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International flavors, flair on tap in Saratoga

International flavors, flair on tap in Saratoga

Downtown event to feature chefs’ creations, music, dance
International flavors, flair on tap in Saratoga
A soft taco filled with pulled pork, slaw and mango pico de gallo was part of last year's event.
Photographer: erica miller

Circumnavigate the culinary world this weekend in the city of Saratoga Springs via the International Flavorfeast. 

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs until 4 p.m. throughout downtown Saratoga Springs. Restaurants from Broadway, Caroline Street and across the city will be serving up dishes with flavors from Japan, Spain, Mexico, Italy, China, France, Israel and 11 other countries. 

“The list of participating restaurants and entertainment is impressive. You can literally eat your way around the world by coming out and enjoying what the local culinary scene has to offer,” said organizer Fran Dingemen. For the past five years, she’s presented the Flavorfeast with her daughter, Ashley, founder of the website Saratoga Food Fanatic. 

Attendees can grab samples from each restaurant for $1. Participating restaurants that are outside of the immediate downtown area will set up sampling tables in the Downtowner parking lot on the corner of Broadway and Division Street. Some chefs are cooking dishes native to them, while others are branching out and preparing dishes from cultures outside of what they would normally cook. 

“It’s set up to be more like a European street festival,” Dingeman said.

Besides the culinary creations, there will be performers playing and dancing to international music. Bagpipes, accordions, African drums, as well as Irish step dancers, stilt walking, the Ujima Step Team and the Raices Dance Troupe will perform, among others. While some will play right on the streets of downtown, others will take to the stages in front of the Adirondack Trust Company, Fingerpaint Marketing and The Parting Glass. 

In the Fingerpaint parking lot on Division Street, there will be aikido demonstrations and yoga, as well as stilt walking, juggling and activities for kids. Foreign cars from Keeler Motor Car Company, a Model T and other vintage cars will be lining Division Street -- as long as there's no rain. 

Dingeman said the timing of the Flavorfeast -- so close to Columbus Day -- was purposeful in that it’s the perfect time to highlight and celebrate other cultures. 

This year, 27 restaurants and two businesses are participating in the event, some for the first time. For those who want to stamp their culinary passport at each spot, maps can be picked up on the Fingerpaint corner.

Here’s a glance at some of the savory samples to be offered this weekend:

  • Hot tamales: For the first time, Cantina will be joining in the Flavorfeast with samples of their tamales.  
  • French fricassee: The Blue Hen will also be participating in the Flavorfeast for the first time, with samples of their pork belly fricassee. 
  • Close to home: The Dizzy Chicken will be offering up its St. Louis-style ribs and smoked chicken thighs. 
  • Knish wish: Saratoga’s Broadway Deli went with an Eastern European-style dish: They’ll be serving a potato knish. 
  • Savory schnitzel: For their first year at the event, Braeburn Tavern is bringing out a classic German dish. They’re cooking schnitzel with braised cabbage and a beer mustard sauce. 
  • Just desserts: Banoffee pie, a traditional dessert from England, will be served up by Prime at Saratoga National. If you’re looking for something sweet, this might be your best bet.
  • Cultural fusion: Phila Fusion Noodle Bar is combining culinary influences from China, Korea and Vietnam. They’re offering a mix of som tum, Thai BBQ pork, and sticky rice and General Tso’s chicken. 

For the full list of foods, participating restaurants and entertainment, visit saratogaflavorfeast.com or call 518-365-3459. 

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