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The First British Dal Festival

The First British Dal Festival

by Nick Saltmarsh February 24, 2018

The first ever British Dal Festival ran in Bristol from 19th to 25th March 2018. The festival celebrated simple but sublime dals of peas, beans and lentils, alongside sister pulse dishes from Britain’s mushy peas to Mexico’s refried beans.

The British Dal Festival will be celebrating the magic of dal, and similar pulse dishes from around the world, though events across the city of Bristol from 19th to 25th March 2018, culminating in the Grand Dal Finale at Paintworks on the Sunday.

Reasons to be Dal-full

The festival is an intiative of BEPA, the British Edible Pulse Association, to promote the many benefits of pulses. Described by the United Nations as “nutritious seeds for a sustainable future”, pulses are good for the environment, farming and our health and nutrition – as well as providing the basis for delicious meals around the world. British farmers produce many excellent pulses, including fava beans and marrowfat, yellow and blue-green peas.

Celebrating Dal across the City of Bristol

The festival's Grand Dal Finale will feature global pulse-based street food, market stalls, children’s activities, food demos and dal wisdom from top chefs and experts including Romy Gill, Jenny Chandler, Kalpna Woolf, Krishna Dutta and Claire Thomson.

Throughout the week a Dal Trail around the city’s restaurants and eateries will offer visitors the chance to try signature dals of many varieties. Participating venues include Windmill Hill City Farm, Cauldron, Poco, Pear Café, Gopal's Curry Shack, River Cottage Canteen and many more besides.

On Wednesday 21st March Bristol Farmers’ Market will offer a free dal lunch, cooked by the Thali Cafe and 91 Ways, and feature guest stalls selling dal ingredients, including Hodmedod's range of British-grown pulses.

Gathering Dal Recipes and Stories

Award-winning community organisation 91 Ways will work with diverse Bristol communities to gather recipes for dal in all its variety and to collect memories and stories of dal's appeal and significance across different countries and cultures.

Food growing organisation Incredible Edible Bristol and local volunteers will be planting lentils, peas and beans in Bristol’s Millennium Square and at growing sites across Bristol.

Let's get Children Cooking Dal!

Jenny Chandler, author of the superb bean, pea and lentil cookbook Pulse and United Nations European Pulse Ambassador in 2016, has created an inspiring educational pack to get primary school children cooking dal in schools.

Jenny explains, “Cooking dal is magical; a couple of handfuls of pulses cooked up with nothing more than water and a few spices delivers one of the most comforting, nutritious and economical dishes on earth. The British Dal Festival is a chance to share and celebrate recipes from all our communities, spreading the love for an affordable, healthy, sustainable and, above all, delicious dish.”




Nick Saltmarsh
Nick Saltmarsh

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