The Intersection of Literature, Culinary Arts, and Spirits at GLF

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1st February 2024: In celebration of Sri Lanka’s rich heritage of food and spirits in literature, Karan Gokani, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the South Asian-inspired UK restaurant chain, Hoppers London, curated a special dining experience held on the sidelines of the Galle Literary Festival (GLF) – the ‘Hoppers x Ceylon Arrack Dinner’.

Drawing inspiration from the works of internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan author and Booker Prize winner for his book ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ Shehan Karunatilaka, as well as the island’s unique spirit “Arrack”, guests were treated to an evening featuring a three-part menu paired with cocktails reflecting the theme of the event.

“Arrack has been a significant influence on my work, and I am inspired to see our own traditional beverages making waves in the culinary world. Similarly, our food and literature travel beyond our borders, making it a great partnership,” Karunaratilaka said.

Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Rockland Distilleries (Pvt) Ltd Amal de S Wijeyeratne provided a brief history of arrack based on the book ‘The Adventure of Arrack’ by Michelle Guanwardene.

“The earliest records of Sri Lanka’s most iconic spirit indicate that it is one of the world’s oldest drinks, with references as far back as the 13th century, stating how natives in what was called Seilan back then drank tree-wine. As Rockland steps into our 100th year, we cannot ignore the significant historical value culinary discoveries like this have on our arts and culture – which must be celebrated,” Wijeyeratne said.

Karan Gokani, not only a chef but also the author of ‘Hoppers: The Cookbook’ noted that Sri Lanka has been an inspiration in his culinary journey since he visited the island in 2009.

“This country’s diverse food and drink has fast grown in popularity across the world. I believe the whole point of events like these is that foreigners should be coming in and collaborating with local talent, as there are amazing individuals who have the drive and passion to take this message globally.”

The event was organized by Galle Literary Festival in coordination with Rockland Distilleries and Jetwing Lighthouse as the official hospitality partner. Shehan Karunatilaka and Karan Gokani were among the esteemed speakers at the three-day festival which celebrates literature, culture, and storytelling through panel discussions, readings, workshops, and performances from authors across the world.

END

Image captions

Image 1 – Hoppers x Ceylon Arrack Dinner was hosted at the iconic Jetwing Lighthouse, Galle

Image 2 – Sri Lankan author and Booker Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka hosted a book reading at the event

Image 3 – (Left to right) Karan Gokani – Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hoppers London , Shehan Karunatilaka – Sri Lankan Author and Booker Prize Winner, Amal de S Wijeyeratne – Managing Director of Rockland Distilleries (Pvt) Ltd

 

 

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