David Rocco, the King of "Indi-talian" fusion returns to India to take the road less traveled, visiting lesser-known locales to uncover some of the country’s hidden gems in a new season of Dolce India. He introduces us to the Portuguese influence in Goa, the Chinese community in Kolkata and the holiest of Punjabi traditions in Amritsar, and samples plenty of culinary delights along the way. Armed with his quanto basta or andaz (all by eye) approach to food, David cooks in kitchens across the country and breaks bread with the locals in hopes of demystifying Indian cuisine.
David is in Delhi, taking in all the sites and sounds (and street food)! After spending some time in the crazy crowds of Old Delhi, he decides to head for the greener pastures of ITC Grand Bharat, a golf resort and a peaceful oasis just outside the city. There, he plays a few holes with the help of a pro (and a knowledgeable caddie) and cooks up a storm on the outdoor grill with resident Chef Shiveet.
The Punjabi Way
David is in Amritsar — a city known for the warmth of its people and its amazing food — and he’s looking to explore all the different facets of Punjabi culture. He meets up with some locals, tries specialty Punjabi dishes and even learns to tie his own turban. He also spends time with two local families: one is vegetarian and the other loves their meat. Will David prefer the chicken or the chickpeas? We find out!
David finally fulfills his dream of visiting the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh gurudwara in the world. e langar inside the Golden Temple, where the community comes and cooks together, serves upwards of 100,000 people a day, and David gets a chance to experience the mania of the meal preparation firsthand. Later, David takes a local food tour to sample all of the local Punjabi delicacies.
Kolkata is home to India’s largest Chinese community, which has been in existence for over
200 years, and it goes without saying that they’ve had a huge impact on the local food scene. They’re fiercely proud of their Hakka-style cuisine — a fusion of Chinese and Indian — and David can’t wait to get his fill. He spends the day with a family that produces and sells their own Chinese sauce, eating their delicious momos and fried chicken.
Street Eats in Kolkata
The people of Kolkata are so intensely proud of their local cuisine, especially their epic street food. David meets up with Sneha, who takes him on a crazy food tour of the city: they ride the tram and do as the locals do on their quest to sample Kolkata’s best street eats, including the famous Kati roll. But will David be a fan of the super sweet desserts that the Bengalis love so much?
David explores Kolkata, a city so rich with culture and food tradition it’s hard to know where to start. He meets up with Myanck, a local chef from ITC, to check out the city’s fish market, but not before they indulge in a traditional 10-course Bengali breakfast! Later, they head into the kitchen with their fish-market finds and experiment with Kolkata’s two signature ingredients: mustard and fresh river fish, and everyone agrees the results are delicious.
The beautiful Chinese fishing nets are iconic tourist attractions along the coast of Kochi, and David discovers that the fishermen who operate them are just as intriguing. In a true cultural exchange, they teach David how to work the nets, and David cooks their catch of the day for them. Later, David visits the idyllic Kayal island retreat where the women workers catch fish using only their hands. While there, he cooks for the guests and samples the local drink of choice: toddy, a wine made from coconuts.
Beef in Fort Kochi
The historic region of Fort Kochi boasts an unexpected blend of cultural influences including Chinese, Indian, Portuguese and British. It also happens to be one of the only places in India where you can eat beef. David goes on a hunt for the good stuff, enjoying chili fried and dry-fried beef at one of the local shacks. He meets up with Chef Ajeeth of the famed Brunton Boatyard to continue the beef-themed adventure at his restaurant.
The Backwaters of Kerala
Kollam is a beautiful old seaport and city in Kerala known for its breathtaking backwaters: it’s so scenic that when you’re floating down the calm rivers through the dense foliage you’d think you were on the set of a movie. David gets a chance to explore life in this verdant region: he goes digging for clams, he takes a tour aboard a floating restaurant down the river, and he cooks for guests at a local hotel.
Beach and Jungle
David heads deep into the rainforest of Goa to visit the Savoi Plantations. Managed and run by the Shetye family, this plantation is over 200 years old and covers an area of 100 acres. Here, they grow all manners of Indian fruits including coconut and mango, as well as almost every spice under the sun! David cooks, eats and spends time with the Shetye family to learn all about organic farming and what it truly means to live off the land.
Goa boasts over 130 km of coastline; so it’s no surprise Goans do plenty of fishing. David heads out on a crab fishing expedition with some local fisherman in a nearby river. Afterwards, he meets up with an old friend, internationally renowned chef Cyrus Todiwala, who takes him to the local fish market to check out what’s on o er. Later, David gets a chance to explore Goa’s famous beach shack culture, and ventures into Calamari, a renowned seafood restaurant, to flex his culinary muscles.
Formerly a colony of Portugal, Goa still has a large Portuguese population, and nowhere is their influence more evident than in the local cuisine. Needless to say, David is on a mission to discover Goa’s unique blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures one dish at a time, including the oh so delectable Goan sausage. He also learns all about the Toddy Vinegar: made from coconut sap, it’s an important ingredient in Vindaloo and it gives many dishes their signature Goan touch.
Carnival In Goa
Like the Carnival festivals of Rio and Venice, Goa marks the days before lent with an all-out celebration: three full days of eating, drinking, and partying. David takes part in all of the festivities, including an appearance on a float in Panjim’s annual Carnival kick-off parade. He ends up spending time with some Italian expats and celebrating the holiday Venetian-style.