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Best of the East

The ongoing `Purbanchal Food Festival' at Salzburg Street in Amrutha Castle packs the choicest fare from the East amidst an archetypal ambience, much to the delight of gourmets.


NOSTALGIA TIME: The food had a taste of home in every morsel.

FOR THE people from Assam, it was the earthy smell of the Assamese village after rains. The divine sanctity of Puri-Jagannath emanated, according to the people, from the land of Chilka. The Bongs, of course, found it as sweet as their language while for the hardworking Biharis it was the aroma of the lush green maize fields coupled with the sweat of the farmer. And for the Hyderabadis, it was sheer delight.The ingredients may have been of a wide-ranging variety. But what stemmed from the simmering Eastern cauldron at the ongoing `Purbanchal Food Festival' at Salzburg Street in Amrutha Castle was more than distinctive. It was unadulterated nostalgia.

Like a whiff of fresh air for the people from the Eastern part of the Indian sub-continent settled here, the food festival - - a compromise or a consolation - - compensated them amply with a true taste of their soil.

Be it the famed Sorsay Bata Machh, the Potoler Dolma or the simple Aloo Posto and Sukhto from Bengal, or the bland Aloo Pitika and Pata Diya Machh from Assam and the Kosa Mangsho or the typical Machha Besoro Rasedar from Orissa to the distinctive Bihari Rasedaar Shikaar and Bharma Kerala or the Rai ki Machhi, the preparations promise one, a `mummy-made' taste in every morsel.

"Each item has been very carefully conceived and prepared with just the right amount of spices to make it more authentic and appetising," says Kishore Kumar Sinha, executive chef at Amrutha Castle, who is a specialist in Eastern Indian cuisine. He says that care was taken, for the sweets in particular, to see that they exactly match the taste of the land of their origin. From Rosogolla, to Mishti Doi, Raj Bhog, Chena Peda, Kejurer Chutney, and Pantua, each is a epicurean delight in itself, he says.

"The response we have got is overwhelming. The taste apart, perhaps, the festive season that we chose as a time for the food fest, is also a reason for the popularity of the food festival," says Partha Pratim Nag, Assistant F&B Manager.

The delicacies are served as a buffet at an affordable Rs. 199 per head, in addition to taxes. While the ambience has been specially decked up for the occasion with archetypal Bengali Lal Parer Sada sari, the Assamese Mekhela Chaddar and the Oriya Sambalpuri embellishing the pillars and adorning the ceiling, the attenders have also been attired accordingly, with regional dresses just for the event.

While it is having nostalgic effects on most, others are indulging and some were even seen over-indulging in the gastronomic delights from the Eastern cauldron.

The festival concludes on October 27.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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