This week was packed with excitement…definitely not for those seeking breadcrumbs. The Park Hyatt on its 15th Anniversary had an action oriented…food and feni extravaganza.
This is what Goa is made of. To start with the Goan Culinary Club with the Queens of the home kitchens initiated the ‘down memory lane’ adventure of reviving a near to be forgotten Portuguese Inspired Goan food. Tasting and advising..the chef’s did not disappoint. Even to the Bacalhua which is so difficult to get in the state now a days
Then there was the cook off. Six women participated…starters, mains and even dessert. A tough choice indeed for member judges Nolan Mascarenhas and Chef Eldridge Vaz. Finally the winners….Nikita Sirsat and Vaisahali Joshi….the other ladies too cheered. Honestly speaking there were no losers.
Then it was a picture perfect brunch
And yours truly took a few minutes on stage. The Club had challenged the chef’s to replicate what the winning Queen’s of the kitchens had done.
And afte the tasting…the challenge was well worth the effort. The Chef’s had worked their magic.
Lastly lets not forget to blow the bugle…yes a little odd in shape…but that is truly the feni way.
It’s perched on a hill, the villas and restaurant touching the sandy shores of Vagator. It’s the new ‘W” hotel.
And they do things in style. The party to inaugurate the pool…well with the floating deck in the middle, the beauty was unmistakable. In more ways than one.
Wear sensible shoes was the advisory invite. A laterite trail wherein the chef had perched his counters for starts…the potato compositions were unique.
Hang on…well those were the trapeze artists, and the hoola gals who tempted one and all to gyrate with them
It was a night of fun….the moon above played peek a boo, but the flaming torches and the music was made for dancing.
Was the dinner a food truck? No way. Grilled temptations that included seafood and the desserts…what is the term? ‘To die for!’ Glad that did not happen we are here to tell the tale.
This is not the Christmas season and yet from Chennai and Hyderabad to Goa they came bearing ‘gifts’ of some mouth watering preparations. Under the Park Hyatt masters of food and Wine series, the 3 chefs had laid on a family style Sunday brunch with the ‘Evergreen’s’ to set the mood.
Argentinian Chef Franco Canzano (Goa), Italian Chef Michele Prevedello (Hyderabad) and Indonesian Chef TeukuSyafrulsyah (Chennai) showcased their skills at the Palms.. Park Hyatt Goa’s premier Beach restaurant.
Just imagine…the wind playing ‘peek a boo’ on your hair, the music enticingly provocative tempting one to step up and dance, the sizzling aroma and discreet ladle stirring noises…with the warm afternoon sun compelling one…
Not to sleep, because the food was too much of an enticement. From Chef Michele repertoire the Spinach and ricotta lasagne was awesome, and accompanied with the marinated sardines and the parma ham and melon…
Move over to the Argentinian Grill from Chef Franco. Choose from the Pork belly or ribs…decided to have both…but left some space for the Indonesian…my best choice so far although both cuisines were great.
The SeladaUdang (spicy prawn salad with coconut dressing) , AyamPelalah (shredded chicken with sambal) Ikan Masak Lemak (fish in coconut cream and turmeric), the Ayam Panggang – (spicy barbecue chicken) and many more. Absolutely mouth drooling stuff…
Lets not forget the extensive dessert counter ….Pisang Goring – fried banana with vanilla ice cream, Dadar Gulung – coconut and jack fruit pancake, Fried cream ‘Veneziana style’ with fruits and acacia honey, churros with milk sauce ….unique, spellbinding, prepared a la minute…a fitting finale.
We Three kings of Gourmet we are…..Bearing these gifts we travel afar
‘If you write a book about a bygone period that lies east of the Mississippi River, then it’s a historical novel. If it’s west of the Mississippi, it’s a western, a different category. There’s no sense to it.’ That was Louis L’Amour. But what happens when a book is written ‘Tri dimension’…with 3 facets? Would that interest the reader? And in which category would it fall in.
Well only the reader will be able to tell if it appeals to them. So the Shadow of the Temptress ..the book and its author made its voyage to Mumbai and then back to Goa. These were the places that the protagonist travelled to.
The first reading was at a Book store called Title Waves in Bandra. A very elegant book shop, one of the best perhaps in the city. No frills in this presentation. The author took the mike and the audience sat spell bound.
The second reading was in a restaurant in Goa. Goa is all about music as a chapter in the book will tell. So the story was outlined with songs. Joanne D’Cunha with her golden voice enthralled the listeners.
And the restaurant geared up to some interesting flavors. The Four Temptresses made their presence felt with some exotic flavors. Check out Perpetua, Innocence, Miriam and Carissa. The mains were O So Tempting. Proprietor Poonam was the creative inventor.
And while on creative avatars take a look at this pomelo salad. Absolutely tempting.
And while the book might not be as ‘light’ as the salad…browse through the culture of Goa and Bombay from 1912 to 1955..two different countries Portugal and England. Check out if history repeats itself…is the drug trade prevalent in Goa only today? And of course the psychological advantage the women from Goa had over this hapless youth. The Shadow was cast by the Temptresses.
The beautiful area called Fontainhas…also known as the Latin quarter. Beautiful architecture of an era gone by, old villas and buildings with projecting balconies painted in traditional colors.
It was in the late 18th century that an expatriate Antonio Joao de Sequeira while working in Mozambique, established Fontainhas. Today another Antonio…a Goan expatriate has reclaimed one of the villas and converted it into a beautiful homestay called Mateus.
Fontainhas means little fountain and it got its name from the foot of the hill which began to sprout in 1770. In 1884 a Government administrator created the Phenis fountain, which had a fine façade and porch. There is a well which till today epitomizes the beauty of the place.
Unfortunately many of the old houses are falling into a neglected condition. Lucky there are people like Antonio who brings the place back again to its former glory.
In the past an evening in the Fontainhas would see unmarried women sitting on the roofed gallery steps, wearing colourful flowery dresses, chatting with their neighbours in Portuguese. Or perhaps violinists strumming their instruments. Mateus has retained those balconies which gives the place so much character.
It’s important to hang onto the small parts of Goa’s heritage…..its part of a treasured legacy.
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals- Pagan and Christian. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia! Both claim that they had the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510. The ‘Brotherhood of Blackheads’ put up both trees, which were an association of local unmarried merchants, ship owners, and foreigners in Livonia what is now Estonia and Latvia.
And this is a record of some of the happenings in Goa during the Christmas week? Lets talk about the Christmas tree. Decorated in many styles…the one at the Grand Hyatt hotel was one to be remembered.
The elves? Santa had its very own way of getting them to visit this year.
But before these celebrations close to 300 kilos of assorted dry fruits were mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and generous amounts of liquor (more than 25 litres) which will be stored at room temperature in the bakery, to soak in all the liquid and mature beautifully in time for the festive season. This marinated assortment of dry fruits will be incorporated while baking delectable cakes, puddings and other delicacies. The longer the mix is retained, the tastier will be the Christmas cake.
Now Park Hyatt really did things in style.
As the name suggests, this was one festival that will be imprinted on the minds of people for a long time to come.
And that does not only mean the ‘imprints’ only
From music to food…it was the exploration of everything that took place.
Even the ‘teeny boppers’ walked down Serendipity Street
And it was here that Goan folklore came to the fore. Saraswat Stories
And for the finale…..the roof came down. That was the ‘Sea’ that no tide in Goa ever brought forth.