As regular readers of Dining with Donald know, I travel almost exclusively by foot or by bus. So, I appreciate Folklorama Pavilions being grouped close together. Monday, I managed to make my visits on foot. Yesterday, I hopped the bus up Main Street to take in the pavilions of Ethiopia and Germany. I started with the Ethiopian one.
Ethiopian food is one of my favourite cuisines. Winnipeg is fortunate to have several really good Ethiopian restaurants such as Kokeb and Gohe. The Ethiopian pavilion does not disappoint in it’s menu. I chose the Ethiopian platter to start off. It’s available with or without beer on the side, and I went with the Ethiopian St. George beer(it might help you to slay your dragons). I also selected a piece of baklava for dessert and tried the fresh roasted and poured Ethiopian coffee.
Ethiopian Pavilion Show
The show at the Ethiopian pavilion featured one of the most energetic starts I’ve seen in the past 10 or so days. This dance routine lasted a full five minutes. The video below contains most of it, but there’s a little bit at the front and back ends not included. Each group of dancers showed of the costumes and dances of various regions of Ethiopia. In between, the MCs filled the audience in with a variety of facts about Ethiopian. Among them is the fact that Ethiopia has more Unesco Heritage sites than any country in the world. Plus, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, for which it deserves our undying gratitude.
The preparing and pouring of the Ethiopian coffee is a show within a show. Fortunately I was in a location where I could watch the coffee show out of the corner of my eye while still watching the stage show.
It’s a bit of a tight squeeze at the Ethiopian pavilion, so make sure you arrive early to get yourself a good seat. Also, make sure to order your coffee at the same time as you place your food order, so that you can get it as soon as it’s ready.
Ethiopian Cultural Display
The cultural display is found in a room across the hall from the performance area. It contains a variety of art styles and other cultural artifacts. My favourite is the communal dining table. This is a small round table where food on a tray is placed. Everybody then takes their food from this tray.
The cultural display also contains a copy of the Ethiopian alphabet, which contains 230 characters.
German Pavilion Food
Leaving the Ethiopian pavilion, it’s just a matter of walking two or three blocks to get t the German Pavillion. As you can imagine from looking at the Ethiopian food pictures, I sampled a little less at the German Pavilion. Still, given the size of the portions there was a lot of food. My choice was the Bratwurst plate. This plate consisted of Bratwurst on a bun(you can opt for the Bratwurst without a bun), red cabbage, and spaetzle. You can have sauerkraut instead of the red cabbage. You can also order mashed potatoes instead of the spaetzle. Going through again, I would ask for a little more gravy on the spaeztle. My choice to minimize the gravy. There was all the gravy your heart could desire for the asking.
The German show kicked off with music by the German Brass Band. I grew up with brass music, and love a good wind ensemble. This band plays with style and enthusiasm. Of course there are a variety of other musical forms in Germany. One, from the mountainous regions of the country is Yodeling. Below a trio of musicians give a taste of genuine German Yodeling.
There was also a lot of dancing on the program. The dancers also represented various regions of the company and ranged from young children up to adult dance groups.
The music at the pavilion is very enjoyable. If you don’t get enough of it during the show, you can always head out to the beer tent on the parking lot. There is a live band providing dance music to keep you moving late into the night.
German Cultural Display
The cultural display at the pavilion in on your way, as you climb up to the performance area. In one room there were a little of pictures relating to wine. This was put on by the German-Canadian Congress who want to emphasize that Germany has a great deal to offer in wine as well as in beer.
Another noteworthy German tradition is the Christkindlmarkt or Christmas market. This is a long running tradition dating back to the middle ages. The markets are a mixture of Christmas shopping and arts and entertainment presentations, all done around the Christmas theme. You can find the dates for Winnipeg’s Christkindlmarkt, here.
The German pavilion is full of life and energy. The food is great and plentiful, and you can dance and enjoy the music late into the evening. Even if you can’t make it to the pavilion for the show, stop by for the late night party.