Date: 
Friday, September 12, 2014 - 16:30

The amazing African fruit baobab will be celebrated with a week of festivities at the Eden Project starting on Monday September 22.

The festival runs until September 28 and is dedicated to showing visitors how the delicious fruit - six times richer in vitamin C than oranges - is grown, harvested and used in food and drink.

Baoabab trees (Adansonia digitata) are native to tropical African countries and can live for thousands of years. They provide a vital source of food, shelter and medicine.

The Eden Project is working with PhytoTrade Africa to support the farmers and harvesters who grow this incredible crop by promoting its unique flavour and health-giving properties.

The Baobab Festival is running for its second year as part of the project’s annual Harvest celebration, which also features a raft of top chefs and a week dedicated to beer, wine and cider.

Throughout the baobab festival, visitors will have the opportunity to meet Rosby Mthinda, who works with baobab growers in Malawi. Rosby will be sharing her experiences and showing visitors how the increased interest in the fruit has benefited African farmers.

The week is being supported by Whitley Neill, an award-winning premium gin which includes baobab in its unique mixture of botanicals. Johnny Neill, founder of Whitley Neill, will be hosting a series of tastings and masterclasses throughout the week. On the Wednesday and Thursday he will be joined by mixologist Josh Linfitt of Propping up the Bar who will be showcasing baobab-inspired cocktails.

On Monday September 22, Frances Quinn, winner of last year’s Great British Bake-Off, will be giving a demonstration showing how baobab can be a tasty and versatile addition to baking.

On Tuesday September 23, Stephane Delourme, head chef at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, will be demonstrating how to make a delicious Moroccan fish tagine using baobab. He will bring his colleague Stuart Pate, who is executive pastry chef at the restaurant, who will be making baobab panna cotta with pineapple and grenadine.

On Wednesday and Thursday September 24 and 25, Malcolm Riley, otherwise known as “the African Chef” will be demonstrating his baobab chilli jam pasta, accompanied with a watercress and goats’ cheese salad with roasted pine nuts and baobab balsamic dressing. Malcolm was born in Zambia and now lives in Devon.

Tracey Smith, Eden’s commercial manager, said: “We’re very excited to be able to bring our celebration of the remarkable baobab fruit back to Eden for the second year running.

“Baobab is a fabulous ingredient in both food and drink, is incredibly good for you and its increased popularity makes a real difference to the African growers.”

In Africa, nutrient-rich leaves and young seedlings are eaten in addition to the fruit and people chew the wood to obtain water in times of drought. The flowers can be made into honey, the wood is used for fuel and timber and the trunk for storing water. In the UK, baobab is sold as a fruit powder which can be added to a variety of different food and drink and gives a distinctive, tangy, citrus flavour.

A variety of baobab products can be bought from Eden both in the on-site shop and online from www.edenproject.com.

Harvest at Eden continues with a chilli weekend on September 20 and 21. From September 29 to October 5, the focus will be on all things alcoholic, with beer, wine, cider and spirits all being showcased. On October 4, Eden’s second annual beer festival, run in partnership with St. Austell Brewery, takes place.

All Harvest activities are included in the standard Eden admission price, with the exception of the beer festival which costs £10 per person. Tickets for this can be booked by visiting www.edenproject.com/beer-festival.