Fermented corn – feel the fear and try it anyway 26 Jan 2010
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Media release 26 January, 2010
Fermented corn – feel the fear and try it anyway at the Kawhia Kai Festival
Most visitors to this year’s Kawhia Kai Festival will be lining up for such delicacies as Toroi (marinated mussels and puha), Inanga (Whitebait patties), or traditional hangi – but phone orders are also coming for Kanga Pirau (fermented corn) the smell of which would have most of us gagging.
Also known colloquially as “Maori porridge”, Kanga Pirau takes up to six weeks to prepare and is decidedly an acquired taste, says Festival organiser, Lloyd Whiu.
“If you can get past the aroma, you are onto a good thing!” confesses Lloyd who first acquired a taste for fermented corn in his mid-20s.
“A lot of the old kuia and kaumatua love to eat it just like porridge at breakfast time – with cream and brown sugar.”
Of the 25 food stalls at this year’s event, there will be five local marae with stalls selling the ever-popular hangi at the one day Festival celebrating Waitangi Day on February 6 – and just one stall will be offering Kanga Pirau. And it will be in such demand that visitors are already ringing up Lloyd to see if they can pre-order it.
Kanga Pirau is prepared by putting corn cobs into sacks which are left in a clean running stream for up to six weeks until they have fermented. The corn kernels are then stripped from the cob, mashed and then cooked just like porridge and served either hot or cold.
For the less adventurous, there’ll also be plenty of Puha and pork spring rolls, Pawhara (smoked fish and eel) as well as the local Waikato delicacy - Koki (shark liver pate – available at the Festival dedicated to traditional and contemporary Maori cuisine. Dishes are often served in traditional “kono” which are small woven flax baskets.
And while savouring the flavours, the more than 10,000 expected visitors can enjoy two stages offering a full day of entertainment. Headline act will be Moana and The Tribe as well as performances by OnThaOne, Shine Forum, Kotuku Entertainers, Manatu, Children of the Mist, and highly reputable kapahaka groups, Mata-Waka and Noera.
With a record 50 stalls planned for this year’s festival including food stalls as well as many dedicated to traditional arts and crafts, the Festival organisers have expanded the area of the festival.
Food stalls and entertainment will be centered around the idyllic Omimiti Park reserve on the shores of Kawhia Harbour. While the arts and crafts stalls will now line the adjacent road which will be closed off to traffic.
Located at Kawhia on the west coast of the North Island, the Kawhia Kai Festival will open at 9.15am on Saturday, February 6, with a mihi whakatau welcome and blessing.
Gate entry will be $5 for adults and children under 5 free, while a family pass for two adults and four children will cost $15.
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