Mandavi Kanchan’s Portuguese-Goanese Recipes Keep Culture Relevant Through Food – The New Indian Express

Express press service

Last Christmas, Mandavi Kanchan, Creative Director and Founder of Bruijn, a luxury brand of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate, sent a Christmas tree made entirely of nuts as New Year’s greetings to her loved ones . This act set off an interesting chain of events. One of her close Christian friends returned the favor by sharing a classic Goan date roll made using an age-old recipe. Kanchan says, “This exchange led to the discovery of a family heritage with deep cultural roots that shape generational history and tradition. Covering the food trails and stories has become our creative outlet to nurture a healthy discourse on the cultural diversity that is indispensable in today’s times. Documenting these stories also highlights the magical ability of food to connect and impact people, memories, cultures and history.

So, to celebrate Mother’s Day, her team from Bruijn documented a three-generation story of the women of this Portuguese-Goanese family to perpetuate their tradition and legacy through food. They recorded her friend Pia Desai cooking the Date Rolls with her mother Estelle Pereira Desai and her daughters while discussing their food and culture. A presentation documenting the act was made with images, stories and quotes and circulated on social media and among Bruijn’s network of customers.

(Clockwise from top) Haft Mewa, dates stuffed with goat cheese, Maria Edveges
Home cooking Portuguese Goan date rolls

“We told the story of Maria Edveges who cooked up a storm at the famous Ritz hotel that she and her husband Geraldo Pereira owned in Ahmedabad, a city that adopted these natives from Goa. In keeping with Christmas tradition, Maria cooked these delicious date rolls which we then recreated with Bruijn dates, reviving the nostalgia and giving more depth and meaning to our own product (Medjool dates grown in India). It is fascinating to understand how the Portuguese discovered a typical Arab fruit and globalized it within its colonies while at the microscopic level, how the desert date shaped the history of an entire family,” says Kanchan.

Describing herself as a third culture child (she is an Indian who grew up in the Gulf region), Kanchan is a fitting ambassador for the preservation of family histories as a living assemblage of memories, culture and food. . That’s why she took on the responsibility of presenting stories from other cultures with the required sensitivity.

An upcoming project will revolve around a new selection offered on their menu, the Ranginak, which is an inherently Persian delicacy. Currently seeking families who identify as Indo-Persian Sikhs with ties to Iran, Kanchan hopes to capture Iran’s culinary influences on this community, while creating a story around the history of the most migrant families, as a relevant backdrop.

The love of food goes beyond religion and culture, and this is exactly the principle on which Bruijn bases his projects. On the occasion of Eid a few months ago, they teamed up with the Open Art Project to present sweets, adapted from Mughal and Persian cuisines, typically served on this special occasion. The selection included recipes for dates stuffed with goat cheese, Haft Mewa (Afghan dried fruit and nut compote), Phirni (rice pudding) and Sharbat-e-Zaffran (Middle Eastern refreshing drink), which makes it easier for those who wish to recreate a traditional Eid Menu. As a company focused on the culturally constraining nature of food, Bruijn has its heart in the right place.

RECENT PROJECTS
✥ Bruijn has partnered with the Open Art Project to showcase traditional recipes served at Eid, including Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates, Haft Mewa, Phirni and Sharbat-e-Zaffran.
✥ Mother’s Day project featuring three generations of the Goan family of Maria Edveges cooking their famous Portuguese date rolls using Medjool dates grown in India.
✥ Currently capturing the culinary tradition of an Indo-Persian Sikh family with regards to the Persian delicacy Ranginak.

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