By Hand From The Heart is a curated makers market event in Chennai, South India. UPCOMING EVENT: 24th – 25th, AUGUST, CROWNE PLAZA, CHENNAI
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born & brought up in Coorg and went to boarding school is Bangalore when I was 12 and studied in Bangalore since. After I finished college, I spent time pursuing my passions, cooking, studying Advanced embroidery & Garment Technology and learning & practicing yoga in Mysore. Post which I took up a Corporate job in Bangalore. 8 years ago I gave it up to pursue yoga full time and have been certified as a Yoga Acharya since. Old Mercara happened last year .
Do you come from a food background?
Other than enjoying eating good food like most people, my family owns a Coffee Plantation. We also grow Pepper, Oranges and Rice.
Why do you love to create and make? Or how do you find inspiration?
I’ve always loved cooking and entertaining that apart, My husband has a sweet tooth and we entertain a lot, Chennai being hot, I have always had squashes from Coorg, a batch of fresh ice cream in my freezer & Fig Compote in my fridge. Whenever someone would give me fruits from their farm, I would make homemade ice cream and send it back. All the products I am marketing are everything I have served and gifted my friends in Chennai all these years. There is still many a home in Coorg where elegant ladies serve tea in dainty China with lacy napkins & morsels of exquisite tasting cakes, tarts etc. and their larder full of seasonal fruits made into Preserves, Jams, Wines & Chutneys. Nostalgia for the Old way of life is what inspires me.
What’s your personal favorite flavor? Which is your proudest?
I love all the fresh fruit flavours . The mangoes we use in our Mango ice cream is pulped and sent from Coorg and has a distinct flavour, flavour of a fruit that is not artificially ripened but the Coorg Coffee Ice cream has been the most popular.
Tell us about your range & the new products’ what will you showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
At the By Hand From The Heart Farmers Market, Old Mercara offers- the fragrance of brewed coffee ,the syrupy goodness of honey, toasted bread with peanut butter ,an assortment of jams and jellies and Squashes. These products are not made from commercial Orchards but from random fruit trees that are planted around our bungalows. Hence they are not treated with artificial manure and pesticides associated with large scale agriculture. The Guavas, Leeches, Mangoes, Chicoos & Mulberries are harvested competing with birds, squirrels & bats. So these products have a unique taste of fruits ripening in the sun and on the branch. Picked with care, handled with delight and prepared with love. They are indeed wholesome unlike factory made products that declare “untouched by Hand” . Only products of fruits that are in season are available. Types of squashes – Kokum, Ginger lime and Grape Fruit. Jams – Mulberry, Guava, and Orange Marmalade. Pickles – Lime Sweet Pickle. Apart from this we have our Home made Ice creams – Made fresh to order , they are vegetarian and does not contain artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. We have 16 flavours as of now. Our Peanut butter made with Organic brown sugar is extremely popular and is our versatile Fig compote.
Can you describe your work place / space?
I work from home, it is extremely comfortable and convenient.
What is a typical day at Old Mercara like.
I also teach yoga so a typical day is spent juggling between my yoga classes and the Old Mercara kitchen. It is always busy but since both these jobs involve what I’m passionate about, it is exciting.
What is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
Though I thoroughly enjoying making these products, the most rewarding part is when customers come back to tell me they love the products and what exactly they liked about it. Making food I grew up on accessible to a wider range of people is what is fulfilling.
What’s the best thing about being a food artisan?
I think the way to anybody’s heart is through their stomach 🙂
Do you have any advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs?
Do what you are good at and do an honest job of it.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
Yes, we are working on a whole new range of flavours. From Dark Chocolate to Sorbets and more.
Shantala Medappa will present her freshly made range of preserves, spreads, squashes and ice-creams at the By Hand, From The Heart Artisan & Farmers Market | 7- 8 August 2015 | 10 a.m – 8 p.m | Hanu Reddy Residences, 41/19, Poes Garden, Teynampet, Chennai.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/791353340961431/