Exclusive: What's for dinner at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival? - Hindustan Times
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Exclusive: What's for dinner at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival?

May 17, 2024 04:01 PM IST

The first event, a formal sit-down dinner for 30 guests on May 15, set the stage for an intimate exploration of regional Indian dishes.

Amid the glamour and cinematic fervour at the 77th Cannes Film Festival 2024, which kicked off on May 14 at Côte d’Azur (France), Bharat pavilion brought Indian culinary flavours to the fore with an experience curated by chef Varun Totlani for the Bharat Parv.

Dinner on Day 1 commenced with a jícama and coconut malai momo for the vegetarians.
Dinner on Day 1 commenced with a jícama and coconut malai momo for the vegetarians.

The planning that began in March with extensive preparations was executed on May 15 and 16, with two distinct dining experiences for the guests. The first event, a formal sit-down dinner for 30 guests on May 15, set the stage for an intimate exploration of regional Indian dishes. The second, a relaxed buffet-style and pass-around setup for 100 guests, kept culinary revelry going the next day.

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“From the staff who helped me to the guests, everybody enjoyed the food and found it different from what they had been eating. And it’s only now that people are realising what they know, as Indian food is mostly North Indian cuisine, and it’s not even 1% of our gastronomic culture,” explained Totlani.

Known for his innovative approach at Masque, Mumbai, the chef embraced this opportunity to hero India’s artisanal produce and ingredients. Dinner on Day 1 commenced with a jícama and coconut malai momo for the vegetarians. For meat-lovers, there was trout roe from Jammu and Kashmir, garnished with oil made from Gondhoraj lime leaves.

The second course was charred corn and ponkh chaat, complemented by three distinct chutneys: red Kashmiri chillies and garlic, green apple and mint, and tamarind and rhubarb.
The second course was charred corn and ponkh chaat, complemented by three distinct chutneys: red Kashmiri chillies and garlic, green apple and mint, and tamarind and rhubarb.

The second course was charred corn and ponkh chaat, complemented by three distinct chutneys: red Kashmiri chillies and garlic, green apple and mint, and tamarind and rhubarb. The main course paid homage to Rajasthan’s royal hunting traditions with Khad Turbot and Malabar paratha. Totlani, who had the original Khad Lamb in Jodhpur, reinterpreted the dish with turbot fish, marinated in a blend of black cardamom and saffron.

There was also black garlic pulao, using Ambe Mohar rice from Ratnagiri, topped off with the neck of a lamb, toor dal, asparagus, Kashmiri morels and fried onions.

There was also black garlic pulao, using Ambe Mohar rice from Ratnagiri, topped off with the neck of a lamb, toor dal, asparagus, Kashmiri morels and fried onions.
There was also black garlic pulao, using Ambe Mohar rice from Ratnagiri, topped off with the neck of a lamb, toor dal, asparagus, Kashmiri morels and fried onions.

The dessert celebrated India’s burgeoning bean-to-bar chocolate industry, particularly from South India. “The shell-like part of the cacao fruit is always wasted from the chocolate-making process. But we used it to serve our desserts,” Totlani tells us. The layered dessert comprised milk chocolate mousse, a chikki made with cacao nibs and cashews, and a fruit salad of strawberries marinated with Gondhoraj lime zest.

The second day’s event featured a selection of pass-around snacks and buffet dishes, offering guests a more casual yet refined dining experience. Highlights included Puran poli tart, corn masala papad and a Bandel cheese custard with toast. For the non-vegetarians, laal maas pav and vaer masala prawns brought robust flavours to the fore.

The buffet also included mushroom and morel bhutwa, Koli spiced turbot and lamb yakhni, served with the traditional Kashmiri bread, Katlam. Desserts continued to impress with a refreshing melon, rabri and roselle sorbet, as well as cacao shell desserts from day 1.

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