Provolone cheese

Auricchio brand provolone

Auricchio brand provolone

Two years ago, I wrote this post about the cheeses I had on hand in my refrigerator. Thanks to a program called EAT (European Art of Taste), an initiative supported by the European Union and the Italian Government, I now know a whole lot more about cheese – and specifically provolone [pro-voh-LOH-nay] cheese – than I did back then. I also have to say that I will never again eat a piece of cheese without appreciation for the amount of work that goes into making it.

As part of the EAT program, I recently traveled to Cremona, in the heart of the Italy’s provolone-making Lombardia region to visit the Auricchio cheese-production unit. As one of Italy’s oldest cheese manufacturing companies, the Auricchio brand has become synonymous with provolone cheese. With good reason too – Gennaro Auricchio, the founder of the company, is widely credited with having discovered an unusual kind of rennet that gives today’s  provolone its distinctive flavor. He was also amongst the first of the provola cheesemakers from Southern Italy’s Campania region to  head north in search of a better milk supply. Provola? Yes, provola. “Provolone” merely means “large provola”.

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Zingron: Naga Cuisine in Koramangala

Note: I am travelling at the moment and don’t seem to be able to upload my photos. Until I get back to namma Bengaluru, you’ll just have to make do with your imagination!

In one of the many Naga dialects, “Zingron” means “blessings of the morning sun”.  And it seems that the sun has indeed risen on Naga cuisine in Bangalore, blessing food lovers with three restaurants opening around the city in the space of as many months. Two of them are located in Koramangala, my favorite stomping ground: Zingron and The N.E. Diner. The toss of a coin decreed that Zingron be the first one I checked out. Reviews of the other two will follow – in the fullness of time, of course  🙂

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Naati Manae in Koramangala: Cuisine of Karnataka

Naati Manae in Koramangala

Naati Manae's rustic theme

Once in a way, a dining experience makes an impression. If you are well-traveled and eat out more often than not, that kind of experience becomes especially elusive. That’s why I am happy to report that I recently discovered an experience of that sort – pretty much on my own doorstep. It’s called Naati Manae (naati = rustic/country-style; manae = house), serves only typical Karnataka cuisine, and (this was a surprise) as of now, only non-vegetarian dishes. K. Girish and B. Ravi Shankar, Koramangala-based friends and real estate developers, got so tired of having to schlep off to Cubbonpet or Malleswaram every time they needed a fix of honest-to-goodness local oota (meal) that they decided to go the DIY route. The result is an unpretentious little eatery that dishes out specialties like raagi mudde (raagi = finger millet; mudde = balls), donne biriyani (biriyani served in a cup made of dry leaves), naati koli saaru (naati koli = free range chicken; saaru = a thin, soupy curry), and more. Disclaimer: In a break with my standard policy, I have only dined at this restaurant ONCE. It was good enough to share.

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Aroy in JP Nagar: Compliments to the Chef

Aroy in JP Nagar

Very classy...

When Favorite Niece (of Mezze review fame) gushed about this “cool new restaurant” in J.P. Nagar that served “Thai, Chinese, and Burmese cuisine” I was skeptical. Very skeptical. For one thing, having lived most of my life in South Bangalore, I know that the J.P. Nagar-Jayanagar demographic is rather conservative when it comes to experimenting with new cuisines and paying for the fine dining experience. For another, I break out in hives whenever I hear of a restaurant serving Thai and Chinese on the same menu, because in my experience, it often implies the addition of coconut milk and lemon grass to over-seasoned desi-Chinese dishes. …Keep reading


Bhutan’s Happiness Quotient is visible everywhere

Bhutan has consistently been rated as the country with the highest Happiness Quotient in the world. Hardly surprising, when you consider that the Bhutanese invented the concept of quantifying a peoples’ happiness as an indicator of the country’s socio-economic (rather than purely economic) growth. As in Sikkim, not once during our stay did we see an angry face, hear an impatient voice, or witness an argument. Perhaps  I had my rose-tinted spectacles on, but time seemed to slow down in Bhutan, and the Bhutanese we met seemed to exude an air of contentment. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that they aren’t ambitious or worldly wise; it’s just that they seem to lead a simpler existence. There’s still an innocence. People are hard-working, even-tempered, and accommodating. Perhaps Bhutan’s less-than-friendly terrain and climate make these traits a necessity. As Mr. Small put it: Bhutan is a cold country populated by warm people. …Keep reading

Full Kee: Dining in DC #2

Chinatown in DC: as authentic as...

This October, the Giant Vacuum Cleaner had to take his 10th grade board exams. The Spouse felt it would be a great idea to whisk me away as far as possible in order to prevent mother-son meltdown. We ended up spending a couple of days in my favorite American city – Washington, DC. Despite having lived in the area for several years, we had never ventured into the District’s Chinatown neighborhood, other than to drive through it on our way to someplace else. Despite knowing that DC’s Chinatown is kitschy and about as authentic as an Elvis impersonator, I thought it would be fun to make like a tourist and eat Chinese food in a Chinatown restaurant. … Keep reading

Tunday Kababi, Koramangala

Lucknow's Chowk area: unbridled chaos

The esrtwhile Kingdom of Avadh (or Lucknow, as it is now called), boasts a rich cultural history. The Nawabs, Muslim noblemen who governed the province for the Mughal rulers, were connoisseurs of  the arts. Avadh’s history is replete with poetry, literature, art, music… and, of course, good food. In acknowledgement of its opulent past, Lucknow is known as The City of Nawabs. Thanks to its culinary legacy, however, I have come to think of it as The City of Nawabs and Kebabs. And no kababi in Lucknow is more beloved than Tunday Kababi, located amidst the chaos of Chowk, the walled Old City.

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