As a university known for cultural inclusion, St. Edward’s gathered students and faculty for an evening of European culture with its annual “European Food Festival.”

Hosted by the German, French and Spanish language programs, students and faculty gathered in Mabee Ballrooms on Nov. 8 to celebrate each language’s culture through a potluck of various foods and desserts.

The festival– originally based around the Francophone (French) culture–began in 2014, when French professor Florina Matu first started working at St. Edward’s.

“I love to eat,” Matu said. “And I told myself what a nice way to teach some of the cultural aspects of the Francophone world through food.”

This year, Matu decided to include other European language programs as a way to increase the cultural influence here at the hilltop.

German dishes included Schnitzel, Bratwurst and Schwäbische Käsespätzle (German mac and cheese). German students Michael Foster and Oliver Davis cooked Königsberger Klopse (German meatballs and potatoes).

“We have to beat the French,” Foster joked in response to why he and Davis chose this dish.

Aside from that personal motive, Davis pointed out how events like this help expose culture to attendees.

“It’s a good time,” Davis said. “Even if you don’t get to talk to anybody and just come in for the free food, it’s an exposure thing. I’m glad it exists.”

On the French side, they came out strong with various types of crepes, croissants and beignets.

French student Alex Galvan and her partner cooked Chicken Cordon Bleu.

“My partner and I chose it because we enjoyed cooking it last year,” Galvan said. “Also, it tastes great and it’s very popular in the French culture.”

As for the Spanish program, students brought dishes that were gone within the first half hour of the event.

“I didn’t even get to try a tamale, they were gone before I could even get a plate,” Spanish student Yenifer Fuentes said.

While the food festival was hosted by the European language programs, the event welcomed all students and faculty to attend.

Matu stated that her intention for hosting this event was to bring people together in a setting that provokes discussion.

“Talking to each other, what all these people have in common is love for languages or an interest for a language; there’s French, German and Spanish,” Matu said. “We wanted them to share their experiences, to express a little of the value of languages and culture.”

Galvan could agree that Matu’s intention was achieved.

“[This festival] gives me the opportunity to use my french with other students,” Galvan said. “It’s an amazing time to relax with other students and professors while eating tons of delicious food.”

Along with that, Matu highlighted how this event not only educates attendees about culture, but it also offers them to the chance to reconnect with their cultures.

“In the past (when we were doing the Francophone food festival), we had many native French speakers coming over and they were so incredibly excited,” Matu said. “They didn’t eat like home that often, [the festival] was a chance for them to reconnect with their culture.