Artisinal cheese, bao buns, natural ice creams are on the menu at The Gourmet Bazaar
It may only be the third edition of The Gourmet Bazaar but one of the city’s top makers’ markets is fast becoming a hotly-anticipated flea-market experiences. The annual event, which has seen a steady patronage from participants and customers over the last two years, has a lineup of around 30 brands this time, from Coimbatore, Chennai, Kochi, Pondicherry, Kodaikanal, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Palladam and Pollachi, featuring products from food entrepreneurs, artistes and designers. Curated by Kanika Khanna, Prema Goenka and Shikha Bagaria, the spotlight is on wellness and you can expect a range of natural and handmade personal care products alongside a fare of gourmet desserts, artisanal cheese, handcrafted speciality tea, organic forest honey and others. “We’ve had a theme every year. In 2015, it was gifting options, last year was a food and table decor special and this time it is wellness. The whole experience of the Gourmet Bazaar has been streamlined to fit the theme.” The two-day event starting today also features a wellness zone that includes activities like meditation techniques, alternate healing methods and reflexology. Here is our pick of must-try food brands.
On August 25 -26. At Whispering Stones. 10 am to 7 pm. Details: 9865853199
Ice wide open
Sometimes ice creams are just a little too — vanilla. From their beet and ginger to saffron and cardamom ice cream flavours, city-based Eden Go Fresh aims at creating a range of unusual ice cream flavour combinations, while keeping things au naturel. However, the month-old label’s ice creams taste a lot like gelato. Owner Sangeetha Murali tells us how. “We use full milk and avoid the use of any vegetable oil like in most ‘frozen desserts’, which is why the consistency is gelato-like.” The 36-year-old entrepreneur, who will be bringing a range of seven flavours to her first pop-up, shares that all the ice creams go through a quality check with her five-year-old daughter before production. While the label is currently developing flavours like sweet corn, turmeric, lavender and matcha, look out for customer favourites like premium vanilla, almond fudge swirl, strawberry, Belgian coffee, rose, beet the ginger and saffron and cardamom. Rs50 onwards. Details: 8825568691
The big cheese
The demand for indigenous dairy products (A2 milk) is making Deepika Senthilkumar one happy entrepreneur. Owner of the Pollachi-based artisanal dairy brand, Ela, the 30-year-old is a known name at The Gourmet Bazaar. Debuting her latest line of flavoured artisanal butter, expect to find sweet and savoury variants — honey, cinnamon and palm sugar, parsley, thyme, rosemary with lime; red wine and shallots, and a garlic, pepper and garam masala version — this time around. Back by popular demand, the three-year-old brand will also bring a select range of soft cheese — cottage, cream and mascarpone. “The jalapenos and bell pepper cream cheeses did very well in the last edition. At this edition, we will be conducting taste trials of our flavoured cottage cheese (flax seed and garlic). ” Made with “zero-preservatives”, the butter and cream cheese have a shelf-life of 10 days if kept refrigerated and a 30-day life when frozen. Rs200 for 200 grams of cottage cheese. Details: 9626142629
Journalist for 17 years and now the owner of the Open Kitchen in Coonoor, Priyak Mitra’s experiments have taken him from running a beach shack in Goa and making traditional Vietnamese Bao buns for the second edition of The Gourmet Bazaar in 2016, to opening his own pizzeria in the picturesque Coonoor (also last year). A repeat face at The Gourmet Bazaar, Priyak’s offerings include his signature bao buns (unavailable on the Open Kitchen’s menu) and a range of burgers. Look out for the Mushroom and Chilli Oil Bao and his favourite the Pulled-pork Bao buns. “The baos have a cabbage salad with a Thai sweet chilli sauce dressing, which gives the otherwise succulent bite a well-deserved crunch and a hit of the spice.” Also on the menu are vegetarian burgers, chicken burgers and pulled pork burgers. Rs200 onwards. Details: 9823102971
In good time
Good Aahar is recreating memories of Shikha Bagaria’s childhood with a range of sweets, savouries and spices from the kitchen of her 63-year-old mother. Offering a range of farm-fresh, home-processed turmeric and amchur powder, the entrepreneur also tells us to look out for cashew nuts that are clay oven-roasted and salted. “The clay-roasted cashews are what I used to eat as a child. The nuts are roasted in a clay matki and then the shells are broken open with a stone. The roasting method gives the nut a distinct sweetness,” she shares. First-timers at the Bazaar, the month-old brand also has an array of traditional Rajasthani pickles, masala mudi (spicy puffed rice mix), chana chur (roasted, flattened chickpeas), alu dam masala (a Kolkata staple recipe) and lemonade masala. Another childhood favourite of Shikha’s that will find its way to The Gourmet Bazaar is the aam papad — a mango fruit leather roll-up. Rs100 onwards. Details: 9843381581
Raising the bar
“Soklet, that’s the way the locals here pronounce chocolate,” shares Karthikeyan Palanisamy, owner of the Pollachi-based artisanal chocolate brand Soklet/ Regal Chocolates, which is building a reputation for itself as the country’s first tree to bar chocolate makers. Looking to woo customers with their range of handcrafted offerings, Karthikeyan tells us that each bar is a two-ingredient chocolate made of cacao beans and cane sugar. “This showcases the flavour of the beans as they are. We also have versions where we swap regular sugar with unrefined sugar and add natural vanilla to enhance the flavour.” Available as dark chocolate, the bars come in variations of 40 per cent, 55 per cent, 57 per cent, 70 per cent and 82 per cent chocolate. Keep an eye out for their signature packaging which is based on design elements from Kancheevaram saris. Rs`220 onwards. Details: facebook.com/regalchocolates/
Set for her debut, Josephine Celina says, “Cold pressed juices are not just another fitness fad.” Apart from not containing any preservatives and added sugar, the method, which does not use any heat in the extraction process, helps retains the nutrients that are otherwise destroyed while juicing in an electric blender. “Cold-pressed juices are as close as eating raw fruits,” shares Josephine. Besides the regular fruit juices, that include apple, oranges, pineapple, pomegranate and others, look out for the eight-month-old brand’s range of wellness juices. “Our brand, Nectar, offers a basic detox drink which is a mixture of coriander leaves, cucumber, lemon and chia seeds, another one called Haemo Hike which contains fruits and vegetables that are a rich source of iron.” Fruit juices start at Rs70 for 200 ml. Details: 9842955551
Tired after all that shopping and eating, sit back and enjoy the musical renditions of Kodaikanal art illustrator Santhosh Rajkumar and Pedro. And if you feel like jamming with the gang, open mike sessions start post 6 pm.