Your haughty US bred distant cousin is headed to the capital and declares she would be lunching at your place. As you are thanking your stars for the chic boho makeover you just gave your pad, another thought strikes you — What about food? That
recipe you learnt from your best friend won’t make the cut. You got to go gourmet. How about a nice honey crusted smoke ham sandwich for the hors d’oeuvres? Would a cajun seasoned red snapper work well in the main course? Should the perfect palate cleanser be a rhubarb sorbet? No, you’re not ordering from your favourite fine diner this time. Reason: It’s now become simpler to do gourmet at home.
The increasing number of gourmet stores in the city has made it easy to whip up exotic treats at home. Be it a clump of flowering chives, cheese such as English cheddar or Italian mozarella, cold cuts, herbs and spices, everything you require to rustle up an exotic meal is available at gourmet stores in the neighbourhood.
Will you teach me chef?
A growing number of guests now show keen interest in gourmet capsule courses run by five star hotels. “When guests try out something fancy, they ask for the recipe. When you share a recipe with them, they relate to it because they have checked out these ingredients at a gourmet store in the city. Gourmet doesn’t mean olives anymore,” says chef Debraj Halder of Suryaa.
Demand on a high
With the growth in demand, the gourmet stores in the capital are also on an expansion spree. Mohit Khattar, MD, Nature’s Basket, that launched its first store in the capital last year, says, “Among our gourmet products, cheeses and cold cuts are the most sought after items.” Most gourmet stores in the city follow a recipe-based approach that ensures that all the ingredients required in popular world cuisines are available. In fact, at most stores, you’ll find a food specialist, who’ll take you through the range of products.
It’s no more Greek
Another segment that’s on the rise is ‘impulse food’ from around the world that include biscuits, chocolates, savories, dried fruits and and nuts. Mohit Kampani, chief of operations and merchandising, Spencer’s, says, “Now fine chocolates like Hawaiaan Host, Guylian, and Duc d'O, are not foreign names for Indians. There has been a phenomenal 40% growth in gourmet retail in the past two years and the industry is now worth Rs 200 crores.”
Future trends in gourmet would see a lot of sampling and cooking demonstrations happening at gourmet stores, adds Kampani. It’s the younger generation that has given a push to the gourmet trend. “Children now relish imported cereals and spreads and are aware of most popular foreign gourmet brands,” says Mini Yadav, director, Le Marche, a gourmet chain in the city.
And if you’re feeling lazy to drive up to a gourmet store, you can also buy it online. Deliciousnow.com, an online gourmet store that recently made an entry into India, delivers your gourmet pick right at your doorstep. So, arm yourself with your favourite recipe and set out on a gourmet trail.