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Canada calling

Want a taste of Canadian cuisine? Check out the food festival at Chola Sheraton



Satisfaction guaranteed: Chef Javvaji with his Canada fare. — Pic by S. R. Raghunathan

THE CLICHÉ `variety is the spice of life' seems just right for Canada. Think of the tundra, the prairies, the mountains and the valleys. Not to forget its amazing diversity of plants and animals. That's why the Canadian food festival at Chola Sheraton sounded exciting.

That Executive Chef Ramesh Javvaji has had a long stint in Alberta ought to have made Café Mercara a mini red and white fluttering Canada. But he says, "This is not haute cuisine." It is more like diner fare all across North America, which slips into the five-star coffee shop mould easily.

Sauces score

Now for the menu. The chef's buffalo wings were neat. Take a lick of the hot pepper sauce that goes with it and you will agree with Chef Javvaji's "I am a sauce man." It had enough bite and sweetness but what finished it off was the smokiness of roasted peppers. Grab a plate; it is satisfaction guaranteed.

What caught my eye next was the creamy green broccoli and cheddar soup. The tongue-tingling hot pepper sauce can be toned down with this rich, smooth creation.

If you are a sauce person, go for the Tsatzki dip. It comes with potato wedges and bruschetta with tomatoes.

The latter is obviously a better choice. This cool yoghurt-cucumber-dill combo bears the chef's stamp. But where was the maple syrup? It was like looking at the Canadian flag without the maple leaf. I was so looking forward to taste the real thing, after the caramel glob in squeeze bottles one finds in supermarkets. It was Nanaimo bars, a British Columbian specialty, that was comforting.

The layered bars burst with peanut, coconut and chocolate flavours. Calgary carrot cake too was soothing. The festival is on till November 5.

MARIEN MATHEW

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