Alfajores or dulce de leche cookies should be the only words I have to write to entice you to this year’s International Festival in downtown Raleigh.
Now in its 29th year, the festival is Friday through Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center. The event includes ethnic dancing, music, cultural exhibits, children’s activities and (most important for folks like me) food representing more than 20 international cuisines. Plus, there’s a tea and coffee house and a wine and beer garden.
But back to those cookies. The event also includes cooking demonstrations, and organizer Karin Shank will show how to make those delicious sandwich cookies with the dulce de leche filling at 7 p.m. Saturday. The cookies are popular in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay, where Shank’s mother was raised and her grandparents worked as missionaries.
There are 30-minute cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend. Here are some highlights:
• At 5 p.m. Friday, Betty Saleh of the Nemonde bakery clan will show how to make Lebanese vegetable moussake and rice with vermicelli. Saleh is back at 8 p.m. Saturday to show how to make Egyptian ful mudammas, a dish of cooked and mashed fava beans.
• At 6 p.m. Friday, Kim Hunter of Raleigh’s Kimbap will demonstrate how to make Korean mandu or dumplings.
• At 11 a.m. Saturday, Shoshana Serxner will teach how to make Dutch doughnuts.
• At noon Sunday, Christina Pham will teach how cooks in Thailand make pad thai.
Beyond a cooking lesson, samples will be served, which is always a crowd pleaser.
“Once we start handing out samples, everybody comes running,” Shank said.
The festival is 4:30-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $6-$8.