Art on a Plate 

This is part of a series of articles written for Goa Times (Times of India) on people and happenings in and around Goa. 

This article encaupsulates Art on a Plate in the age of food being presented as a work of art- a feast for the eyes. 

Click on the image to enlarge it and read. 
  

Publication:Goa Times 

Written by: Nolan Mascarenhas 

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A Single’ton evening in a Park 

They say your aura attracts your own tribe. Rightfully so, when you find Señor Varun Carvalho on the same table as you for a whiskey paring dinner. Known for his life for fast cars, the good life and pulling out people’s teeth in his spare time while singing them to sleep (he’s not a torturer- a dentist rather) is also South Goa’s most eligible bachelor. Round two’ as we both call it (given we shared an earlier evening the last time round as well) at the Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine-Land and Dram Reunited. This masterclass showcase is a series of sophisticated culinary and beverage experiences hosted at Park Hyatt hotels around the world. I have been fortunate to be part of many a showcase that pay tribute to the local culture, culinary traditions, ingredients and flavors and have never left disappointed. Under the watchful eye of their award winning master chefs and the eminent Nick Ord – a renowned Reserve Brand Ambassador this was indeed an evening worth waiting for. 

You realize your in good company when you have a singing dentist and a maestro chef on either side of you. The evening reeked of sophistication with detail given to the simplest of things (case in point sparkling water with a choice of either a twist of lemon or an orange peel to the personalized table seating with name plate et all)- a classy affair indeed. 

Chef Saulo, was the genius behind the Oops Tiramisu which was showcased earlier and he never travels too far away from his roots deep within Italy. And while one sets into a melancholy of expectation (given the earlier jaunts) a blended fusion presents itself with a Chicken tikka pappardelle with white tomato makhni sauce chilly oil and garlic crisp. Imagine my glee combining two international cuisines (Indian & Italian-both close to my heart) to create this infused masterpiece. 

 Chicken tikka pappardelle white tomato makhni sauce chilly oil and garlic crisp  

Pappardelle is flat wide strips of pasta noodles popular in the Tuscan region of Italy. The name derives from the verb “pappare” to gobble up. This wide pasta holds up well with heavy meat sauces. A traditional recipe includes rabbit served over the pasta ribbons that I happened to sample a few years ago. Tender and moist indeed. It’s cousins, Tagliatelle, tagliolini, tortellini, and lasagne are some of the pastas made fromsfoglia, the “leaves” of egg-and-flour dough. 

Legend has it that the shape-strips of pasta about a half inch wide, was invented in 1487 by Maestro Zafirano, a cook from the village of Bentivoglio, on the occasion of the marriage of Lucrezia Borgia to the Duke of Ferrara. The cook was said to be inspired by the beautiful blond hair of the bride.

The Singleton of Glen Ord – 12 years   Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

Like a attentive accomplice was the pairing of this creative dish with the Singleton of Glen Ord aged 12 years. It’s Amber gold hues, lulls you into steady oblivion and its heady distant burning heather infuses distinct sweet pollen and dry orange skins to send your senses into a tizz. It’s a well balanced malt with a pleasant mouth feel (especially between pungent tangy morsels of the tikka pappardelle) rather very sweet then dries slightly. For a novice it’s easy to consume and if one dilutes it with water a softer notes of candle wax, brown sugar and dried flowers emerge to tickle ones buds. 

This Masters of Food and Wine experience at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa comprised a mélange of bold Indian flavours artfully paired with single malts left one yearning for more. Leaving on a light note, here’s singing your song – Señor Carvalho till we meet again. 

 

OOPS Tiramisu 

A cruel joke could be defined when- after a 7 course meal accompanied with exclusive single malts from around the world, you are served this masterpiece. 

I present to you the Oops Tiramisu. This is the genius of Chef Saulo Bacchilega from the Park Hyatt – Goa. 

He playfully comes across and with a mischievous hint in his eyes asks me if the cup is straight or tilted? I reserve my comment till he further explains that while I may be seeing double my senses are well intact and it’s actually a deconstruction of his favourite dish from back home the way Mama made it. Thank god for reserved silence to avoid the foot in mouth syndrome I religiously partake in on multiple occasion. 

I was told everything on the plate was edible so I started testing. Turns out the cup was ceramic indeed (Duh!!? While you maybe quick to judge I have in some places had cups made of white chocolate so you probably couldn’t blame me) and was delicately stuck to the plate with a white chocolate base – genius might I add- more chocolate for me. 

And the focus was the deconstruction. The careful blend of picture perfect presentation. A tiramisu means “pick/lift me up” and rightfully so given the coffee flavoured dessert it is. A systematic dessert to begin with for we all know how careless a tiramisu really can be,hence its need to be layer trapped in a vessel to preseve its visual beauty. Could you  imagine the horror if left to run wild and free? 

It certainly would create chaos with the coffee soaked ladyfingers often called savoiardi  (biscuit mind you, not the vegetable) fighting for supremacy and the mascarpone cheese screaming murder helplessly trying to keep all the elements from ruining the appeal to ones senses.  

A tilted coffee cup post a delectable , intoxicated dinner is all one needed to end this magnificent event on an all time High. (No pun intended) 

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography