Going on 70 with the ‘zest’ of living free

Today the 15th August 2016 is celebrated with pomp. We have completed 69 years of freedom. And celebrations continue in every place..This was how the Goa Marriott hotel and Spa celebrated it. They brought together the Festivals of India.

In Goa Festivals are not uncommon. We celebrate over 20 festivals in a year…from Ganesh Chaturti to Christmas.

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So what did the Festivals of India showcase at the Waterfront restaurant? Warmth and hospitality. Like the welcome offering of a drink…lassi or kokum sherbet.

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Can we go without the ‘spirit’ in Goa? No way. Have the theka ‘quarter’ local style. The Coriander Martini served in a ‘unique’ container tops the list.

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And then the food…stalls with chaat, kebabs, biryani, curries and mithai, the 10 best preparations from every state, what a spread. Including the ‘inspired’ apple jalebi’s from Himachal Pradesh.

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Color, happiness and zest…that is the essence of every festival, put it all together in one word…food. It’s the ‘freedom’ to experiment with preparations right across this diverse nation of ours. India has it all.

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Say it with flowers

For every occasion, be it a marriage or a simple rosary before the cross, flowers has been the main focus of the people in Goa. There is even a village called the ‘Land of Flowers’..Assagao.


But never has any culinary preparation been scented or made with flowers. And so this was the first. At the Park Hyatt in Goa a sumptuously scented jasmine dinner was curated. It was one of the Masters of Food and Wine night.
A small cozy gathering at the Praia de Luz, the stellar lounge where the diners sipped on champagne and nibbled on bite sized snacks.

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And then it was the four course sit down in the elegant dining room reminiscent of the Portuguese past. Flowers suspended over the tables, jasmine scented ‘avater’ and the fine dine trappings set the mood.

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There was a choice of starters…the scallop carpaccio, carrot oil, micro greens, jasmine scented aioli. Apparently the jasmine flower was soaked in olive oil for over four hours to ‘extract’ the essence. Chandon Brut added its own touch to the palate.

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The risotto with a hint of fresh jasmine, 36 months aged parmigiano reggiano and Chandon Brut with the palete cleanser…the fresh lime and mint sorbet followed soon after. It was then the mains…pan seared seabass, green asparagus cream, jasmine veloute washed down with Moet et Chandon Brut. An interesting combination.

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The Chandon Rose bubbled in the glass…time for the dessert. Double chocolate and jasmine oil cake with jasmine cream wave, raspberry dust with the final memoir of the jasmine flower in its midst.

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It is a well known fact that the change in presidency in Tunisa (1987) and the Tunisian Revelution (2011) were called the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in reference to the flower. It was also used as a symbol during the 2011 Chinese pro democracy protests. Revolutions…this was one ‘culinary’ revolution. The scent is sure to linger for a long time.

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