Doha's avid foodies are in for another round of treats as the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), the country's longest-running culinary festival, is on its way to the spacious Hotel Park Doha for its ninth year!
Extending over the full 80,000 sq m of the park grounds for 11 days, the annual QIFF promises to celebrate cultural diversity through food and entertainment without neglecting the importance of healthy living and family bonding. The even bigger gathering of food fans from across the country is also set to shed a spotlight on Qatar's home-grown talent, through a rich mix of culinary delights and entertainment.
QIFF, running from March 15-25, is the second country-wide festival of 2018, and follows on the heels of Shop Qatar. The number of QIFF participants has grown by 63% to reach 177 stalls, food trucks, and trolleys, bringing culinary and cultural experiences from all corners of the globe to visitors and residents in Qatar.
With 16 hotel participants bringing the best of culinary experiences at prices that not exceeding QR 40, QIFF will also host 6 food trucks in total, plus Qatar Foundation's Torba Market, which will offer farm-to-table experiences.
Still in celebration of the unique mix that Qatar is home to, nine international embassies in Doha (namely the U.S., South African, Vietnamese, Philippine, Turkish, Lebanese, Mexican, Indian, and Ethiopian) will be inviting festival-goers to savour the flavours of East and West. One of the festival favourites, the Live Cooking Theater, will also return with participation from internationally-renowned chefs such as U.S. MasterChef Christine Ha, Qatar's very own Aisha Al Tamimi, and no less than Michelin Star chef Wolfgang Puck. These multinational talents, along with others will be sharing their culinary delights from 6:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. daily with a different theme for each day.
Also back this year, is the Health Zone which encourages conscious eating habits and life choices that promote overall well-being. Aside from this, there will also be fitness classes regularly held throughout the festival allowing foodies to get their blood pumping while enjoying the outdoor activities at Hotel Park -- for free!
Caffeine lovers will surely love spending some time in Hotel Park as QIFF welcomes a new addition to the family this year -- the Coffee Zone! With a focus mainly on locally-owned coffee shops which have become contemporary symbols of cultural and social exchange, the dedicated spot will provide coffee addicts a chance to immerse themselves in the bean's rich aromas and flavours.
Besides the gastronomy, top-notch entertainment will also be found in Hotel Park for the 11-day duration of QIFF. The main festival stage will be hosting a variety of live performances and cultural shows running throughout the day. In the evenings (except on the opening night), fireworks displays will light up the sky above the Doha Corniche at 8:00 p.m. There will also be a mini-zoo, sports classes, and creative activities, plus a cinema zone for kids.
The QIFF Menu, another returnee for the ninth year, is bringing the festival to restaurants and cafes across Qatar. The menu, which will be available for the whole month of March, allows residents and visitors to enjoy mouth-watering food groupings of three menu items at a pre-set price of QR 49 at stand-alone cafes and restaurants, and QR 99 at hotels.
Demonstrating its consideration for the community, QIFF organizers have signed up with Wa'hab food collection and distribution service for this year's festival. The charity will ensure that festival-goers can donate untouched food so it's carefully re-packaged and delivered to those in need.
QIFF forms a part of QTA's strategy to grow and diversify the country's tourism offerings, particularly in the area of family and urban entertainment. It's grown since its first edition in 2010 to become one of the most-anticipated events in Qatar's growing calendar of annual festivals and events.
Rashed Al Qurese, Chief Marketing & Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) commented, “As an international food festival that celebrates a host of cultures from all corners of the globe, QIFF demonstrates Qatar’s message of welcoming the world, both to its residents and visitors.” He added, “Offering authentic, family-friendly experiences through festivals such as QIFF continues to be an important pillar of the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030.”
This edition of QIFF will be organized and delivered by QTA with the support of numerous partners representing the entertainment, hospitality, and F&B sectors in Qatar. The festival also has partnerships with Qatar Airways and Uber, offering visitors an ease of access to the 11-day-long event.
Making the ninth year of QIFF even grander are the following: an underground parking for visitors which has over 2,500 spaces, 16 additional restroom units, and ramps for easier wheelchair and pram access.
What are you most looking forward to for QIFF's brand-new 2018 edition? Are you ready to sink your teeth into everything savoury once the festival starts rolling mid-March? Drop us a line in the comments below and, also, don't forget to like and share this article -- it keeps us going!
(Photos courtesy of Visit Qatar's press office)
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