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Eat your heart out
DO Singaporeans ever stop eating? The simple answer is: No. The right question to ask is how often they eat. And this weekend, the correct answer will be, three food festivals' worth.
But don't be fooled into thinking they're all the same. In keeping with ever-evolving local tastes, each festival complements its edible offerings with other dimensions - namely, design, French culture, and wine.
"We don't think the market is over-saturated just yet because each event tries to revolve around a different theme and showcases different makers and creators," says a spokesperson for retail designer Naiise, which is launching its first food-meets-design festival.
Whimsically titled I Eat Design, the festival will be held on Sept 10 and 11 at its flagship store at The Cathay. Its founder, Dennis Tay, explains: "This festival is a representation of what Naiise stands for - creating memorable, feel-good experiences centred on design and connecting communities of design-lovers and crafters."
A spokesperson for Naiise adds: "We hope to bring people closer to design through the simple concept of everyday objects like food by creating a unique collaborative showcase of innovative, design-driven food."
To this end, visitors can look forward to sampling the offerings of 10 food vendors including salted egg chocolate truffles by Demochoco, unicorn-themed food offerings by State Creative and a live crochet demonstration of ice cream knick-knacks by Operation Overhaul.
Workshops such as a granola parfait class by Eastern Granola and Box Green will also take place at the two-day event.
Meanwhile, visitors to La Semaine Francaise will be treated to a gastronomic abundance of French cuisine at 25 different restaurants across the city. Supported by The French Ministry of Agriculture, marketing and communication agency Sopexa and online restaurant guide DiningCity, this event will run from Sept 10 to 17.
Tara Mohamad, the general manager of DiningCity, says: "We wanted to provide an opportunity for Singaporeans and residents here to appreciate and discover the finesse of French cuisine and maybe spark their curiosity to learn more about French culture."
The biggest challenge in putting the festival together was "finding the balance between the cost of a great artisanal French cuisine and the price point that would make it suitable for Singaporeans".
Some restaurants taking part in La Semaine Francaise include Absinthe, Oso Grill and Saveur, which have created lunch and dinner set menus starting at S$40 and S$58 respectively, including a glass of wine.
The third festival, which also believes in the heady combination of wine and food, is Savour Wines, which will be held from Sept 9 to 11 at Bayfront Avenue.
This is just one of the three festivals Savour is holding this year. Savour Wines follows its predecessor Savour Gourmet, held in May, and will be followed by Savour Christmas in November.
Savour's executive director Darren Chen says: "Since 2011, the F&B scene in Singapore has grown tremendously and the demand for our content-rich, price-competitive and lifestyle-driven format has increased exponentially, so with every year's edition being sold out, we reached a plateau in the number of people we could reach with a single event."
With all its events being food-centric, Savour Wines was a natural extension of its brand. "It was a very natural niche edition because food and wine go well together, and have always appealed to our crowd," he adds.
Mr Chen is expecting to see more than 150,000 attendees at the three Savour events this year. Savour Wines will feature more than 400 labels of wine, 200 types of cheese and 19 different selections of live oysters from all around the world.
The Gourmet Village which will house culinary delights from restaurants like Bird Bird, Mitzo, and The Rabbit Stash, will also play host to the second semi-finals of the DBS Live Your Dream initiative. Launched last year, this scheme provides a platform for emerging home-grown chefs to show off their best creations, before bringing the heat to the finals at Savour Christmas later this year.
Though the local food festival scene might seem overly crowded, Mr Chen believes the market here can handle it.
He notes: "Singapore is a great place to produce events because Singaporeans are constantly on the lookout for new experiences and are more open to new concepts and ideas compared to other countries. The quality of these experiences is what matters, not the quantity."