Matcha with Marie is a special opinion column written by the creative director of Marie De La Roche herself. Named after her all-time favorite drink, matcha, the column consists of her most treasured meals and likings, as well as stories behind them. Imagine sitting down with your girlfriends to discuss all sorts of things, accompanied by your favorite cuppa of matcha.
For our very first Matcha with Marie column, she gave us a tell-all on her favorite foods from the cities she lived in along with its rich and historic culture and why loves each dish and drink dearly. We can guarantee you, it's mouthwatering!
There are many places I call home, each holding a big piece of my heart. Most of you don’t know this, but I grew up in 19 cities and have lived sometimes in the same countries 2 to 4 times.
And though, I loved them all as they have brought so many great people and experiences to my life, while I carry the heart of a nomad I do have a soft spot for some of them always struggling to defined when asked, where’s home?
Today I’d love to share a bit about my favorite as well as why I love them, perhaps even encourage you one day to try them and explore more places you might not have though you would like, as once you land they take your breath away due to the kindness and warmth of their people.
Mind you, they’re not the healthiest picks but will make your tummy (or your abs hehe) incredibly happy.
The thing I miss the most (besides family of course!) from Colombia is Buñuelos.
Colombia specializes in creating maize dough snacks and meals with different kinds of cheese and sugars (melaka and white); baked, fried or grilled, all fantastically delicious!
Buñuelos are eaten all year round as a breakfast food in colder parts of Colombia, but it is during Christmas that they reign all across the country.
In Colombia, we don’t have seasons but we do have great weather, sometimes you can drive from a cold city for two hours down the mountains and you will find a tropical paradise, giving us excuses to explore not only the country but also the different cuisines and the ever growing exotic flora and fauna.
Made of a signature mixture of cassava flour and cornstarch, its mixed with Costeño cheese (similar to halloumi in the Middle East) which means a cheese belonging to the coastal area, and then deep fried in small spheres. The cheese used adds an amazing dimension to the round fritter as it’s a salty strongly pressed cheese so not only does it add as signature flavor but also a really nice texture.
Buñuelos for me, mean visiting friends houses during the Novenas (the nine days before Christmas) and singing carols whilst sharing traditional food with people you cherish.
Fish Machboos or Majboos, Kuwait
A beautiful meal meant to be shared, it’s a national dish in Kuwait but enjoyed all across the gulf (just like other dishes, its geographical origin is strongly debated).
It became one of my favorite things due to all the care that goes into making it, its cooking depending on how slow cooked you want it (in the case of goat for example) and taking up to one day, always following a home’s traditional family recipe.
The dish itself will be a sumptuous rice with many delicious spices and a fish/chicken/goat cooked over it in its own juice.
The first time I had it I was incredibly excited to be trying something the household where I was took so much pride in making, even more fun when I found it I was supposed to eat with my hand.
You can eat it Bedouin style (which is really fun) from a communal big platter or in a regular dining room, meant (though you can sue cutlery) to be eaten and served with your right hand.
I was told by many of middle eastern friends that when they travel, if they don’t want to get sick, they will eat an onion from the place they are visiting as it’ll ward them against local flu and other viruses that are common where the onion grew. True or not, I saw my friends biting into onions like they were apples to prove their point. In Colombia, there is a similar belief (or old school medicine) for flu and fever in which if you don’t feel so well you can chop an onion in big chunks and place it in your socks directly under your feet for the night, by the morning you will feel a lot better though you might have to throw away the socks.
(Though many pronounce it Gaimat)
Delicious fried dough morsels covered in glistening syrup, the luqaimat made they’re way into my heart during my first ever Ramadan 16 years ago. They’re seasonal but you can always find a way to eat them other times of the year.
My attraction to them comes from my search for a Buñuelo alternative in other countries. A bite into them is glory, and theyre not terribly sweet, just the right touch as they’re drizzled in syrup vs leaving them in syrup to soak.
Aromatic coffee made with lightly roasted green coffee beans and cardamom, looks like green tea and tastes different to anything you have ever tried in the coffee spectrum.
My name might through many off as to my origin (French Colombian on my father’s side, Spanish German on my mother’s side) though I consider myself a proud Colombian and growing up we were a coffee household. What does that mean? We are strong coffee drinkers, and when you add to that mix the fact that we adore tea too you might say we are an energetic family.
I begged my parents to have black coffee for the first time when I was 5 desperately wanting to join them in the coffee routine that is part of most Colombian homes; coffee with breakfast and sometimes at 5pm with a snack or even as part of your evening meal in colder parts of Colombia. My father preferring French press coffee and my mother a typical Colombian coffee, strong in aroma but just right in flavor.
Eventually I was allowed to have a tiny cup a day when I was 6. This grand permission lasted a week only as I did something along the lines of just sitting next to the coffee maker and drinking when no one saw me, guess who didn’t sleep that week?
Back to the Qahwa - a Ramadan iconic drink - imagine as a caffeine addict the joy of trying a beverage known among medical students as the one thing that helps them stay up all night with one cup!
Usually drank with dates due to its strong flavor and served in tiny porcelain cups, it looks exactly just as a tea and during festive times families will send to friend’s homes their own carefully brewed batch for them to try.
There are other versions of middle eastern coffee I enjoy too, some are very thick and brewed in traditional kettles as well as others made with local spices like saffron and cloves, the possibilities are endless!
Matcha - My baby! I’m a matcha fiend and will search the earth for great matcha anything!
Well, everyone loves matcha or so I like to believe.
My love affair started watching anime when I was very young (pay close attention and you will see strong Japanese references in our work) and reading Japanese samurai novels. I kept wondering what is this exotic seemingly thick powdery substance that they love so much? I couldn’t imagine the flavor but thought it would be something slightly bitter, today I would say its just a strong flavor that goes well with everything!
Living in Asia started a solid love affair which I am happy to say, can now be found in many places across the world starting with an easy matcha latte. I’ve taken it upon myself to collect a list favorites in different cities:
- Kyoto – Tsujiri Uji (favorite among all), Sario Tsujiri, Nakamura Tokichi Honten
- Singapore – Tsujiri, Kurasu, Matchaya
- Paris – Patisserie Tomo / Umami Matcha + Mori Yoshida for incredible Japanese desserts
- Kuwait – % Arabica , a Japanese coffee branch with my favorite matcha
- Bogota – MatchaChá, Varietale Candelaria
- Porto – Bird of Passage, Noshi coffee
Tell us in the comments section below on your favorite matcha places around the world!