Man cannot live on bread alone but Kimberley can. I love bread! No matter where I go in the world nor what type of cuisine I encounter there is always some sort of bread. It’s the one thing that every culture has in culinary common.
Bread is the one food I have been eating my whole life and have never tired of it. I have now earned my artisan bread baking certificate and continue to put it to good and regular use. Occasionally I am without my daily bread but too long without and all is not right in my world. Bread is the staff of my life.
The India I visited is not a walkers’ paradise. The streets of Delhi are extremely polluted, crowded and holds the possibility of being accosted by one of the capital’s many professional beggars. Despite that, I managed to walk a little and find some chocolate.
This is, or rather was, the chocolate burfi I indulged in on my last full day in India. Burfi is a sweet typically made with ground nuts, sugar and milk product (condensed, powdered). It is a sort of Indian fudge.
This is a ‘chocobite’ which was purchased at a renowned sweet shop in Jaipur, the pink city. Both bits of chocolate I had, bore little resemblance to the rich bites I’m accustomed to eating. Generally, the chocolate I encountered was such in name and appearance only. Apart from local manifestations, you can also get popular Western brands such as the Dairy Milk line.
While one can easily satisfy their sweet tooth in India with an assortment of widely available mithai (sweets), the chocoholic may have a less than stellar experience of chocolate in India.
Are you a chocoholic who’s been to India and has had a memorable chocolate experience? If so, do tell…
Bread, on the other hand, is a different and more delightful matter. In India, wheat is one of the staple grains with India in the top ten list of the world’s producers. Different varieties of wheat are primarily cultivated in the northern states.
Indian bread is typically round flatbread that is often unleavened. It comes in many varieties and can either be plain, stuffed and/or deep-fried. It is a popular accompaniment with every meal.
naan – the white bread of India; made with all-purpose flour and comes plain, buttered, with garlic or cheese.
roti/chapati – the brown bread of India. It is made with atta flour, a softly textured whole wheat. It can be cooked on a tawa (flat cast iron pan) or in a tandoor (clay oven). Variations exist depending on the flour used (eg missi roti is made with chickpea flour).
puri/poori – a puffy fried dough
dosa – an Indian crepe often stuffed with potato and eaten for breakfast in the south, ie masala dosa.
paratha – a fried version of roti. Can be plain or stuffed. (Eg aloo paratha is stuffed with cauliflower.)
papad – akin to a cracker, it is thin, crispy and seasoned.
that in order to be considered a true baguette, the bread
*must only contain these 4 ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water and yeast
*must be sold in the bakery where they are made
*must never be frozen
This décret pain law was rolled out on September 13th 1993 with the aim of protecting the quality of one of France’s most famous breads: the baguette. Further to this, a baguette is characteristically long and thin with straight line slashes down its middle. It should also ascribe to a certain length (about 55cm) and weight (about 300g).
Bread in France is serious business. It is a cultural institution that perhaps has helped to shape the France we know today.
fraternité, liberté, egalité
The politics of bread played a significant roll role in the French Revolution. Crop failure and food scarcity led to an increase in the price of bread. This apparently led to the infamous statement “let them eat cake” (actually brioche) which many historians believe was never uttered by the Kim Kardashian of her time, Marie Antoinette. The peasants revolted, in part, because of bread prices. Even in the 1700s, food security was a huge issue.
Regardless of who said it, or if it was even said, the sentiment speaks to the social issues during that time: the inequality of the classes, economics and privilege.
There are number of other food stuffs that are protected by law. To carry the champagne label, champagne wine can only be made in the Champagne region in France; otherwise it is just sparkling wine. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese must contain rennet so any vegetarian ‘parmesan’ cheeses are just imitation. Rennet is the stomach lining from ruminants. It is needed for the coagulation (‘solidification’) of milk in the cheese making process.
It is becoming more common to see variations of the baguette: mini ones, whole wheat ones, baguette ‘crackers’, froze and store-bought, homemade, etc. but just know these items are breaking the decree. The revolution in bread continues. Vive la revolution!