I love to eat and whenever I travel to places I visit fairly frequently I have what I call my “goodie list” which consists of the things that I “must” eat whenever I am in that location! Le 15 Patisserie & Café in Mumbai makes a sinfully good Dark Chocolate Macaroon and it’s right on top of my “must eat list”. I never miss dropping in for my macaroon fix at Le 15 as soon as I am in town. Pooja Dhingra is a baker par excellence who trained at Le Cordon Bleu (Paris) and returned to Mumbai to open up Le 15 Patisserie which has been a stunning success. Her first book “The Big Book of Treats” was a scrumptious treat of a read.
Naturally when I was sent an invitation to attend the Kolkata Launch of Pooja Dhingra’s second book “The Wholesome Kitchen” I was delighted to have a chance to meet India’s Macaroon Queen in person as well as catch her in action in the scheduled cooking demonstration of some of the recipes from the new book. The event was hosted by The Corner Courtyard a lovely and quaint boutique hotel in Kolkata.
Pooja Dhingra’s popularity was reflected by the huge buzz surrounding the event and there was literally only standing room for a number of people on the day of the event at the venue. The Corner Courtyard was packed and the anticipation palpable. I was delighted to share the experience with friends and fellow bloggers as well as colleagues from work all of whom seemed to really look forward to the evening. Pooja with her vivacious personality charmed us all and got the cooking demonstration going with three recipes – Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles and Peanut Butter Bites all of which sound calorie loaded but in reality thanks to the wonderful combination of ingredients used were healthy and very tasty.
During her chat with us she mentioned that her inspiration for the book came when she decided to train for and run the Marathon. She had to change her own dietary habits while ensuring that her taste buds were not compromised and that the recipes she followed offered lots of energy but were healthy. Her sister-in-law Viddhi Dhingra a nutritionist has partnered with her and helped formulate the recipes and has co-authored this book. That apart the ingredients are locally sourced and presented in a way that is easy to follow with simple and precise instructions. The accompanying photographs in the book taken by Daniel Shechter are beautiful and certainly want to make you try the recipes out so you too can dig into the rather tempting goodies.
Throughout the Cooking Demonstration Pooja not only kept us all engaged and enthused but she also invited some of the young bakers in the audience to assist her and that was a wonderful experience for them. Naturally we were all very excited to taste the goodies that we had watched being prepared and they were delicious. Baking can be healthy and tasty indeed and the food was certainly devoured by all of us with gusto!
The evening ended with lots of photographs and selfies along with an opportunity to get a copy of The Wholesome Kitchen signed by the author herself and chat with her. The Corner Courtyard served some nice light bites and beverages that all those present were invited to enjoy which bought a rather lovely evening to a close. A special thank you to The Corner Courtyard for putting together this lovely event and look forward to more in future.
DISCLAIMER : I was invited as a guest to attend the event but the views expressed are entirely my own.
PICTURE CREDITS : Suneha Saha