2020 started with quite a bang for us. The first Monday of the year had us visiting Chandigarh for a very fun event with the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). Yes, fun because as the event unfolded, we were taken on a Gedhi around Chandigarh’s Sector 7 & 26 whilst being exposed to the various uses and facts about Palm Oil as we participated in convivial group activities. Here’s how our day progressed:

Stop 1

Sip ‘N’ Dine, Sector 7

This first stop had us meeting and breaking the ice with everyone attending the event over coffee. We were then joined by Dr. Bhavna Shah (Country Representative India and Sri Lanka – Malaysian Palm Oil Council) who shared chunks of wisdom about Palm Oil. She went on to explain how versatile and affordable the oil is, how we use it in our everyday life, the health and nutrition benefits of it and how Palm oil’s success is it’s greatest enemy.  The most common use of Palm Oil is for cooking and is also added to many ready-to-eat foods in your grocery store.

She even went on to bust various myths surrounding Palm oil which happens to be an excellent source of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E with strong antioxidant properties that may support brain health. And because Palm Oil produces more oil per land area than any of its substitute vegetable oil crop, it requires less usage of the already available and already limited resources – land and water.

After that, we were asked to split ourselves into teams of 5!

A little bewildered, we did as told and were allotted team numbers.

We got to partner with Foodgram by Yami, Life Through My bioscope and Jagriti Khurana

Then came the first clue. The rules were simple. We had to guess the clue on the card given to us (which decoded into the name of a restaurant nearby).

The first clue had us going to our next stop

Stop 2

Crazy Town

Adrenaline pumped because we got the place right, we rushed to Crazy Town (thankfully in the same sector) where a quiz on facts about Palm Oil awaited us. We were allowed to use the internet. Thanks to the quiz we got to know interesting facts about Palm Oil like it is an edible vegetable oil rich in saturated fats and free of trans fats, derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms. As soon as we handed over our answers, we were given another clue which meant a new place and a new activity.

Stop 3

The Safehouse

The Safehouse was our next destination for some blind food tasting.  As the name suggests, all teams were blindfolded and were given a dish to taste. Once we were done with that step, we had to list the maximum ingredients used in making the dish. Needless to say, Palm Oil was a major ingredient which was detected given its savory flavor (there were potato wedges and cheesesteak). The thrill was in seeing all the teams race against each other and get to the next clue.

Stop 4

The Finch

The final clue had us searching for this lovely place which was located in the adjacent sector (walking distance again). A table full of ingredients and a panel of judges awaited us. The activity was a salad-making competition. Yamini spearheaded this activity for our team and made a Mock Pineapple Salad using Sweet corn, Beans, Peas, Broccoli, Palm Oil, and mixed herbs.  We realized while making the salad how easy was it to use Palm Oil in something as basic as that.

Dr. Bhavna Shah along with chefs adjudged the salad making competition and rated participants as per taste, presentation, and concept.

Once we all were done presenting, we were asked to return to Sip ‘N’ Dine for one last activity.

All teams had one table assigned to them with Vanilla Ice Cream Scoops, Nutella, Hide N Seek Biscuits and Ferrero Rocher Chocolates. All we had to do was mix up all the aforementioned ingredients together, make a Sundae and devour it quickly.

Did you know, Palm Oil is a major ingredient in the making of Ice Cream, Nutella, Biscuits, and Chocolates?

The event ended with a filmy twist as all the attendees donned a filmy character of their choice and acted out one dialogue from that character. Dr. Bhavna Shah announced the winners and everyone enjoyed a mellow chit-chatty lunch at Sip ‘N’ Dine.

What we loved was how the usage of Palm Oil was embedded in all the activities making us realize how pertinent Palm Oil is in our everyday life.

To know more, visit http://www.mpoc.org.in