Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Festivity in the air

Festivity is in the air and festivity in India usually means great food made with the finest ingredients. Diwali, especially is celebrated with the finest foods and ingredients, of which nuts and dried fruits play a large part. Which is why Nature’s Basket is showcasing a beautiful range of dried fruits, berries and nuts from all over the world this month.



Dry fruits and nuts are a household mainstay during Diwali. But that doesn’t always have to be badam, kaju, and pista. This year instead of gifting the usual dry fruit hampers, why not gift exotic nuts and dry fruits from around the world. Choose from pecans, macadamias, pine nuts, hazel nuts, cranberries, prunes, dry figs and a wide selection of candied tropical fruits to add variety and colour to your Diwali hampers. 



Chocolate and hazelnut stuffed Turkish dates or chocolate-coated nuts also make for delicious and lavish Diwali giftables. They capture a good twist of nutrition with indulgence. They’re so delicious that even children who don’t like dry fruits will find these a treat!


A lovely dry fruit platter is adorned with colourful gems of dried blueberries, cranberries, Turkish dates and stuffed with chocolate and hazel nuts. You can also add a selection of chocolate-coated dry fruits and nuts. It is sure to please friends.


Apart from being served as a delicious snack, exotic nuts and dried berries like pine nuts, cranberries, blueberries and apricots can be incorporated very well into modern and creative Diwali sweets. Here are a few ideas:


Give the traditional  kheer a fabulous twist by layering it with peaches in syrup and scattering toasted pine nuts over it. Phirni lends itself very well to Indian trifles. For elegant and colourful plated desserts at Diwali dinner parties, layer phirni with dried or frozen cranberries, blueberries and apricots, in shot glasses and top them with crushed chikki or pistachio flakes. 
Pick your favourite chocolate and surprise your family with your ingenuity this Diwali. Try making dry fruit and chocolate samosas, or pistachio white chocolate and orange Milli Fuilli. Dried and frozen berries add bursts of colour and flavour to desserts. 
Try them over ice cream, in muffins and pancakes or macerate some with a little sugar and swirl into some vanilla ice cream. Serve in shot glasses for Diwali card parties! 





Looking for something more modern for gifting or serving guests this Diwali? Try white chocolate and mixed berry cookies. They are a delicious combination of the subtlety of white chocolate with the sweet tang of dried berries, and look pretty as a picture with little blueberries and cranberries dotted in the white cookie. Diced apricots are also a lovely addition to this cookie. Add a kiss of spice such as Saffron or Chai spice for an Indian twist, and they will be perfect for the festive season!




There are a variety of new and exotic dried fruits and nuts that can fit elegantly into the festivities of Diwali, meeting both tradition as well as fresh, modern tastes. This is the perfect time of the year to enjoy nuts and dry fruits on their own, in innovative recipes, or as gifts.




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