Avec amour de France

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for all of Paris is a moveable feast” – Ernest Hemingway 

Atout France (French tourism) along with Bonne Maman and the FBAI recently opened its doors via Pooja Dhingra’s Studio 15, to the art of French patisserie.

My earliest memory of Bonne Maman is as a child, sinfully lathering the fresh fruit preserve on buttery croissants whilst on vacation. I’m terribly glad that it has made its way to the Indian market and is available easily at Nature’s Basket and other supermarkets. Seeing as they are gluten & GMO free, I urge you to pick up your stock at the earliest. The preserve can be used to make a gorgeous breakfast, tea time cookies, tea time cakes, dessert, whatever suits your palate.

Chef Pooja and Chef Pablo decided to treat us to Thumbprint jam cookies and Matcha Apricot Financiers. Thumbprint jam cookies are literally, exactly what the name suggests whilst financiers are light, moist, almost two bite pastries that are great to go with tea. Oh and also, super easy to make. Unfortunately they were both made with eggs, so I cannot share the recipes but I’d definitely like to try making their eggless versions.

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Thumbprint jam cookies

For these, we used Bonne Maman’s strawberry preserve. The Matcha Green Tea financiers were piped with the apricot preserve.

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Matcha Apricot Financiers

By the way, for those of you wondering what the difference between jams and preserves is, it is that jam is a mix of crushed, preserved fruit and sugar, sometimes with pectin (a substance found in fruits such as apples and berries. When heated with sugar, it causes a thickening characteristic) depending on the pectin content of the fruit. Preserves means that the fruit is not altered and is cooked in the same way. The fruit is allowed to remain chunky unlike in jams where it is generally smooth.

Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France wants to change the way Indian travellers are visiting France. She wishes for them to view France through all its wonderful gastronomical and wine delights that it has to offer, besides the usual local sight seeing. She is also keen on promoting all the vegetarian delights that France has to offer. This most definitely makes me want to revisit France and view it for all the wine, pastry, cheese, crepes, vineyards, even its cobbled streets and so much more that it has to offer.

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With Chef Pooja and Chef Pablo

It was an absolutely wonderful Friday evening (minus the traffic of course), meeting fellow bloggers, learning a thing or two about France, French baking, meeting Chef Pooja and Chef Pablo of course and reviving old memories with Bonne Maman 🙂

 

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Sometimes Pizza just isn’t BAE

“I wish there was a tree like pizza. I would be there all day”..

“I don’t trust people who don’t like pizza. Off my planet you monster!”..

“Pizza is the only love triangle I want”..

“People disappoint. Pizza is eternal”..

Err.. sometimes, pizza does disappoint 😦

We were invited to 1441 Pizeria, and being an ardent lover of all things Italian, I didn’t need any persuasion whatsoever. Having been to their branch in Oshiwara, I was delighted at having a chance to review it since my experience has always been great. However, this evening didn’t go exactly as planned..

The restaurant claims their pizzas will transport you to Italy, since their menu is inspired from Naples. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. For our review we went to the 1441 Pizzeria branch in Fort, a cosy restaurant with lovely lighting and warm Italian tones. We were greeted by a group of extremely confused servers, none aware of our invitation to come review their restaurant.

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This restaurant’s speciality is that you can make your own pizza, so after donning my chef’s hat, I went ahead and made my very pizza. 1441 offers a choice of 2 sauces, the usual Italian sauce & Mama’s sauce (an Indian twist to the pizza sauce). The toppings we picked were mushrooms, zucchini, olives, onions, smoked mozarella cheese and spicy potatoes. Unfortunately, my pizza making skills weren’t as brushed up as the staff probably expected (What were they thinking?) since I was told I made it incorrectly and they had to make a fresh one for us.. Umm a little help or a tip during the process would’ve been nice?

The starter that was highly reccomended by 1441, was their roasted spiced potato wedges. They looked delicious but were extremely raw and had to be sent back. The new batch arrived slightly raw again and the only saving grace of this dish was the chilli mayo dip. Our pizza which was served after, wasn’t exactly anything to write home about either since it was burnt and not crispy in a way you’d like. We couldn’t taste the sauce and as much as we tried convicing ourselves that it tasted smoky because of the mozarella we picked, the black bottom said otherwise.

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Our second pizza was the Hummus pizza, a new addition to their menu, a Lebanese twist to the Italian favourite, this pizza was better than everything previously ordered, but instead of being crispy, the base was raw and the pizza was slightly doughy.

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As disappointed as we were with everything served to us, we went ahead with dessert, again their highly reccomended, nutella pizza. Think about it, nutella, pizza and marshmallows, it’s a match made in heaven right? WRONG. This too was raw and extremely disappointing.

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All in all, a place that has never disappointed me turned into a place I’d not like to recommend to anyone else, and sadly because as good as the concept of their food is, the taste fails to deliver.

I’m sorry 1441 pizzeria, the best thing about my meal was the bottomless beverage I was given (the coke).

Titiksha Gandhi for Chai Cake & Kitsch.