For the first time, flavours from the American south are being served at one of the 73 pavilions at the Edmonton Heritage Festival.
Monell’s restaurant, a family restaurant chain from Nashville, is serving up fried chicken, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, pulled pork, and other southern favourites.
Monell’s owner Michael King said this is an opportunity to give Edmontonians a chance to know what southern food is all about.
“Southern food is uncomplicated, it’s full,” Kind said. “It gives you a good belly, you want to take a nap afterwards.”
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Edmonton and Nashville are sister cities, sharing a love for food and music. The bond was established by both city councils in 1990. Representatives from each city visit periodically to exchange ideas.
The idea to include Nashville happened after a representative with the Sister Cities of Nashville came to the festival.
“We met them last year and they said, ‘You have to let us come up and share our lineage as sister cities,’ and they’ve come up and they’ve done a great job,” Edmonton Heritage Festival Association executive director Jim Gibbon said.
Festivals goers are happy to have them here, even though many weren’t aware of Nashville’s connection to Edmonton.
Cindy Samuel said she went on a hunt to find the pavilion and was happy to taste what they had to offer.
“I love the corn bread; the coleslaw is so good,” Samuel said. “The pulled pork is not too fatty, not too greasy.”
The pavilion also included a stage with artists from Nashville adding country music to the mix.
For the 2019 festival, the award for best food went to Liberia for the second year in a row, after being judged by a panel of local politicians, community leaders and journalists.
One of the judges — former journalist-turned-senator Paula Simons — said the food from Liberia was uniformly terrific, citing a chicken dish and beef stew made with sweet potato leaves.
Second place went to Scandinavia, which Simons called “reliably delicious.” In a Facebook post, she said she was “addicted to their unusual and scrumptious version of rice pudding with raspberry sauce, but my fellow judges were just as impressed by the open-facing herring sandwich with fresh dill and the bespoke and authentic Icelandic hot dogs.”
The third place went Pakistan, which Simons said served up fish pakoras “better and fresher” than any she’d ever had in a restaurant.
Honourable mention went to Russia, for its blini, its pelmeni, and its beet salad.
Other awards handed out were for best entertainment to newcomer Palestine, best art to Israel, and best vignette to Scandinavia.
READ MORE: Palestine to put up pavilion for 1st time at 2019 Edmonton Heritage Festival
— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News