I’m excited. I’m learning at a very fast pace. I’m also luxuriating in all the deliciousness of the experience. I’m in France, my most favorite country and that too in Picardy (where France was born), right next to Paris. I have so much to share and a space constraint, so am going to serve you, small DID U KNOW bites.
DID YOU KNOW…FRANCE WAS BORN IN PICARDY? And this in 486 when Clovis made Soissons the first capital of the Franks, in 486, and later Hugues Capet, was elected king of France at Senlis and crowned at Noyon in 987.
So you see how this past makes Picardy the original French region?
DID U KNOW… WORLD-FAMOUS CREAM CHANTILLY WAS INVENTED IN THE 17TH CENTURY ? The bowl of cream you see in the photograph is no ordinary cream, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s velvety, it’s silky, its Chantilly. It takes it’s name from the domaine of Chantilly which is part of the regionof Picardy. I not only get a delicious taste of the crème Chantilly in it’s birthplace but also watch it being whipped into the magical snow that it is. It was first created herein the royal banquets centuries ago by the famous ood maestro Vatel. Its in the picturesque cottage-like Restaurant du Hameau (in the grounds of the castle) that I taste the authentic version. Along with Olivier and Lucie not only do we eat up the creme Chantilly (with strawberries) but I also go back In a horse carriage (this is the equestrian capital of France) and in the luxurious yet cozy Auberge du jeu de Paume hotel’s spa, actually have a chantilly cream massage. This is what I call, “having my cream and eating it too” . it sure is the world’s crème de la crème!
DID YOU KNOW… THIS FAIRY TALE LAND IS NEXT TO THE PARIS AIRPORT?
Not only is Picardy a fabulous fairy tale region but (hold your breath) it is located twenty minutes away from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s also within one of the largest most beautiful forests of the Paris region. Im just about getting over these pleasant surprises, when like in a fairy tale, the Chantilly castle seems to rise out of the tranquil lake. I zip through it’s finest French collection of ancient masterpieces, (second only to the Louvre) Picardy has carefully preserved the elements of true French lifestyle – medieval châteaux, typical French villages, spectacular seaside resorts, gourmet food, stunning cathedrals, cultural treasures, champagne routes, romantic gardens, and not to forget a certain French art de vivre…
From taking a boat ride on the Floating Gardens, to riding Europe’s most sensational roller coasters at Park Asterix, I do it all
DID YOU KNOW … DESI FOOD PAIRS WITH FRENCH CHAMPAGNE ?
More suprises…not only does French champagne pair brilliantly with Indian food, but I do an actual tasting of both together. And that too in the historic, medieval cellar of Champagne Pannier. Even though Ive done a lot of TV shoots for my show in the Champagne region I had no idea that the Champagne Tourist Route runs through the Picardy region. A walk through with the champagne expert in the Pannier medieval underground cellar is an amazing trip into history. The guided tasting of the exquisite champagnes is equally amazing. But what blows my mind is how the French not only pair their precious champagne with Indian kababs and curries but also make an effort to do so for us Indian visitors. And this premium champagne is served in the l’Elysée Palace (French President’s house) and Air France Business Class too.
Over centuries, Art in every form has been nurtured in Picardy by kings and queens and llustrious families. Creative geniuses have from Vatel, organiser of extravagant banquets for Louis XIV, to Le Nôtre, creator of magnificent French-style gardens have been celebrated here. Continuing this noble tradition the elegant luxury hotel, Auberge du Jeu de Paume, keeps the flame of this tradition burning with its gourmet restaurant, Michelin starred La Table du Connétable.
Arnaud Faye honed his skills under the superstars of gasronomy fromMichel Roth at the Ritz, Thierry Marx at the Mandarin Oriental and is now a superstar himself. He serves up a mix of innovative ideas and revamped classics, celebrating terroir ingredients and traditional know-how. From Adour salmon façon Bearnaise to crispy ravioli stuffed with green peas.Each dish is a masterpiece. Picardy pampers in every way.
Mumbai’s SOBO European-gastro-cool comes to the Eastern suburbs. I ate at here twice. Quite recently, when I went back Craft had mastered it’s craft.
Read my detailed review on timescity.com
It’s new. Its making waves. It serves healthy and light and yet is setting a global benchmark in luxury. I have a mind-blowing taste of this new Mediterranean dining experience In Paris. It is all about “harmonious cuisine from the heart” and this is served amid shimmering priceless Baccarat chandeliers, mirrors and Lalique crystal. Le George is located in the luxuriously elegant George V ( which partnered my book “A vegetarian in Paris…A Times of India publication). Here, the dynamic young Marco Garfagnini (got his first star at age 29) creates an amazingly balanced and healthy menu (plenty of vegetarian too). Not only am I over the moon with the dinner but also with forever fabulous Monica Eisen and Quentin Garreau de Labarre. This new Le George more than lives up to the royal legacy it has inherited, after all it is born to the iconic George V, the hotel of kings and the king of hotels.
I’m excited. My sweet hunt has begun! Research for The Times Food Guide 2017 has started, with my very first “whats hot Tasting session”.
Today, Mumbai’s most talented sweet-magicians gather together and display their creations (fittingly enough) amid the showcase of Europe’s finest timelessly elegant porcelain tableware and glassware. Not only does the dynamic Deepika Gehani marketing director of this German tableware brand (which has been enhancing dining experience for Indians,) host our session but also recommended many of the mompreneurs and home bakers who re serving up sweet surprises…from healthy to sinful, traditional to modern..
What? A cake made of zucchini and quinoa and so moist and delicious? Gluten free, sugar free dairy free too? Yes. The lovely Divya Ranglani’s “Healthy treats”creations are a favourite with Sonam Kapoor, Malaika Arora, et al. The flourless date carrot mixed nut cake and granola bars are Kareena Kapoor’s favourite. Intense orange and dark Choc cake, vegan, bars, cookies and more.9820154550
PRIYAL & PRIYANKA
Beautiful, bespoke, stylish and gourmet wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts as well as chic packaging and gifting solutions… Thats what Cordon Bleu trained Priyal and former investment banker Priyanka of “Confetti” serve up beautifully. Ph 9920907991
Believe it or not: the delicious brownies are made of sweet potato. The bubbly Roweena Bhatia of “Fatfree almost”blends innovation with food & health into flavorsome bespoke Brownies to Low fat Flavoured Hummus & Chocolate chutneys with a twist. 9920219993
Looking for eggless cakes and desserts? Check out the gifted Neena Mehra ‘s large repertoire of wedding cakes and birthday theme cakes and desserts.
The must trys are Signature light and delightful trifle pudding and the Indian firni. email@example.com
The Prince of chocolates in India- Chef Varun Inamdar’s latest artisanal chocolate series “Barcode” is a masterpiece.. Themed ‘Incredible India’ it is in reverance to flavors from 29 glorious states of our country. Enjoy volume 1 for now. Ph 9619256293
How about making and decorating makebelive cupcakes? Kids aged 4-7 here it is “The cool chef box”. Abha of “PodSquad” has designed many a fun hands-on, range of learning programmes-in-a-box. Each is complemented with dynamic digital content. Ph. 9833124258
Marzipan lovers mecca. The brilliant Estonian Thea Tammeleht, uses her family’s traditional recipe to create her labor of love, ‘Nordic Kandie’ Plenty of flavours, luxurious candies are vegetarian, gluten free, cholesterol free, trans-fat-free.Edible gold and silver candies too. Ph 9699641112
BE A PART OF THE NEXT WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION
Its an open invitation. If you cook, bake, provide foodie services and want to be a part of my Whatshottasting session…please email firstname.lastname@example.org, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh.
Oooh la la it’s Cannes film festival time and all eyes are on this superglamor, luxury drenched Hotel du Cap Eden Roc.
Over the past 140 years its been immortalized In films, books and poems. Every square Inch of this seaside, French Riviera hotel exudes star power and glamour.
What is even more exciting is that this hotel was set up (for writers seeking inspiration,) by the founder of France’s Le Figaro newspaper, And so the likes of Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway have stayed and immortalized it in their books.
I not only pay homage to Picasso in the cabana by the sea where he got his inspiration,but also have a memorable swim in the iconic heated salt water pool, cut into the edge of the cliff in 1914. Set among nine hectares of landscaped gardens and trees, this breathtakingly beautiful hotel pampers all my senses.
I get high on the gastronomique fare, from the vibrantly flavourful Provençal-style gambas to the freshest of Oysters, to the swirls of masterful desserts.
I raise a toast with the iconic Bellini (of course)to the charming Valerie Muller and the brilliant chef Arnaud Poett .A true culinary poet.
Some years ago, there was Nico in Srilanka, that restaurant was shut down and Nico at Fort opened up only to be replaced very recently by Farmer and Sons. I’ve eaten at all three eateries set up by Nico Ghoghawala and Kamal Siddhu. Here’s our take on their newest venture.
Read my detailed review on timescity.com
Here, in Paris, the global capital of gastronomy, Michelin-starred chefs dazzle. Each one conjures pleasure. The three-starred maestro, author, Eric Frechon, knighted by President Sarkozy has been on the top of my list of favourites. I’ve been tasting his creations from the time President Sarkozy used to come from across the street for Chef Frechon’s creations. Elysees palace is located diagonally opposite the most exquisite Parisian palace, Le Bristol where Chef Frechon weaves his magic. Celebrating it’s ninetieth year this timeless palace has hosted Charlie Chaplin, Picasso, Ava Gardner, Woody Allen et al.
It embodies the art of French living, offers discretion and luxury. I have an amazing meal at it’s brand new cafe Antonia (dedicated to Marie Antoinette), cant stop pouring over Eric Frechon’s landmark book, but it’s the pure vegetarian five course meal in their three Michelin-starred “Epicure” that dazzles. Gems of wizardry explode with flavour and texture, artichokes with pink garlic chips. Asparagus glazed with walnut oil, powdered egg,black truffle and more. Our meal ends with the priceless Nyangbo chocolate sphere, with it’s gold gilded sorbet. This starred restaurant is worth it’s weight in gold.
Surprise! Surprise! Here’s a brand new month and a half old restaurant in Santacruz and it’s not been reviewed anywhere (neither print nor internet).
Read my detailed review on timescity.com
Is it possible? Can gourmet experiences, mountains, snow, fine Wine, wellness and Skiing all be combined into one? Here, in this winter-wonderland, in the magnificent Alps anything is possible. Especially in Das Central in Sölden. We go up the mountains to the worlds highest gourmet restaurant for the most amazing food, breakfast at sunrise on the glaciers, taste wines at different altitudes on ski-stations.
Now you know why I’m on top of the world. In more ways that one. Not only am in the highest gourmet restaurant of the world ( perched in the Austrian Alps ), am also in the most unique gourmet food and wine festival on the mountains. And Also, I have finally got hold of the recipe of my most favorite Austrian dish “Weiner Schnitzel”. I’m in “Sound of music” country, in Austria’s swish ski resort Solden. Along with pristine, gleaming white snow all around there are lush green trees and rolling pastures, dotted with picturesque houses. It is here that I go up ski gondolas to the worlds highest gourmet restaurant, IceQ.
JAMES BOND WAS HERE
IceQ, the gourmet restaurant where James Bond’s Spectre was shot has been making global waves, since then. Sure, it’s a spectacular architectural glassed in marvel, almost suspended in the air. But it’s here that the most gourmet of dishes are conjured by the brilliant chef Gottfried Prantl Please take a look at the photograph and you’ll know what I mean.
It’s here that I attend the finale of the annual (not to be missed) “weinamberg” “wine on the mountains”. We not only taste wine on the snow clad ski slopes ( and savor the difference) but our taste buds are pampered with wines from 15 countries. The hostess, the gracious Angelika Falkner, in the most magnificentDas central, ensures that the finest of Austrian Alpine cuisine as well as creative Mediterranean and Asian food work magic. And after all the winter sports and wine tasting on the mountains, there is the magnificent Venice inspired “Venezia water world” (saunas and steam and a pool with a Venetian mural and a real gondola too)to relax in. And then there is the finale of the Mountain gourmet safari with music and wines at different heights is truly spectacular. This is when we zip up in the ski lifts to the Ice Q peak restaurant. It’s the height of gourmet luxury. Even while I’m here, I’m already planning my next trip. Just like the “Sound of music” chorus I repeat… “These are a few of my favorite things” for sure!
DAS CENTRAL WEINER SCHNITZEL
Since I cannot send you the brilliant sunshine and snow, here’s the recipe of my most favorite Austrian dish “Weiner Schnitzel” generously shared by the brilliant chef Gottfried Prantl, This typically Austrian dish, is made with veal, but it can very easily be substituted with chicken. Its simple to make and its delightful to taste.
Ingredients for 4 persons/4 Schnitzel
4 escalopes of vel around 120 grams each
Salt and pepper
50 g flour
200 g bread crumbs
300 g dripping or clarified butter
The escalopes will need to be pounded until the meat/chicken is around a 1/4 of an inch thick. Make sure to trim the edges of the meat carefully.
Lightly season the escalopes with salt and pepper. You will need three shallow bowls – 1 for the eggs, 1 for flour and 1 for breadcrubs. Dip the escalopes in the flour first, then in the whisked egg and then in the breadcrumbs. Be careful to ensure that the the entire escalope is completely covered with the breadcrumbs. Place the escalopes in a hot frying pan, the oil in the pan should be deep enough that the schnitzel’s float whilst cooking. Cooking time should not be more than 4 minutes for each side.
Remember to serve hot with fresh lemon and potato salad Viennese style!