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    The 18th edition of By Hand, From The Heart is all about wholesome food, with craft and fashion thrown into the mix.

    Eight pointers to appreciate fine chocolate better. A basil leaves tasting session. If you have more than a casual interest in food, head to the upcoming 18th edition of By Hand, From The Heart, a weighty marketplace in the city’s craft and foodscape. For the first time, the event will feature food talks and a slew of tasting sessions and demonstrations, besides its famed Makers Market featuring 47 stalls.

    Taste talk
    The farmers market—a big draw at the market since its inclusion in 2014—has given way to other food-related events, equipped with a studio kitchen at the venue. “We featured the farmers market to provide a platform for the farmer and consumer to meet. We think that requirement has been addressed. Now it’s the time to discuss food,” explains Deepa Sekar (41), who founded the marketplace in 2011 along with Kshiti Davey (52). “We’ve chosen people who have had the urge to correct an existing trend in the market. They are game changers,” she says, of the speakers like Suresh Nanjan of Teaneer and chocolatier L Nitin Chordia of Cocoatrait, among others.

    Balancing act
    Nanjan’s 18-acre farm in Coonoor grows five varieties of tea using biodynamic techniques. “It is an integrated and spiritual approach to farming, which believes that everything on the soil, even weeds, exist for a purpose and maintain a natural balance. All our inputs come from the farm,” he explains. Meanwhile, Chordia will trace the chocolate-making process from bean to bar, besides hosting a tasting session of five fine chocolate varieties. Forty artisanal chocolates will also be on display for tasting and shopping. “With 40 varieties, this is the largest tasting table of chocolates in the world and has been sourced from eight artisans across the country. These have zero artificial flavouring and are mostly vegan and gluten-free,” claims Chordia, India’s first certified chocolate taster. Providing the organic food fix for the event is the owner of Door 2 Door Organics, Jitendra Prasad, who will speak on food as medicine and organise a basil leaves sampling session, besides offering special subscription packages at his stall for persons with cholesterol and hypertension.

    Shopper’s stop
    Expect more food at the Makers Market. Like the laboriously prepared natural banoffee pie, ginger honey ice cream and sapota ice cream by 24-year-old Kshama Adka’s Shmoozie (costing Rs 100 for a scoop or Rs 400 for a half litre pack). For lifestyle products, get ready to be spoilt for choice with options in furniture, fashion, decor, stationery and jewellery. Our picks include western outfits fashioned using lungis by Mumbai-based The Revival Project (price range is Rs 1,900-Rs 17,500), garments and bedspreads embroidered by the Lambadis in Dharmapuri by Porgai (Rs  500-Rs 6,000), ethical yoga wear by Bengaluru-based Proyog (Rs 500-Rs 3,200), zardosi clothing and jewellery line SR by Sonali Raman from Doha, and crochet crafts by Samoolam from Gaya (Rs 100-Rs 2,000).

    August 5 – 6, 10 am to 8 pm, at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. Free entry. Prebook seats for talks. Details: facebook.com/byhandfromtheheart

    — Sharadha Narayanan

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