The last week of January was a veritable delight on many accounts for me. A date with the literati from India and abroad in a 5 day festival that celebrates the written word in it’s many incarnations. I had many moments of connection and highs in this ever popular festival attended by a quarter of a million people! This Jaipur Literature Festival was particularly memorable for 3 notable sessions for me.
As often happens at this festival, you don’t really plan to attend and then you wander about checking the different venues and come across a real gem. Cat Weatherill, a story-teller par excellence was such a session for me. She sang and enthralled us with her art. You can watch the session entitled Wild Magic. Bettany Hughes, a British historian and author wrote The Hemlock Cup about a man who himself abhorred the written word, Socrates. Apparently, we think how we do because of Socrates. It was a heartfelt and delightful session filled with history, humour and hope! Finally, I enjoyed listening to the rustic Sufi music of this sprightly 78 year old singer from Pakistan – Sain Zahoor rendering Bulleh Shah at his poetic best.
Those who follow my blog or my Facebook posts, know my ever-present quest for clean food and I found it to my surprised delight at the vegetarian Anokhi Cafe. Not only does Anokhi make amazing organic cotton clothes with traditional Indian block prints but they also know how to make a salad!
I had visited Anokhi Cafe in the past but did not remember the food to be so good as it was this time. Seeing the variety of green leaves piled high in their display section sent me into raptures of delight. Was I, I wondered, turning into a cow? Hmmmmooooo!
Imagine my complete surprise when I actually saw some foods specifically marked as Vg for Vegan. Then I was told most of their food especially the greens are organic from their own farm? Had I died and gone to organic vegan culinary heaven? The helpful manager Melissa remarked that in case I wanted anything else, they would be happy to hold the cheese, butter or cream for me. It was love at first sight! The only thing missing though was a vegan dessert. I requested Melissa to create one for us and she promised to do so.
I went back every single day to eat my lunch at Anokhi Cafe and avoid the crush of the crowds at the festival for a couple of hours. My favourites on their menu are the plain salad with a tamarind vinaigrette, green salad with soy roasted seeds, green bean salad in coconut sauce topped with peanuts and the falafel platter. It is an oasis of clean organic food in the middle of a vast dessert filled with fried to death foods in the pink city. I even considered a monthly trip to Jaipur just to eat at Anokhi cafe, but for that they would have to make me some vegan dessert!
Five days well spent with wholesome feeding for the mind and body! I highly recommend both, the Jaipur Litt. Fest and Anokhi Cafe if you are ever in this city. For more pictures and to follow my posts on Facebook, please join my page.
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