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Posted at: Dec 2, 2017, 2:10 AM; last updated: Dec 2, 2017, 2:10 AM (IST)

Dig into a rich past

Regional food festivals are bringing to the centrestage hidden gems from across the country

Protima Tiwary

The Indian gourmet food industry is entering a new phase by exploring the roots of cuisines from around the country. Digging deeper into the regional history and culture, the segment has something new to offer to the Indian gourmands who have tried the best of world cuisines. Regional food festivals are the new way to go with at least one festival dedicated to delicacies from the lengths and breadths of the huge landmass going on in the national capital every weekend.

Savour the unheard

Each state in India has its traditional flavours. Coconut and rice is staple food along the coast. Add peanuts to that in Maharashtra, mustard in West Bengal, besan and jaggery in Gujarat, and you get the drift. The cultural practices of each geographical region are defined by the abundance of the crop in the region, which depends on the terrain. Indian chefs are taking a step back to explore these roots, and even source their ingredients locally. A recent Karnataka food festival in a renowned restaurant in Mumbai introduced the people of the city to Gowda cuisine through its ancestral Mangalorean recipes. Regional food festivals thus have a long way to go as gourmet chefs dig out hidden gems.

Go local

Regional food is finally getting its due credit. While chefs from around the country innovate with regional cuisine, realising that they can source ingredients locally and meet the authentic mark, the Indian consumer too seems to be appreciating the new look to their cuisine. Bringing regional food to the cities has sparked the interest of the Indian gourmand as one is introduced to regional flavours without venturing out of the city. As people seek enriching experiences, gourmet chefs hit the nail on the head by offering them just that: older flavours with a whip of innovation! Looks like a lasting trend is all set to take over the Indian food scene.

Five-star treatment

From a recent 10-day Hyderabadi food festival in a luxury hotel chain in Delhi to a ‘Nawabs of India’ food festival in one of the finest luxury hotels in Pune earlier this year, chefs have got their game on as they explore their cultural roots, an unconquered territory in fine dining in India. Considering that every state of India has its own web of delicacies, there’s a lot to offer to the Indian consumer. The Awadhi cuisine food festival, which was held in one of the largest chain of hotels earlier this year, thus offered the traditional galauti kebab or lagan ki boti with warqui parantha to its guests. A Nizami meal isn’t complete without murg biryani, with a generous portion of rabri to top the royal meal. 

While this trend was in its nascent stage in late 2015 and 2016, it is safe to say that it has definitely picked up pace. Among the first movers were chefs from one of the oldest luxury hotels in Mumbai, with a Goan food festival they held back in 2015. In the next year, another leading chain based in the city tried its hands with ‘The Great Himalayan Food Expedition’, exploring the hidden gems in cuisine hailing from Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh —this included gosht and phirni, of course!

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