Seeking synergy with World Pulses Day, the organizers of the British Dal Festival, now in its second year, moved their festivities up from March to the week of February 10th. Nick Saltmarsh of Hodmedod’s British Pulses and Grains, one of the Dal Festival’s organizers, said that the first festival took place in the ethnically diverse city of Bristol. This year, with the impetus of World Pulses Day, the festival expanded to more than a dozen cities throughout the country.
“The Dal Festival celebrates dal in a very broad sense,” explained Nick. “The festival not only focuses on the traditional dal of the Indian subcontinent, but also explores similar dishes from other cultures, such as mushy peas from England, refried beans from Mexico and Santorini fava from Greece.”
The week-long festival featured a Dal Trail with more than 50 participating restaurants, an open day at a Hindu Temple, dal feasts and tastings, a film screening and the giving away of more than 200 free dal lunches at a street market.
The festival emphasized four themes: flavor (highlighting the culinary versatility of pulses); nurture (focusing on their health and nutritional benefits); culture (exploring the multicultural and social importance of pulses); and nature (spotlighting the environmental benefits of pulse production).
“World Pulses Day attracted some good media coverage,” said Nick, who took part in a discussion on the importance of pulses on national radio. “In general World Pulses Day amplified our messages and helped us communicate that pulses are special and that the UN now recognizes their importance by giving them their own annual day.”