Mela Festival 2010

Mela Festival 17-07-2010
Noodle Milkshake anyone?  Strange combination I do accept, but one I bravely tried whilst perusing through our yearly Asian festival in Southampton.  This Indian sweet snack is known as Falooda and upon questioning I discovered it was actually quite an old recipe evidently well loved by the Asian locals judging from the rate of which they were made and sold.  I was dubious to begin with I must admit, but wouldn't you be as well?  The sweet snack drink consisted of vermicelli - more like rice spagetti (although a look at the good old Wikipedia says it's made from arrowroot), tapioca seeds, an ice cream made purely from milk and topped up with- in my case strawberry milkshake and drizzled with a beautifully coloured rose syrup.  My verdict?  Not bad!  Everything I thought wouldn't go together came together in an interesting mix of texture and flavours not at all unpleasant once convention is thrown out the window.  Would I try it again? Quite possibly, although my usual drink of choice would not be as sweet, and usually non-dairy, but every now and then I feel the need to break the mould and try something different, and where better to break it than at a sunny Asian festival? 

The making of falooda
The day was filled with art, dance and the alluring smells of mainly Indian food.  Most of which I was happy to see were 100% vegetarian.  There were dancers and performers on stilts, of both the elegant and comical variety, stalls hosting an array of brightly coloured scarves, saris, pashminas and intricate handmade wooden items as well as henna artists.  I was ecstatic to find my favouritte pashmina seller there again this year.  Having bought three last year which have served me so well I was eager to top up my collection with more colours and designs.  At 3 for £10, I really couldn't go wrong and from experience these pashminas stand the test of time and feel heavenly soft and warm. 

Beautiful actors on stilts
No Asian festival is complete without exotic performances in the form of dance and music, and this festival was no exception. There were local schools performing traditional cultural dances, little children from clubs and talented adults all singing and dancing, bringing the event to life with their sound, colour and talents.

A cheif making a Masala Dosa
What a fantastic day, and a beautiful time to see people from all races enjoying the day together, sampling the local cuisine and watching the performances from their settled positions on the grass or picnic blankets. I can't wait for next year!


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