My first tryst with French Food happened during my trip to Senegal which is in Western Africa a predominantly French Africa. On a trip to St. Louis, I managed to try out some fantastic fish and other varieties of classic French cuisine. The memory of French cuisine was reignited once more last weekend when I was invited to be a part of Gout de France or I should say French food festival in Kolkata.
I was invited by The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel at their restaurant The Legacy Grill in Kolkata to be a part of a special evening celebrating French food what I was not aware was that the consul general of France in Kolkata Mr. Damien Syed would be a special invitee.
The evening started with Soup de alitue avec creme d’oignon et Fromage Fort which is Onion Custard topped with frothy Lettuce Soup, Fromage Fort. Served in a glass and not a soup bowl this was something very first for me. The creamy lettuce soup was light but if you dig your spoon to the bottom of the glass then you will get to the part of onion custard which in combination with the soupy top was brilliant.
I am not a big fan of chicken liver and was honestly not expecting to have something which I would love to eat next but for a change, Fole de poulet champignons et Sauternes gelee Spicked chicken liver, pickled mushrooms and Sauternes jelly turned out to be rather good. For a change, I loved chicken liver which was soft and mushy and was served with four different types of mushroom Shitake, Enoki, Porcini & Oyster. The sauternes jelly (wine jelly) was something which I have tasted for the very first time.
For the next serving we had to choose between the lamb (Agneau cuisine avec puy lentilles & pate d’ail Baked lamb with puy & garlic mash) and the fish (Poisson au Fenouil de croquette, crepe de rocola Pernod veloute Pan-roasted fish with fennel croquette, rucola crepe Pernod veloute), I had to choose the fish as I wanted to compare it with the taste of first I had tasted in St. Louis.
The first difference was the sauce, in St Louis the fish had a tangy tomato sauce over it. I preferred the one served here in The Lalit Great Eastern as I found it to be rather light and not so overpowering.
The next in the line was the cheese platter Gateau au fromage de chevre au cornichon Goat’s cheesecake with pickle. The platter had Roquefort cheese, Brie cheese, and Tartare cheese served with apple pickle and prune & ginger pickle and the taste suddenly reminded me of the pickles that I used to buy from the pickle seller outside my school gate. Amazingly the taste was brilliantly similar.
The crowning glory of the evening was the dessert and for a person having a sweet tooth I was anticipating something dramatic and it was indeed what I was expecting. We were served Mille feuilles au Chocolat a la noisette Streusel Hazelnut chocolate streusel mille feuille with cremeux. It was chocolate filled in layers of pastry and hazelnut chocolate mousse.
The evening was fun as the guest list was minimum, after a long time I had met with Pikturenama aka Anindya and Madhushree. It was also for the very first time I had the opportunity to meet up with Madhumita Bose from The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel and special thanks to Chef Madhumita Mohanta for creating magic in the kitchen. Till next year Vive la France, Gout de France will be on till 26th of March at The Legacy Grill.