Hitting all the right sweet spots can easily be accomplished with a bite of halwa. From its sweet-smoky aroma of caramelised sugar to its impeccable taste, Omani halwa attracts both locals and visitors to get a true taste of the nation’s favourite treat. As such, the halwa station at the Muscat Festival has become a popular stop and quite a staple throughout the years.
Visitors to the Halwa station can witness the art of making the delicious dessert and taste it right out of the pot in all its sweet glory.
This year, the station at Al Naseem Park is occupied by Adnan Al Riyami, owner of the Al Faihaa Factory. For Adnan’s family, the tradition turned into a business. “Halwa making has been a craft in our family for many years and was passed from one generation to the other,” said Adnan, adding, “It is my duty to continue.”
The station offers quite a spectacle for the festival visitors as it showcases the entire process of making halwa–starting from boiling water to adding sugar and stirring for more than three hours until the substance thickens and becomes sticky. Then, hints of flavours are added to the dish, using cardamom, saffron, ghee, and rose water.
A rich scent fills the air, and the fascinated crowd surrounding the station is a sight in itself. Visitors can roll up their sleeves and try their hand at whisking. Adnan and his family are more than happy to explain and educate the crowd on the history of Omani halwa and the craft they have learned from their forefathers. “There are people who stand here from the beginning all the way to the end, for three hours, to learn how this time-honoured dessert comes together,” noted Adnan.
This cultural symbol of hospitality will always occupy the top spot on the list of Omani desserts, and the sheer artistry involved in its making, adds significant value for those who love experimenting and exploring Omani cuisine. There is no better place to mingle, taste and get educated on this dessert than at the Muscat Festival.
The halwa station at Al Naseem Park is open from 4:30pm until the park closes. –[email protected]