On a rainy evening with the pitter patter of droplets falling outside in a constant hum, I find myself literally in the fields of Saligao. Here’s a legend of the place for those unaware. Many centuries ago, the people of Saligao besides rice began the plantation of sugarcane in their fields. Rice being the staple produce sugarcane helped with extra income. However when the sugarcane ripened the foxes from the nearby hills- sniffed them out and used to ravage the entire crop. Exasperated with this menace the villagers formed groups with each ward nominating a few individuals for guarding the fields at different intervals. They would man the fields all day and night staying in tents called ‘khompteos‘. They would hide in the stalks catching the foxes by surprise, thus protecting their crops. And thus comes the name coined by the proud partners Chef Briston & Chef Savio- Foxes Fiesta. A place synonymous and effervescent with fun, frolic and and all round party just the way the goans like it. Briston with a hint in his eyes informs me this is a place where one eats with their eyes first.
I am treated to some Pie being one of their signature dishes served. They are so well known for this format of preparation that I served myself to two variants across their elaborate every expanding menu. From the traditional Cottage Pie ( Minced meat pie) to the more local flavor Goan Sausage pie its got something for everyone. I had a tough time choosing between the Ham, Bacon & Burnt Garlic pie and the Chicken & Mushroom pie. Ultimately Savio choose for me and got me their scrumptious Chicken & Mushroom pie. Served on a sizzler with piping hot mash and succulent meats its a combination that leaves you wanting more- merely for the fact that these pies do not have a crust!!! Hence all filling and mash with no crust to give one the sense of a long craving post devouring a whole pie. The good news is one can leave space for more selections and dessert which is a must have!!!! I have been forewarned that they are currently underway with 6 new selections so be prepared. Being one of the more subtle comfort foods its interesting to note the origination of the same.
Did you know? Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. The first pies were made by early Romans who may have learned about it through the Greeks. These pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling. The chronology spread by the Romans around Europe around the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. Pies were predominately meat pies. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. The English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.
Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography
Time for dessert- had the Banoffee pie make its way to our table. The Banoffee pie served here is quintessentially English styled. A dessert pie made from home grown butter bananas, cream and toffee from boiled condensed milk (or dulce de leche), with crumbled biscuit and butter. Its name is a portmanteau constructed from the words “banana” and “toffee.” It is sometimes spelled “banoffi”. Not to forget the showcase of drizzled caramel sauce that garnishes the plate leaving you craving for more.
All in all an evening well spent. A must try for all you pie lovers. And keep an eye out for those foxes……