BE IT bouillabaisse or creme brulee, French staples are not hard to find in Pondicherry. But a full-course French meal is. On March 21 however, four restaurants in Pondicherry will serve a multi-course French dinner as part of Goût de France (Good France). The festival celebrates French cuisine with simultaneous dinners in over 1,000 restaurants worldwide. The gastronomic French meal is on the UNESCO ‘world intangible cultural heritage’ list, due its significance as a social tradition. Here’s what to expect:
? “This is an occasion to show people how traditional French dining used to be and how it should be,” says Francois Laederich of Mango Hill. The restaurant (0413 2655491) will feature only classic French dishes including a choucroute de la mer (a delectable mélange of seafood and vegetables) and aged cheeses on its menu (Rs 1,290)
? While dinners must follow the customary structure of a French meal with seafood, meat, cheese and wine, restaurants are free to incorporate local flavours. Le Boulevard at Hotel Atithi (0413 2345000), will dish up Pondicherrian specialties like Crevettes Assadh, a French style prawn curry seasoned with local spices on its menu.( Rs 1,499).
? Apart from signature dishes like roast duck with orange, Satsanga (0413 2225867) has vegetarian options like goat cheese terrine and a Provence-style artichokes stewed in olive oil (Rs 1,250).
? La Villa (0413 2338555) is planning a contemporary approach, “The techniques are French, but we will be using Indian spices or Italian garnish,” says their chef, Ashwin Marius. Their chocolate molleaux will be infused with masala tea and served with spicy custard. (Rs 1,050)
— Olympia Shilpa Gerald