July 11, 2014

French Weekend at Swissotel, Kolkata

"French cuisine is known for its exquisite taste and presentation and we are proud to present traditional French recipes brought to us from Lyon which is know as the 'gastronomical capital of France'". I am sure that the people of the city will enjoy the dishes."
- Mr.Marco Saxer (General Manager of Swissotel, Kolkata)
 Kolkata Food Bloggers recently got invited at the inauguration of the French Weekend at Cafe Swiss in Swissotel that will continue till 13th July'14 and to taste the exquisite flavours from France to celebrate  the French National Day (celebrated on 14th of July).  As a part of the team Amrita, Vishal and I reached on time to witness the french culinary journey that will keep the impression in our mind forever. Just at the entrance we got struck to see the decor and the huge replica of the World Cup to keep the spirit of the recent sport fever. Warm and cordial greetings from team Swiss made us comfortable and we were served Cranberry cooler and Sparkling wine. When it comes to French Cuisine the concept of the fine dining with its unique delicacies pops up and make you lure. I always admire the quality of food that Swissotel restaurants serve and mainly when they present the food fests picking up different cuisines of the world, they ensure that they should present the authentic taste of the cuisine. Therefore for each Food Fest they bring the specialised and experienced chefs from that particular country. This time the flare from French Cuisine instantly sealed our lips so that we should not talk but eat and eat and eat. 

Most of the delegates were from France and French Consulate. Busy in chitchatting and munching the delectable starters. We were introduced with the GM, Mr. Marco Saxer and was overwhelmed to see his cordial greetings that made us more comfortable. To enrich our knowledge we were introduced with Louise Arnes from Lyon, the Gastronomical Capital of France, who crafted the menu keeping in mind to stick to its authentic taste and to present the traditional dishes from her country. She also shared keeping in mind the local ingredients that  could be found in India, the menu had been designed. Though she wanted to add two more dishes like Red varrine and a dessert, since the ingredients were not available here therefore it got omitted. The key qualities of the food  were: spice less and the usage of the fresh ingredients. So as our journey started of tasting and exchanging the knowledge of French Cuisine and the dishes served that very day.
The starter menu comprised of: Zucchini and Tomato Verrine, Accars (Fish Dumpling), Asparagus and Ham Ballotins, Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine, Mini Chicekn croquet monsieur and Gourgeres (Cheese Puff). My picks were the Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine and the Accars (Fish Dumpling). How could I miss the Asparagus and Ham Ballotins and Cheese Puffs too. Smoked Salmon and Avocado verrine was just out of the world. A layer of avocado seasoned mildly with lemon juice and then topped with a layer of sour cream and crowned with the smoked salmon. One need to scoop out the two layers altogether and to take a bit of the salty smoky flavoured salmon. And here you go- I reached directly to the heaven after each bite. The fish Dumpling was the another one hit my palate. Crab meat steamed and topped with some brown sauce made a perfect pairing and after tasting it the balanced flavour did win my heart. So as the Asparagus and Ham Ballotins. All the fresh ingredients and the usage of minimal ingredients made each dish not only exotic but too savoury.
The Main course menu  goes like this: From the Veg section:
 Dauphinois Potato (Potatoes cooked with Cream). Ratatouille, Herb and Cheese Shouffle, Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroon Fricassee and Onion and Leek Tart.
We were recommended by Louise to taste Dauphinois Potato (Potatoes cooked with Cream). That one is one of the famous dishes of her native land. And so it was. Half Boiled Potato got baked with Cream and Cheese made the pair like made in heaven. The creamy bite of the potato coated with Cheese and Cream made the taste nothing but yum. 
When I first watched the movie Ratatouille, I was hooked to create the dish Ratatouille at my kitchen. I made it but never knew what would be the original taste. This was for the first time I tasted and found it not only delectable but exquisitely good in taste. A mild tangy tomato based sauce coated with the vegetables made a succulent bite. Yes it had then become a winner where a meat lover like me complementing a veg dish like this.
Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroon Fricassee was also a dish worth to mention. Mushroom cooked in thick cheesy-nutty gravy made perfect blend of taste. 
The Non-Veg Buffet Spread goes like this:
Lobster Thermidor,Poulet au Vinalgre (Lyon Specialty of vinegar braised chicken, Bouf Bourgulgnon (Tenderloin cooked with red wine), Gigot d'agneau (Roast leg of lamb served with roaste potatoes), Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple Riesling Sauce.
My picks of the day were the Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple Riesling Sauce and the Lobster Thermidor. Fresh Pork slices cooked in diced bacon and Apple Riesling sauce was out of the world. The Pork was perfectly cooked and the freshness of each ingredients made it more delicious. At each bite one will have the tiny diced bacon along with the juicy pork piece.
Lobster Thermidor here got presented in a different way since it was a part of the buffet spread. But none could beat the taste. I have tasted Lobster Thermidor in variuos places. And each time I came up with a different taste. Here too the taste was different but again taste wise it got the full marks.
The non-veg dishes were also winner in its own way. Mainly when you got a chance to taste the authentic and traditional French dishes sitting in your own city of joy, what life needs more.

How could I miss the Breads and the Cheese Truffles that are French Cuisine famous for. The truffles were exceptionally good in taste cheese rolled in nuts/ pesto/coconut flakes. I have never imagined that a cheese truffle would be so tasty. It went perfectly with the assorted breads that was on the spread. The Spread also had the Famous French onion soup and Bouillabaisse (Sea Food Soup served with rouille). I tasted the seafood one. The smell of the seafood was very mild that would make you more prone to go for the second serving and the next. Assorted seafood crunches would give you a mouthful serving with the warm liquid soup pouring down your throat giving an utmost satisfaction to enjoy the delectable dish.
And last but not the least here I come to the Dessert section that is French Cuisine mainly famous for. All the famous French Desserts along with some from other cuisines too were lined up to made us satisfied. We were pretty full then. But who could resist if you have these luring desserts welcoming you. Croquembouche, Matafaim,Paris Breast, Blue Berry Cheese Cake, Lamington, French Apple Tart, French Swiss roll, Creme Brulee, Cherry Clafoutis. Opera Cake, Chocolate Mousse, Sandesh. Ladoo and so on and forth all were presented at one's service. No need to say again the each dessert was a winner. But my pick was the Croquembouche and the Paris Breast. Paris Breast was a kind of choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut sauce. At each bite the oozing chocolaty hazelnut sauce was a heavenly match with choux pastry.
All over my experience was splendid. Mainly loved the way the taste and the presentation of the dishes were taken care of, keeping in mind to give the utmost authentic flavour of the traditional dishes that were crafted in the Buffet Menu for the French Weekend.

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French Weekend at Cafe Swiss is on till 13th July'14.
Price: INR 1600 plus taxes per person for Dinner Buffet. A special Sunday Brunch on 13th July will cost INR 1650 plus taxes per person.
Timings: 7.00pm to 11.00pm 
To know more detail about French Weekend one may call at this no: 033-6626 6666

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