The delicate and delicious sweets rolling out of Rekha Mehr’s boutique bakery Pistachio Rose (@pistachio_rose) will be showcased throughout the FBC12 Market Afternoon Tea in the Ragged Canteen on all three days. From warm naan bread with a chai-spiced chocolate dipping sauce to her signature pistachio & cardamom cake, we warn you to arrive prepared for a true taste of flavours.
What can FBC12 attendees expect from Pistachio Rose at the event?
A High Chai showcasing British-Raj splendour. A sweet selection of edibles portraying heritage Indian flavours in elegant baking e.g. dark chocolate tart infused with chai or pistachio, rose & cardamom madeleines. Each day will have showcase a different flavoured cakes, biscuit, bread and pastry so bloggers can be sure to taste something deliciously new every afternoon.
So, just who are Pistachio Rose?
Well at the moment it’s me! I grew up in Berkshire and now live in Fulham. My dad is from Gujarat so I grew up eating a lot of spice and sugar from an early age (some of my first solids were curry & treacle tart!) which has pretty much driven my eating obsession throughout my life.
What inspired you to start Pistachio Rose?
There’s a huge focus on Indian food in this country but very little focus on sweets & desserts and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to unveil the flavours sitting under the sea of ghee and sugar in many traditional sweets to prove that Indian flavours can be delicate and elegant.
And where do you see it going?
The aim is to establish a luxury retail brand selling a range of bakery products. I’d like to see them in all the food halls as well as supplying some of the great Indian eateries in London. I’d also like to partner with the right events which highlight excellent quality food as well as modern Indian culture and eventually open my own Chai Bar also selling Indian teas & coffees.
Tell us a bit about food from Pistachio Rose?
To summarise, it’s an Indian inspired bakery specialising in the fusion of hertiage Indian flavours with elegant baking. The range includes delicate cakes, crumbling biscuits, fluffy breads and elegant pastries.
I’ve taken inspiration from Indian sweets & desserts i’ve eaten growing up so my business name and signature flavour – Pistachio Rose – is actually taken from my favovurite Indian dessert called Gulab Jamun. It was created during the 1500’s and is a dense cardamom-spiced sponge soaked in rose syrup and sprinkled with pistachios. I lifted out those flavours & put them in a lighter sponge so that it retained elements of texture but all of the taste and a lot less sugar & oil.
A great talking point is my chocolate naan – a sweet naan which commands dropped jaws as people question if they’ve read correctly & then smile! I just say it’s like a chocolate brioche from a different continent.
The showstoppers are always the spiced chocolate tarts – dark chocolate infused with my own blend of chai spices, a salted milk chocolate with chilli & nutmeg (my personal favourite as you have the salt, sugar & warm spice dancing around on your palate & driving you for more) and a creamy white chocolate infused with a blend of sweet fennel & anise.
What does it mean to you?
This is my full time business and i’ve given up a salary & stable job to persue it so to say it means everything sounds incredibly cheesey, but it actually is my life! There is nothing else i would rather be doing right now & that including lying on the beach somewhere because i feel it’s my mission to make this succeed.
What makes the food you serve so special?
They all contain a little piece of me, my family history and Indian heritage in either flavour e.g. chai or format e.g. naan. I’ve created all of the recipes myself as I wanted there to be a clear difference between myself and other exquisite cakes & pastries in the marketplace. This will be the first luxury retail brand that sells Indian sweets in this way.
After Pistachio Rose, what other food stalls out there do you think are really good?
As mentioned i am driven by sugar & spice so forgive me for seeming a little biased but my street food heros are Horn Ok Please (their samosa chaat with chilli pickle & home-made date & imli chutney), Taste of Tawa (their coconut chilli chicken), Bhangra Buger (their spiced lamb burger wrap with chilli pickle, sweet chutney & natural yoghurt), Exotic Meat Company (outstanding quality meat sourced from the farm & cooked to perfection with home-made sauces, my favourite so far being bison wrap with a chilli-tequila sauce…stunning)
I’m very picky with the sweet stuff but my favourite by far is Sweet Tooth Factory who make everything themselves & have even convinced me to like cheesecake – their salted caramel cheese cake does it for me. Their mini banoffee desserts with a toasted pecan base is also delicious.
If you could only eat one dish, which would it be?
My mum’s spicy keema with home made chapatti.
Do you have a food blog?
Yes but i dont update it as much as a i should & tend to rely on twitter/facbook instead. It’s www.mypistachiorose.blogspot.
Who is your favourite food blogger?
I’m not very good at keeping up on my reading but i but i recently discovered rocket and squash and love the diversity of content as well as Ed’s writing style.
What effect are food bloggers having on the country’s food scene?
I think they are showing people that you dont have to be a celebrity or a trained chef to cook. It’s about taking great ingredients and spending your time creating something delicious. It also completely rubbishes any thoughts of eating being a necessary function and celebrates that it’s something to be savoured, shared & explored.
What’s your favourite new ‘trend’ on the British food scene at the moment?
I love that fact that people are going back to being food specialists – one guys making great ribs, another cooking juicy mussels, another doing the perfect jerk chicken. It promotes excellence of preparation, flavour & theatre of presentation which all adds to the eating experience.
Where can we find you?
At Fortnum & Mason as well as various markets – check my events page for the lastest location –www.pistachiorose.co.uk. Upcoming events are the Cake & Bake Show 22-23 September, Real Bread Festival 5-7 October.
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