Monsoons really are the winters for most of us living in the tropical regions. Let’s be honest, this may be the coldest it ever gets in the year with lightning and thunder, also just like the snow fall in cooler places, monsoon showers keep us home bound and thus bringing in the need for communal bonhomie. Just like in the winter snowy climes they huddle around a fire place, we huddle around our chai and samosas.
Monsoons then help bring people together. I remember a large part of family bonding happened during the rains, in a large part because of the electricity departments mandatory ‘load shedding’ or power cuts at the first sign of impending rain. With no generator we were forced to huddle in one room, or even with the advent of generators they lit up only a single room. These forced interractions with family members used to lead to rounds of Antakshari, and to horror stories as the night wore on.
These days we have our mobile phones and even in no electricity the internet package helps us connect with the world rather than our home mates.
Grand hyatt has come up with fondue evenings to rekindle our human interractions through communal eating while we bond in the rains.
Fondue is traditionally a swiss tradition which was adopted by the French and the Italians as a way to enjoy the cool wintry evenings as they sat sharing molten wine and cheese from a single cauldron. It’s wonderful to see how foreign traditions are so similar to Indian ones, when you get right down to the basics, fondue is all about sharing, connecting and food.
Ambience: Held at the Capiz Bar, in the Grand Hyatt, this place has a lovely sit out to enjoy the rains, and a glitzy interiors for when it’s to humid outdoors. Live music on Fridays sweetens the mood. Everything here is large and luxurious and speaks of the good life.
Food: Chef Mark a Long who is the executive chef helped us make our selection from the six different cheese fondues on offer. A cauldron of smooth creamy cheesy goodness, comes with an exciting array of assortments. All the assortments are vegetrarian and egg free, some even go the distance to be gluten free. As we couldn’t decide on one we went for two fondues. The ever popular chilli cheese and the more adventurous three cheese. The chilli cheese has jullienes of Jalapeno which are surprisingly very mild, and blend in beautifully with the English cheddar. Have it with the crusty bread assortment and you could actually be biting into your mum’s chilli cheese toasts at home. Go ahead and try it with the green apple, or the ghergins,or tomato , broccoli and carrots and see how it all pairs up. I myself missed some mushrooms. Why you ask? Well mushrooms are quintessential monsoon fungi, and also that scene from ratatouille where he forks in a mushroom, adds cheese and then roasts the whole thing while it madly rains in the opening scene of one of the greatest films on food.
The three cheese fondue is a more robust flavoured fondue, more for those who love their cheese and aren’t afraid to have a cocktail of them. So we had the emmental, cheddar and edam blended into a smooth concoction with garlic and white wine. Not for the faint hearted.
We braved our way into the chocolate fondue, which was like jumping into a river stream in the charlie’s chocolate factory. Imagine a large pot filled with liquid chocolate and an assortment of cakes, brownies, cookies, marshmallows and cream puffs along with seasonal fruits. Now imagine a delicious choice of the fondue itself. Frankly I was at my wits end trying to choose between the oreo and cream fondue, the black forest fondue with cherries and kirsch, or the nutty fondue. We finally settled on a chocolate grand mariner and orange combination.
Satiated with massive overdoses of serotonin and other mood uplifting chemicals that the brain releases on consumption of both cheese and chocolate, we were floating on cloud 9, or atleast some cumulus nimbus part of the monsoon clouds.
If the grey clouds are bringing on the blues then, then the ultimate feel good combination of chocolate and cheese is bound to make you dance in the rains.
fondue festival is a monsoon special available this season at grand hyatt Goa.
Price: 1500 plus taxes for two persons cheese fondue
1200 plus taxes for two persons chocolate fondue
story published in the navhind times
story published in the navhind times