Imported cheeses are now available at your neighbourhood store.
Fresh rosemary can add incomparable flavour to pasta. Without fresh yeast your homemade French bread may fall flat. Monterey jack cheese makes a quesadilla truly Mexican. What is tiramisu without mascarpone cheese? You get the drift.
If you’re the kind of person who spends more time shopping in Eataly and Whole Foods than in malls and boutiques on a vacation, you’ll love this guide to buying gourmet ingredients in Mumbai. Thankfully the city is stocking high quality international foods at smaller neighbourhood stores, signalling that the food industry has indeed picked up on our cues. Like fine aged balsamic vinegar, it will only get better.
For imported cheeses in Bandra, Santé’s smaller store environment allows personal attention and service from the staff. Ask what’s fresh for the best pick of the day. It is best for the hard-to-find imported cheeses like smoked cheddar, Spanish manchego (which goes perfectly with fig jam) and truly Italian parmigiano reggiano.
Closer to home, Kodai Cheese is producing an impressive collection like parmesan, pepper cheddar, red chilly cheddar, smoked edam cheese. The spicy cheddar is perfect for a grilled cheese or a quesadilla; I’ve used the parmesan in homemade ravioli with excellent results.
Go Cheese produces several types of cheddar, Monterey jack as well as cream cheese under the brand Go Almette. A number of locally produced brands now make soft Italian cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta and mascarpone. Look for these cheeses by La Cremella, Impero and Mooz that work well in cooking and baking. The above brands are available at grocery and specialty stores such as Roman Stores on Altamount Road,Rajat Stores on Napean Sea Road, The Health Shopon Peddar Road, Premsons and Hypercity Goregaon.
Balsamic, Red and White Wine Vinegars
A good balsamic vinegar can up the zest quotient in any salad and makes the perfect accompaniment to crusty bread and olive oil. I love using a little bit of white or red wine vinegar for marinades and soups particularly. Apple cider vinegar is another 'superfood' that can be used similarly. Get your stock from NaturallyYours.in that makes them locally with Himalayan apples. Westside at Kala Ghoda, Roman Store at Seven Bungalows, Andheri (W), Regal Plus in Bandra stock them all.
For all your exotic nut needs, whether your recipe calls for hazelnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts, get them at Roman Stores in Seven Bungalows, Andheri (W), Regal Plus in Bandra, Arife Lamoulde and Raman Vithal. Arife Lamoulde and Raman Vithal both have outlets across the city.
Trikaya’s fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme add immense flavour and aroma to bruschetta, pastas, soups, stews, sautéed vegetables and even a cheese platter. Find them at stalls in vegetable markets across the city in Dadar, Pali Naka in Bandra, Versova and Tardeo.
If you prefer to grow your own plants, you can find fresh herbs like rosemary and basil at Floraland in Bandra after the monsoons recede (September onwards). Fabfurnish.com sells rosemary and oregano plants online as well, delivered directly to your home.
While we have a bounty of strawberries in the winter, blueberries and raspberries are unfortunately not native to India. Find these fresh berries at Breach Candy’s famous fruitwala across Premsons. In Bandra, head to Pali Market where Lallu vegetables stocks fresh blueberries and raspberries. Regal Plus and Santé in Bandra also stock frozen berries that work perfectly well in a compote or coulis atop panna cotta, muffins and cakes.
Making your own puff pastry can be too time consuming. Cut out that step in making your favourite sweet and savoury tarts, palmiers or cheese straws by picking up readymade puff pastry at City Bakery in Worli, Sante or Regal Plus in Bandra.
Even in a basic buttercream frosting, salted caramel sauce or whipped cream pie topping, it’s important to use whipping cream with a high fat percentage. Amul’s cartons unfortunately don’t cut it. Instead, pick up some fresh cream from your local dairy (I use Parsi Dairy) or from Neelam Foodland.
Bourbon vanilla extract
Sprig, a gourmet foods website, sells a beautiful bourbon vanilla extract, natural food colourings and an assortment of other spices on their website as well. I often resort to buying online and having things delivered home if it’s just one or two things I need.
Callebaut dark chocolate chips
Arife Lamoulde is a home baker’s haven. They have locations in Borivali, Dombivali, Bandra West, Andheri (W), Crawford Market and more. The biggest draw for me? Callebaut dark chocolate chips that are perfect in cookies, brownies, chocolate ganache, pancakes or even a quick homemade chocolate bark to satisfy a midnight craving (been there, done that).
They also stock everything from equipment like cake tins, silicon moulds, spatulas and culinary torches to ingredients like high-quality food colouring and cocoa powder.
Baking that basic loaf or a laadi pav at home is much easier now. If you prefer fresh yeast to active dry yeast, the safe bet is Arife (both in Andheri and Crawford market). Alternatively you can pick it up from Continental Stores and Empire Stores, both at Crawford Market.
In alphabetical order:
Arife Lamoulde, Crawford Market & Opp Andheri (W) railway station
Contact - 9769459359, 022-67102542 (Andheri W)
Breach Candy Patil & Gupta Fruit Stall, Breach Candy
Contact - 9122 23675380, 9821537702
City Bakery, Worli
Contact - 022-2493 1215
Continental Stores, Crawford Market
Contact - 022-23437452, 23442560, 23412850
Floraland Nursery, Pali Naka, Bandra
Contact - 022-26484409/9820094628
Contact - 18002097172
Lallu Vegetables, Pali Market, Pali Mala Road, Bandra (W), Pali Hill
Shop Number 5, 6, 7, Plot Number 540, Tanna Kutir, Khar Danda Road, 1st & 17th, Khar-Danda Road
Contact - 022-26480507
Parsi Dairy Farm, 261-63, Princess Street
Contact - 022-22013634
Poona Farms, Dadar Parsi Colony
Contact - 022 2412 5276
Premsons, 63, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Breach Candy
Contact - 022-23636600
Rajat Stores, Shop #9, Rajat Apartment, Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill