjee, minister-in-charge, micro and small scale enterprises and textiles and tourism, promised “100% enjoyment”. Also present at Thursday’s opening ceremony was TVN Rao, managing director, WBTDC, Raghvendra Singh, principal secretary, department of tourism, sports and youth services, among others.
Mukherjee went on to say that the festival was an attempt to bring culture, cuisine and tourism under one roof. He thanked the participating states and reserved a special word for Jammu and Kashmir which has taken part in the festival enthusiastically year after year.
“Investment is flowing in; two 5-star hotels have come up in the city in the
last six months. We’ve just completed a rural project in Bankura’s Mukutmanipur; we are developing a tourism circuit in Purulia; Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri are also on our priority list,” said the minister.
Rao said all important food chains of the city would have their stalls at the fest.