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A culinary journey through France

The speciality of the festival is the pairing of food and wine with each region Frog legs, blue cheese and snails. These are often the first associations with French food. To destroy stereotypes and to reveal French cooking, the multi-cuisine restaurant Ploof in Lodi Colony is hosting a French Cuisine and Wine Festival till this coming Wednesday. The menu is classified according to region. These are Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Brittany, Champagne, Loire and Rhone. Manav Sharma of Ploof says, "The speciality of the festival is the pairing of food and wine with the region."

Cheese platter

The meal begins with a Rosé d'Anjou and a cheese platter. Manav warns that the grilled goat cheese on a mini baguette "smells of a shepherd". He suggests Brie Mon Pere and Bell Paese, which are more delicate. The emphasis at Ploof is to make the foreign familiar. Manav explains that French restaurants have not succeeded previously in Delhi, because they provided only haute cuisine ignoring the bistro fare. The appetiser of chicken black pepper has a distinct Oriental flavour. However the chilly-mayo accompaniment seems a lazy choice. The asparagus and smoked cheese roll appetiser is delicately fried and lightly flavoured with bell pepper sauce and balsamic vinegar. Having worked in South Africa where he could choose fish straight from the trawler, Manav is very particular about the freshness of the meat. Lobsters are flown in from France and sell at Rs.1200 a plate. The wines, cheese, oil and a few herbs are imported. The seafood comes from Kerala, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. The corn-fed chickens and Muscovy ducks are reared at a special farm near Delhi.

Main course

The main course of grilled fresh water trout (a preparation of Alsace) is a complete delight. Grilled perfectly and seasoned only with lemon and olive oil it tastes as fresh as a mountain stream. The roast pork in red wine from Burgundy is succulent and fine. The flavourful sauce offsets the natural taste of the meat. The restaurant is also known for its live crepes. The crepe suzettes and crème brule are also highly recommended. Manav asserts, "People who know their food come here." This includes many famous writers, filmmakers and artists who Manav loyally keeps incognito. 'Ploof' is onomatopoeic of a pebble striking water. Water and stone inspire the décor.A meal for two, without wine, will cost around Rs.1500. NANDINI NAIR

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