THE AEHT COMPETITIONS AND CROATIAN FOLK PERFORMANCE ARE BOTH UP TO INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
The gala evening marking the closing of the 22nd Annual Conference took place in the great conference hall of the Valamar Lacroma Resort on Saturday November 21st at 20.00; the hall had been superbly laid out, with the tables carefully set with a white theme. They had made a beautiful job of it.
It was almost like a family evening, as there were no distinguished guests or VIPs. Before dinner the speeches were kept to a minimum, beginning with Antun Perusina’s vote of thanks to the hotel employees and to his own students for preparing the evening so superbly, as well as to the sponsors and to the Valamar Group who had provided such an excellent venue. He also thanked Louis Robert and the members of the Presidium for their help, while wishing Klaus Enengl all the best as new president. He did thank the competition judges, but added with a smile that ‘here there are no losers: if everyone is looking for paradise, look no further, it is here in Dubrovnik’.
For his part Louis Robert thanked Antun Perusina and his teams. ‘All the conditions for the competitions were met, but there are conditions and rules which have to be respected’. He then quoted two articles from the competition rules: no candidates to be entered two years in a row, and no registering two candidates for the same contest. ‘This year we carried out checks, students were disqualified, and we are sorry we had to do that’, he concluded.
Klaus Enengl, the newly elected president, made no secret of his joy, and said that ‘It is an honour to be at the head of the AEHT for four years. I want to thank you all, the Presidium for putting its trust in me, and Louis Robert for having the idea of Gastronomy for Peace’. Then turning words into deeds, he presented the piggy bank which had been placed on every table to collect funds to help the school in L’Aquila which had been destroyed by the earthquake. ‘Please give generously’, he urged his audience. He then thanked the organisers: ‘I should like to extend my thanks officially and especially to Antun and Nedo, the two ‘drivers’, as well as the teams who supported them.
And then came the handing over of the AEHT flag from Dubrovnik to Lisbon, represented by Antun Perusina for Dubrovnik, and Anna Paula Pais and Paulo Reves for Portugal, to warm applause from the assembled delegates, encouraged by Nila Milicic Vukosavic.
There followed a high quality display of folk music and dance performed by the Jedinstvo Folk Ensemble from Split.
As is the custom on these occasions, the names of the competition winners were read out and the prizes handed to the winning teams (see details in chapter 5 above). This moment is always keenly anticipated, and is accompanied by shrieks of joy for some of the winners, and expressions of disappointment for other participants.
The president then asked the audience to applaud all the members of the judging panels, who had done so much work on behalf of this audience and of the AEHT.
These official proceedings were followed by the gala dinner – how can we forget that dessert with pear that melted in your mouth, those Croatian wines, Ragusa white and Ragusa red which were served with all the meals, placed before us by a troop of hotel employees and young students from the Dubrovnik school. One long-standing tradition was not observed this time: neither the kitchen brigade nor the service team were called to be applauded by the diners – though it is true that it was getting very late and a number of the participants had already left the hall to prepare for their departures that same night. So shall we see you again next year in Lisbon?