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Spotlight Article

The 3rd Annual Gabala Jam Festival

Azerbaijan American Alliance
August 31, 2015

The 3rd Annual Gabala Jam Festival, organized by the Gabala City Executive Power, Culture and Tourism Ministry, National Cuisine Center and National Culinary Association, showcased various pastries and jams from more than 500 chefs. Azerbaijan, who was represented with chefs from its 35 cities and regions, the festival attracted thousands of local and foreign tourists. According to Carmen D. Padilla, UNESCO International Organization of Folk Art President, the festival’s location of Gabala was the perfect place to host the event.

The festival took place on August 29, and hosted more than 4,000 local and foreign tourists, along with several ambassador’s and artists. Since 2012, the Gabala Jam Festival has received more international attention while highlighting the traditional foods of the Azerbaijani culture. One of the main attractions’ that drew tourists to this festival is the opportunity to taste delicious jams, or “murabba”, prepared by pastry chefs from throughout the region. As part of the festivities, chef’s competed for the festival’s best jam. To compete in this contest, a panel of 12 judges was assembled to evaluate all jams that entered into the contest. All entries were sampled by the judges and were reviewed based on the criteria of their cooking preparation, presentation, flavor, and color. The flavors of jam that were created for this festival included cherry, blackberry, quince, walnut, apricot, flower, and plum. After a careful decision, the jam from the Republic of Sakha Yakutia and Guba region of Azerbaijan was recognized as the winner.  The winning jam was made from north cloudberries, wild strawberries, cranberries, rosehip, fir cones, honeysuckle, forest blueberries, and black currants.

The murabba is known as the main dessert to be served on any Azerbaijani table, and is featured during every tea party. The additional uses for murabba include being served with breakfast, used a filling for pies, and as a common household flu remedy. In featuring ingredients rich in vitamin C such as dogwood and blackberries, the murabba is essential for most Azerbaijani households.

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