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Laramie Main Street Alliance (LMSA) will present the 2nd Annual Laramie International Flavor Festival at participating restaurants and venues throughout Downtown Laramie Tuesday-Saturday April 4-8, 2023.
The 2023 Laramie International Flavor Festival will feature menu items inspired by stories. “One of the best ways to learn more about your neighbor’s heritage is to start a conversation about food,” says Ali Grossman, co-chair of the Laramie International Flavor Festival. This year, the Laramie community was prompted to describe how foods or flavors connect them to their international heritage.
45 Laramie community members responded, including international students and scholars. Now, over 20 participating downtown restaurants will feature unique menu items with flavors inspired by these stories. The specials will appear on their menus throughout the week and the accompanying stories will be displayed at each venue.
Laramie residents are already mapping out their local-but-global plans. Malaysian chicken wings, Austrian wienerschnitzel, Aussie lamb, Japanese fruit sandwiches, Jordanian schwarma, Ukrainian borscht, and international butter boards are just a sampling of the community-inspired international dishes that are listed on the laramiemainstreet.org/international-flavor-festival site.
Laramie Main Street Alliance partners with University of Wyoming International Students and Scholars to encourage the participation of the international community. “What could be more exciting than discovering new foods and, along with them, new cultures and maybe even some new neighbors,” says Dr. Isadora A. Helfgott, VP for UW Global Engagement. “The Laramie International Flavor Festival brings so many opportunities for discovery and for making new connections across cultures and we’re thrilled to partner with the Laramie Main Street Alliance to highlight the rich diversity of our community.”
Recent University of Wyoming graduate and second-year festival participant Adlynn Jamaludin reflects that the sharing of culture is a two-way street, “As an international student, I was so curious about American culture, but vice-versa, it is a great feeling when my American friends and neighbors find my stories about Malaysian culture, and even the every-day things and flavors, to be interesting as well.” Now employed as a journalist in Laramie, she was motivated to enter her story for this year’s festival. “What is it? It’s simply just fried chicken. BUT – it’s not your typical flour-coated fried chicken …. It’s simply just coating the chicken with salt and turmeric powder (not too much or it’ll be bitter! how much? as my grandma says it “just enough” no idea what that means, but thankfully I’m a good enough cook to know how much is just enough) and then deep frying it. It sounds simple yet… odd? Because turmeric? But trust me, try it, and you’ll be amazed by the flavor.” Born in the Barn will represent her story with an American twist: they will feature turmeric chicken wings.
Festival co-chair Deb Ross adds, “The 2023 festival extends beyond the table and offers even more opportunities to meet our neighbors. Several of the venues are providing entertainment such as international karaoke, movies, dancing, and even an international poetry open mic” The festival will conclude with an “International Culture Adventure” sponsored by WyoGlobal, and will include a Tales at the Taphouse storytelling event featuring the stories that inspired this year’s festival.
Laramie Main Street Alliance strives to enhance the economic and social vitality of Historic Downtown Laramie. LMSA Director Trey Sherwood notes that last year’s inaugural festival hit the mark by introducing crowds into downtown venues to celebrate diverse international residents and influences.
Several restaurants, including Accomplice Mycro-Pub, had such success with last year’s international menu items that they kept festival items on their permanent menus. This year, they are hoping to achieve the same success by featuring another traditional dish from England: local Sandra Barstow’s steak and kidney pie with Slumber Car Porter.
“We feel that this event has such a positive impact on our local community, including our chefs and restaurants,” says Kerri Smith co-owner of Alibi Wood Fire Pizzeria. “Alibi was given the opportunity to participate in the Taste of Colorado in Vail this year, but it overlaps with the Laramie International Flavor Festival so we made the decision to stay here, support Main Street, and represent new cultures and flavors this year.” The restaurant is collaborating with Austrian-born Laramie resident Manuaela Hofer-McIntyre to present wiener schnitzel, goulash, karntner kasnudel, hausbrot, sacher torte, and apfelstruedel.
“Moving to the U.S. in 2005, I left a lot behind in my home country of Austria.” Hofer-McIntyre wrote. “There are a handful of Carinthian (region in the southeastern part of Austria where I was born and grew up) dishes that make my pallet ever-happy”. She is excited to share these with her adopted home and say “GUTEN APPETIT!“