On a beautiful day in Cornwall, with the biomes at the Eden Project bathed in sunlight, 60 school children arrived to experience the sights, smells and tastes of other lands.
They rambled through the rainforest and meandered through the med, taking in the different climates, and spotting plants native to far flung countries (have you heard of kangaroo paw flowers?!)
Then they sat down to eat together, sharing and tasting exotic fruits from across the Commonwealth for the first ever Commonwealth Big Lunch. They popped juicy pomegranate seeds, made smiley faces from the orange skins and compared notes on star fruit - does it taste like a spicy melon or is it more of an apple and kiwi mix?
Food is something we all need to survive, but our approaches, ingredients and favourite recipes differ enormously from continent to continent. That is why it's such a brilliant conversation starter, and that is why, with The Big Lunch, we have always encouraged people to get together over food.
And now we're inviting everyone from across the 52 nations of the Commonwealth, to join in, and to celebrate community and culture by holding a Commonwealth Big Lunch where you live. All of our communities and circumstances are different, but the simple idea of bringing people together for food, friendship and fun, can be enjoyed by all.
So, from this very first Commonwealth Big Lunch, with these excited school children, we're looking forward to lunches on beaches, in back gardens, streets, community spaces and parks, not forgetting the Commonwealth Big Lunch planned for passengers and crew aboard the British Royal Research Ship, RRS James Cook. Some lunches will be tiny, whilst others will host hundreds, the biggest we know of so far is a Commonwealth Big Lunch which will welcome the 30,000 students and teachers of Kalinga Institute in India!
Commonwealth Big Lunches offer wonderful opportunities for people of all ages to bring our great Commonwealth family alive in new ways as we work towards a common future. - The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland