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1. Congratulations on your new products! Can you please tell us the story behind each?
Our two new products are the “Spiced Raisin Marmalata with ras al hanout & smoked cinnamon” and “Lemon-Sultana Marmalata with caraway & saffron”. The inspiration for these come from long stints in Istanbul and eating the dried fruit preserves of Turkey and Central Asia. While I enjoyed them, I also found that they were simply sweet without the nuance of spices that you often find in Indo-Persian murabbas or preserves. So, I found a way to introduce indigenous spice blends and was inspired by the blends I find at La Boîte. Each one takes me on an journey that is at once familiar and decidedly unique. It is this collaboration that you will find contained in our jars.
2. Please share a bit about Le Bon Magot and your philosophy.
We are always asked why we chose a French name for a company that is proud of its domestically sourcing ingredients and produced locally in the USA. “Magot” is one of those French words that has multiple meanings and no specific one in English, which is why I thought it was particularly appropriate for our fledgling business. Our favourite interpretation is the “hidden treasure”: not only do we want our customers to see our products as their pantry treasures, but we are a small brand seeking to unveil often hidden flavours and emerge from anonymity. So, “Magot” seemed appropriate….
Our philosophy is simple – to produce clean and delicious condiments, pickles, preserves of all types using great quality produce and innovative spices. These achaars andmurabbas are intrinsic to Indo-Pakistani and Middle Eastern kitchens. Searing hot climates and challenges with refrigeration made food preservation an important part of a kitchen’s role in the family household. Our family was no different. We have an extensive heritage of recipes using different preservation techniques – sun drying, salt curing, confit and brine immersion to name a few. Our goal was to share these and also demonstrate that, when updated, they have multiple applications: paired with cheeses and charcuterie, used as sauces or ingredients in a more complex preparation. Have we tweaked the recipes to appeal to a broader palate? Yes. But, in doing so, we have also endeavoured to retain their authenticity of taste, texture and colour.
3. What's a simple recipe using one of your products that you'd like to share?
Yes – since it is the holiday season, I would be delighted to share with you 2 very simple cookie recipes – “Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Spiced Raisin Cookies with Treacle and Toasted Walnuts” and “Caraway-Spiked Linzer Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Sultana Marmalata“.
4. What's a current food trend that makes you happy?
I come from a Mother and Grandmother, who are strong classicists for any cuisine they endeavour! I do not prescribe to trend or whimsy, but I do experiment – the degree to which is hotly debated in our house. The long term trend that I am seeing, which I fully embrace and welcome is the spotlight on African, Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. The food of my culture(s) is being elevated by a team of food industry technicians who not only inspire me daily in the way I cook for my family/friends but also in how my own culinary baggage has shaped me and my interactions with the world. They are a group of Israeli and Turkish chefs, who come from a rich multi-ethnic heritage, have lived and travelled to different parts of the world and have taken these influences embedding them into the foods and restaurants they create. The likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, Lior Lev Sercarz, Michael Solomonov, Alon Shaya, Kaan Sakarya and Aylin Yazıcıoğlu are not only masters of culinary technique (their kind of simplicity demands absolute command of culinary alchemy and technique), but there is an honesty in their food, which takes you back to their Grandmother’s kitchens and connects you with your own history….
5. Any new projects or products on the horizon?
Also on the horizon:
Le Bon Magot products are available at fine food stores in NYC and surrounding areas, as well as online at their website.
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