From arts to Monet’s table

From arts to Monet’s table

From arts to Monet’s table

Changa team prepares an original Tarte Tatin. The name of the desert coming from Tatin sisters, neighbor of Monet.

I have a passion for flowers. Not to admire their delicate beauty or inhale their heavenly scent.
I like to eat them!

For me Monet’s art has always been almost edible, beautiful to admire, but also deliciously tempting to savor the flavor of flowers. Whenever I saw a Monet painting, I imagined myself in Provence over a bowl of garden-picked green salad speckled with bright yellow and lavender-colored edible flowers, sipping a shiny rosé... It surely was on a lazy late summer afternoon with a good companion. Alas, that never happened, however I ate lots and lots of flowers, desperately added to my salads to bring a bit of sunshine to life in my down moments.

Life in Giverny

Claude Monet enjoyed daylight very much and went to bed very early at night. Therefore he never invited people for dinner, but enjoyed the company of friends for lunch. Being an early bird, his lunches started early too, at around 11:30, when his lovely kitchen was bright with sunny shades of summer sky, a playful combination of light yellow and blue. Actually when I first visited Monet’s house in Giverny on a late April afternoon, I almost felt the smell of a country chicken roasting in the cavernous oven and imagined Monet and his friends around the table, cheerfully chatting, and maybe raising a glass to one of Monet’s recently painted lilies. Among the regulars of Monet’s guests were Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Cezanne and Rodin, all enjoying idle moments around the delightful lunch table. Giverny was his home for half of his life, its heavenly nature shaping the art of Monet. Giverny gardens were not only a great inspiration for his paintings, but also the source of these wonderful tables, and all the delicious food served to guests that practically shaped the history of modern painting.

Monet was a great locavore, sourcing almost everything from his own gardens or from neighboring suppliers. Freshness was the taste of his food.

Lilies on the table

An attempt to recreate Monet’s table in Istanbul would only be a challenge fit for the Changa team. Tarık Bayazıt and Savaş Ertunç took on this challenge for the occasion of the Monet’s Garden exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum. They consulted many sources to understand fully Monet’s palette of taste. Two major sources were the books compiled by Claire Jones, the wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson, “The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet” and “The Taste of Giverny.” The food is inspired by the recipes in the books and every single detail on the table is well thought out, suiting the overall experience of the dishes, all executed with impeccable taste and nuanced subtlety. The pond at the footsteps of the stairs winding up to the museum has a few floating lilies, and the waiters take notes with lily pens, the napkins are folded into white water lilies, lily candles twinkle gently.
Visiting the exhibition and enjoying Monet’s palette of taste can be a delightful getaway from the hectic days of pre-Christmas and the New Year’s craze. Go and savor the exhibition, and take a sip of the delightfully flowery Isfahan, the signature cocktail of the Changa Bar. The faintly pink cocktail, garnished with fresh rose petals, inspired by the famous macaroon of Pierre Hermé, is heavenly, even exceeding the sensation of the original creation. Then proceed with the menu, enjoying the flowery pea soup, sunny asparagus, winey duck confit and the original Tart Tatin with a clever creation of Changa, rose-geranium ice cream. Changa’s food does not call out to you loudly, on the contrary, it is like a sweet whisper in your ear that you will lovingly remember forever. Just like the paintings of Monet.

Bite of the week

Fork of the Week: The Monet exhibition is set to be extended for another couple of weeks. The Monet-inspired menu is available only on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and it is essential to reserve ahead. (0212 323 0901) Pre-ordering the menu on other days, except Mondays, is also possible. 

Cork of the Week: If not in Istanbul, or not making it to the exhibition, open a bottle of sunny rosé instead to bring spring back to the darkest days of December. The winner of the recent Master Sommeliers Tasting was 2011 Terra Kalecik Karası Rosé with 87 points. The runners up, each with a good 84 points, were 2011 Terra Beyaz Kalecik Karası, 2011 Isinda, 2011 Lal and 2010 Anfora Trio.