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Time, Tradition, and Taste: Redefining Luxury in Indian Cuisine.

Rini Singhi explores the meticulous detail shaping both our rich culinary heritage and the essence of Indian luxury in food.


Image: Copyright © Kalkandu, 2023, (branded by LOCAL)


When one thinks about food and luxury, two vivid pictures come to mind — a gourmet 10-course tasting menu, put together with microscopic detailing to showcase that one is eating art, not mere food for sustenance. On the other hand, there's the meticulously hand-picked produce, plucked fresh from the fringes of the hinterland. This state-of-the-art product, carefully processed, becomes a delicacy reserved for special occasions.


"Luxury Indian sweets are taking centre stage. Brands like Khoya, Bombay Sweet Shop, and Gur Chini are revolutionizing mithai with a focus on both exquisite taste and stunning presentation."


When it comes to India, a certain attention to detail is the common thread that ties luxury with food. Picture the quintessential mithai box, its exterior embellished with the red bandhani. Inside lies a mystery — a hidden treasure of rich and decadent sweets waiting to be discovered. Luxury Indian sweets are taking centre stage. Brands like Khoya, Bombay Sweet Shop, and Gur Chini are revolutionizing mithai with a focus on both exquisite taste and stunning presentation.


The olive-colored Khoya chikki box boasts a simple, clean design that oozes unexpected opulence. Each bite-sized Khoya chikki comes individually wrapped in gold, mirroring the elegance of After-Eight chocolates. Meanwhile, Gur Chini, a brand known for its progressive approach, offers healthy alternatives with stevia and alternative flours/sweeteners. Imagine a whole collection of exquisite mithai celebrating India's beloved mango!


Bombay Sweet Shop is another brand whose packaging replicates the colourful carton of the mango boxes that decorated homes at the onset of summer.


With the changing seasons, the definition of luxury in food is evolving as well. Take coffee, for example. India, the world's 7th largest coffee producer, is embracing specialty coffee, a far cry from the instant brews of the past. Blue Tokai's summer blend with hints of cinnamon, dates, and chocolate, Subko's Nepal range, or Araku's artisanal offerings are a revelation for any coffee connoisseur. This shift towards specialty coffee opens new perspectives on the nuances of growing, processing, and packaging — a world away from the quick 2-minute coffee rituals. Now, savouring the slow brew is a luxury in itself.


"Luxury in food isn't just about price or production time; it's deeply personal."


Time, as we understand now, is an important component of luxury in food. Think of Sunday afternoon brunches with slow-cooked meat, Chole, Biryani or any dish that was laborious to cook during the week day. Or, bottles of aged-whiskey whose value increases with each passing year. Or, the oldest achar made by your grandmother, it always tastes better with age.


Luxury in food isn't just about price or production time; it's deeply personal. While exquisite ingredients and meticulous preparation define luxury for some, the simple pleasures can redefine it entirely. A perfectly ripe summer mango, a mother's home-cooked meal, or even the extra curry leaves from your friendly Sabjiwala — these can all become unexpected tokens of luxury. About the author: Rini Singhi crafts strategy frameworks for interdisciplinary communication. With a background in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies (RISD), she connects design, communication, and communities for maximum impact. She is a marketing lead at LOCAL.

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