Nadia and Nick at Gourmet Goat have created a highly symbolic dish to support the British Red Cross UK Solidarity Fund
“For the first few days we were just in denial,” recalls Nadia of Gourmet Goat. “Then, we were heartbroken. We were hit not with anger so much as a profound sadness and horror for the people who had lost their lives.”
She’d gone to bed early on the night of 3rd June, unable, she says, to process what she was seeing unfolding. “I went into shut down. I didn’t appreciate the scale of it,” she says, her voice shaking audibly. She awoke to a barrage of text messages from concerned friends across, and outside of, the country. As Nadia and her husband and business partner Nick sat together on Sunday morning, reading about the night’s atrocities while their young daughter played in the garden, she felt she needed to do something “to honour the victims, who had been out that night in Borough Market just for the love of fun and good food.”
Life, grief and hope
In the Eastern Orthodox communities of Cyprus, from where Nadia originally hails, people serve koliva—a sweet, dry mix of wheat berries, seeds and spices—at funerals and memorial services, in honour of the life that has passed. “As you leave the church, you take a napkin and everyone is given a small handful,” she explains. Each ingredient is symbolic of life, grief and hope the future—so upon hearing that the British Red Cross had established a UK Solidarity Fund to help the victims of the recent terror attacks, Nadia resolved to make this ancient eastern Mediterranean dish for her customers: in memory of those lost and injured, and to support the fund by asking for donations in return.
The key component of koliva is the wheatberries, which predate Christianity as a representation of life and creation in Greek and Cypriot culture. Meanwhile, the pomegranate seeds, with their vivid, ruby luminosity, serve to honour the life that has gone. The spices—aniseed and cinnamon—represent the sweet sense of our earthly existence, while the fresh mint and raisins represent hope for a greener and sweeter afterlife. “It takes ages to make—about five to six hours—as all the ingredients have to be bone dry,” Nadia continues, “but I’m hard at work at it.” In the midst of the horror, the shock and the heartbreak, the upholding of tradition and the provision of sustenance is how Nadia and Nick feel they can show solidarity with the community and maintain a semblance of control.