Bangalore: Is it possible to celebrate the festive season safely, using the ubiquitous virtual platforms but making the experience a real one ? The Consulate General of France, along with French company Elior India, took up the gauntlet and came up with the unique idea of “Bon Diwali”The experimental French-Indian gathering was, originally, the outcome of a conversation between Consul General of France Dr Marjorie Vanbaelinghem and Mr Sanjay Kumar, CEO & MD, Elior India, a French catering firm.
They organized the event that took place on the evening of 12th November 2020 and allowed them to share some wine and quality fusion French-Indian food prepared by Elior India’s Chef Prabhakar Nagaraj. The idea was, as the Consul General expressed “to give those regular video calls some more flavour”.
The guest-list was exactly the type of crowd that the French Consul General Vanbaelinghem would have invited to a private dinner party, “friends and friends of friends, French and Indian firms’ CEOs as well as writers and food critiques” including Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD of Biocon India, Mr. Biren Ghose, Country Head of Technicolor India, Mr. Anurag Gupta, Director at Azim Premji Foundation, Mr. Manu Chandra, Restaurateur at Olive Beach, and acclaimed writer and journalist Shoba Narayan.
The illustrious food menu reflected the cross-culture essence and was delivered, along with wine bottles, at the home of the guests invited for the virtual celebration, who thus did not have to step out. It comprised of lip-smacking dishes like “Green asparagus with Lime and Sweet-pepper vinaigrette, Parmesan shavings, Avocado mousse, Sautéed shrimps, Pickled pears, Spinach and camembert quiche, Tandoori Chicken quiche, Cilantro pesto, Caramelized onions, Cherry tomato beurre blanc, Kadai panner pithivier, Roasted Provençale vegetables, Lamb loin Crusted with black pepper and parsley, Tarte aux pommes with khandsari sugar, Baba au rhum and Rose petal rabdi”.
This was paired with a handpicked selection of wines from the very own cellar of theConsul General of France.
· The first one, a venerable Haut Medoc, Château Layauga-Dubosc, quite exceptional because of its age (dates back from 2008 when the Consulate General was not even established in Bangalore).
· The second one, a Saint Julien, Château Peymartin, of 2011 (the year when the Consulate general was founded).
· Last but not the least, a Pauillac, Château Pontet-Canet, one of the famous “Grand Cru Classéen 1855”, thus bearing witness to the heritage and grandeur of wine-making in France, as this “grand cru” ranking is a Napoleonic institution.
Consul General explains that, “Of course, we are looking forward to seeing all guests in person very soon and organizing the French Consulate’s 10th anniversary party on our rooftop, but the idea was not to lose touch and to share the pleasure of wine and food through conversation”.
Chef Prabhakar Nagaraj shared his experience with everyone, “The menu we curated was challenging but at the same time enriching. To bring both the cultures on a plate with seamless symphony was our aim and I hope the meal was enjoyable”.
Adding to the comment of the Consul General, Mr Sanjay Kumar, CEO & MD, Elior India added that “Curating for this event was a way for us all to celebrate the festive season whilst recognizing the difficult times we are going through”. He further added that,”It was simply the passion of the Consul General which could make this event come to life and yet remain virtual”.The hosts toastedto the festive season ahead and wished everyone a very happy Diwali, or rather, in impeccable Indo-French manner, “très bon Diwali”.
Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Limited as well as decorated with the highest French Civilian award the Legion d’Honneur said, “Thank you so much for sending us this delicious red wine and the specially curated food to go with it. Lots of love to everybody and I hope all of you have a great time ahead”.
Mr. Manu Chandra, restaurateur and chef at Olive Beach said, “Thank you for having me. I got the Pauillac 2011 and it has aged beautifully; great berry mellow and lots of black current, that is what you expect of a good Pauillac. 9 years have shown its worth”.