Tasting event to precede Global Village Festival - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Tasting event to precede Global Village Festival

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Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 5:56 pm | Updated: 3:42 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Food can be a pathway to other worlds, and that’s exactly what baklava, pasta, gyros and crepes will be this weekend at Essence of the World, a new food-tasting event that will serve as a prelude to Gilbert’s sixth annual Global Village Festival.

You can read about jicama sticks dusted with chile powder, and you can see photographs in cookbooks, but until you buy a paper cone full of the juicy white-fleshed tuber from a street vendor south of the border and dig in, you don’t really get it.

Food can be a pathway to other worlds, and that’s exactly what baklava, pasta, gyros and crepes will be this weekend at Essence of the World, a new food-tasting event that will serve as a prelude to Gilbert’s sixth annual Global Village Festival.

“It’s a street fair down the main street of Gilbert Town Square, where we’re going to explore food and wine and beer from around the world,” says Gayle Disch, vice president of Gilbert Sister Cities, the nonprofit cultural exchange group that organized the tasting.

Admission to the Friday-night festival is free, and sampling tickets — priced at $2 each — will get you a 2-ounce pour of wine or beer or a small bite of food.

Disch says three or four tickets will buy enough food to fill up an adult.

Phoenicia Mediterranean Grill, Sal’s Gilbert Pizza, IHOP, Buffalo Wild Wings, Boston’s and Gilbert Ice Cream will supply the eats. Beer is courtesy Tempe’s Four Peaks Brewery. The festival will also feature wines from France, Italy and Australia. Soft drinks and water will also be available.

In addition to the food, local variety band Urban Crossroads will perform on stage, preceeded by Polynesian and Fillipino dance numbers by Mabuhay Dance Group and singers and dancers from the Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian School. Colorfully costumed members of Kriti Dance will roam the grounds, performing Bollywood-style dances on the spot. Local auto club Arizona Mini Owners will display British cars.

Proceeds from the tasting will be divided between the Global Village Festival and Gilbert Sister Cities’ student exchange program. This is the first year the group will send local high schoolers to China.

In July, Leah Fiacco and Bradyn Beus, juniors at Williams Field High School and Highland High School, respectively, will travel to Leshan, China. Paige Mayer, a junior at Williams Field, and Jacob Dwyer, a junior at Mesquite High School, will spend three weeks in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.

The town’s Global Village Festival — which is expected to draw about 7,000 people to Gilbert Civic Center North Campus — will continue the multicultural theme on Saturday. Costumes, music, art, dance, religions and other cultural mores of countries around the world are spotlighted at the free event.

“(Having this cultural awareness) is a priority for any community,” says Disch. “It gives us a sense of unity, a sense of who we are. By celebrating all the different cultures in Gilbert, we give each other the opportunity to have the world at our doorstep and get to know our neighbors.”

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