Such a fun weekend it was, at the Phoenix Market City, Chennai between the 10th & 11th September. It marked the entry of ‘Farmer’s Markets’ in Chennai. The Farmer’s Markets have been making their mark in India since 2012 when Karen Anand along with Sasha Anand and Falguni Gokhale launched the first one in Pune. These have been put up in association with Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) and we were representing them there that evening. Stalls all around showcasing a spectrum of restaurants, patisseries, chef demonstrations, ethnic artefacts and other gourmet produce were a treat. The many entrepreneurs between the ages of 6 and 60 definitely were GREAT inspirations! Spread around the courtyard at Phoenix Market City, Velachery, this event housed about 30-40 stalls. This is said to be one of her small-scale ‘Markets’! The hustle and bustle within these stalls made it an extremely lively evening, capturing the essence of ‘Markets’ beautifully.
Here are the stalls that had an impact on us and we thought were absolute standouts in their field. With Diwali round the corner, we’re sure these artisanal craftsmen are going to be of GREAT help to you!
As the name suggests, they have a range of healthy food mixes and ready-to-eats. Staple tiffin varieties like Pongal, Dosa and Dhokla have been prepared as healthy organic mixes and some of these were showcased after preparation at the stall. The Dhokla and Dosas were delicious! Almost as if it were made regularly at home. The Tomato Onion Paste and Vathakozhambu paste were our favourites from the ready-to-eat sides they served with these. They also have a range of cookies and crackers which were very fresh and yum!
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/superbhealthfoods/
- Just Baked & Jar Code
Based out of C.I.T. Nagar in Chennai, this brand by Minal serves yummy baked goodies and bottled condiments including hummus and other such delicious sides. We tried their Banana Walnut Bread and loved how light and fresh it was.
This is THE place to get cookies for your children. This store specialises in Muesli varieties. This healthy option is made delicious with various flavour combinations like Cocoa Nibs & Raisins and Cranberry & Almonds. They also have a line of ‘Fable Cookies’ which is a box of yummy, soft cookies in the shape of a favourite Panchatantra character. At that stall, they had the stories ‘Elephant and the Mice’ (Butter Cookies) and the ‘Crocodile and the Monkey’ (Coconut Cookies). Each box would come with the story as well! Talk about some themed party snacks, huh? These are also sold online on Amazon.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MonsoonHarvest/
This was the most elaborately explained stall that evening. The dedication Mr. Raj Barooah showed towards the artisanal teas was simply amazing. He explained that since tea has been made a commercial commodity for the past many years, the only type of tea that the general population is exposed to is the CTC Black Tea (Cut, Tear, Curl). But Teas have a lot more to it than the commercialised product that is displayed on the shelves of grocery shops. Rujani Tea, an e-commerce platform, has ensured that crafted teas reach those who love this beverage. Teas are grown in-house on their the estate in Assam and shipped. Black, Green and White teas are what they deal in right now. They celebrate the fact that each type of tea has it’s own story, not just CTC.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Rujanitea
Mason & Co. are an Auroville based artisanal chocolate craftsmen. Spread across the nation, they produce vegan, healthy and cocoa-rich chocolates that are an experience as such when ingested. They stated that actual dark chocolate should be consumed by it melting rather than being bitten into. It had delicious citrusy undertones and was as pure as the cocoa could get!
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/masonchocolate/
This stall was adjoining the Mason & Co. stall and was just as creative and authentic. They have about 15 varieties of jam, few preserves, chutneys, and jellies. While it was delicious when consumed just as is, it went SO well with the crackers! The Wild Blackberry and Apricot was my favourite jam flavours. The tomato chutney was also very unique and flavour packed. The Apple and Cinnamon jelly tasted brilliant! It’s consistency was such that it could even be used as a tart filling. When they say “fruit loaded” they mean it! Loved the freshness and generosity of fruit in these handmade Himachal based bottled goodness.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bhuirajams/
Quite familiar with this brand, we were happy to crash with some comfort food after the exhausting walk through the market. This place is known for their happy twists to Asian food. We tried a few of their Momos from their new menu. Check out our review for the same here. They are soon opening up their new branch at Velachery! *rubs hands in glee*
This is another known brand that’s doing it’s rounds in the city. Based outta Mumbai, they offer a RANGE of cold pressed juices. This mean that the bottle packs in all the nutrients of the ingredients without any adulteration. Each bottle is an energy boost, sure! The freshness and burst of fruits/greens in these are brilliant. Slightly expensive though. It’d be a great addition to your pantry if you’re on a detox/diet plan. They have cold pressed juices for ‘Glow’, ‘Life’, ‘Energize’ etc.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RAWpressery/
This was another unique stall of the bunch. They showcased ‘Coconut Palm Sugar’ which was 100% pure extracted sugar from coconut! It didn’t have the taste of coconut for it to be an overdose but had just the right amounts of sweetness. Highly organic, these would do great to prepare sweets for those health-conscious folks out there! They had displayed some Coconut Barfis which were authentic and delicious yet healthy.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/farmmadefoodproducts/
Best for last, stall-wise too! This stall which specialises in cheese was run by a group of ladies and 2 little girls pepped up and in full swing to get their product to those awed customers. There were 5-6 types of cheese on display then. Absolute favourites were the ‘Ode to Chennai’ (gunpowder dusted cheese blocks), and the flavoured mozzarella. They also have Halloumi, Burrata, Feta and other such cheese varieties! The range of cheese and it’s diversity is brilliantly executed for Chennai’s weather and conditions by these people from Mylapore. They rightfully won the ‘Best Taste’ awards from Karen Anand for their stall the Farmer’s Market!
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kasechennai
There were quite a few other known restaurant stalls out there; Batlivala & Khanaboy, Westin, Brownie Heaven etc. We were also introduced to Mrs. Chandri Bhat, a veteran food connoisseur and culinary expert, who was there in the Market to showcase her new book called the ‘Kitchen Nostalgia’. This book was created for a good cause where the proceeds are going to the National Association for the Blind (NAB). The descript book with 50 recipes is a collection of her first-hand experience with these traditional recipes and little tricks to master them. Priced at Rs 699, this book is a must-buy for those looking to prepare and preserve authentic recipes that have come down many generations.
The first Farmer’s Market at Chennai, this gourmet experience sure was one of a kind and is going to be the most expected celebration to experience such fine craftsmen for the days to come! Karen Anand did an amazing job in organising such a fun, lively and spectacular Market and we sure do hope there’s many more for Chennai to experience!