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L’Opera: From France, with love and flavours




New Delhi, April 26: Remember Julia Child? The famous chef known for introducing French delicacies to the US? In similar fashion, a Frenchman has been keeping alive his country’s recipes in the very heart of the national capital for the past six years.

L’Opera — Kazem Samandari’s initiative — is a delightful place that offers authentic and explicit French bakery and pastry products and has been successful in bringing the best of the French recipes to the people of Delhi.

Samandari came to India along with his wife nine years ago to stay along with their daughter and ever since have became a part of the country.

Just step inside the small patisseree in Khan Market and the sensational aroma of chocolate and coffee mesmerises you.

An exquisite array of breads, Viennese, mini-Viennese, pastries, tarts, cakes, biscuits, salads, quiches, sandwiches, feuilletes, tapas, canapes and many more is spread across the outlet.

“The whole idea of L’Opera was accidental, it is not something that we thought of doing initially. It was my son’s idea to come up with the concept of L’Opera,” Samandari told IANS.

For him, the absence of authentic and original French bakeries in the national capital paved way for L’Opera.

“Hence we thought that L’Opera can be that perfect escape for the pastry and bakery lovers who are looking for that original taste of French culinary in India,” Samandari added.

Over six years, L’Opera has grown a lot and now is a food chain with 15 outlets in the NCR region and one in Dehradun. It is also planning to expand its reach to other metros and take its count to 66 in next five years.

Samandari claimed that it is the authenticity and very high quality of its products that makes L’Opera stand out from others.

And to prove his word, came a croissant, a fluffy ceation that brings alive the rich taste of butter and softness when tossed inside mouth.

“We have got Paris to India. When people come here to eat and say ‘This reminds me exactly of what I had in Paris’ makes us happy and proud,” Samandari noted.

For Samandari, the success of L’Opera is a great indication of the fact that India welcomes cuisines from across the globe.

“India is a combination of many many people of different origins. Indians are global. It is a very good thing that in India there is an increasingly interest for French type bakery and pastry products, because this develops the market,” he maintained.

Samandari also pointed that though the products reflect the rich flavours of France, the soul remains very much Indian.


“The raw material used for baking and making the items are mostly Indian products. If the Indian products are not of highest quality then we use imported products,” he replied.

For him, fusion is a great way of indulging two different flavours and coming up with a new exclusive dish like that of strawberry pepper.

However, ‘Indianising’ of items is something that hasn’t yet been thought about and nor are there any future plans to do so.

“We strictly don’t believe in the amalgamation of the Indian flavours in our products. Let there be some French taste,” Samandari responded.

And to get the feel of Paris while sitting at the Khan Market outlet, this foodie went ahead and tried some of the personal favourites of Samandari.

First came the Eclair Coffee — thick layer of coffee enriched cream over the bun as well as stuffed inside, then nutty chocolate treat and chocolate mille feuille — both chocolate based pastries, a heavenly pleasure for anyone who is in deep love with the flavour of chocolate. It was followed by the macaroons. I devoted myself in two varieties of macaroons — salty caramel and macaroon rose, both delicious.

A single bite of any of these products will end up increasing your appetite and making you crave for more.


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Can drinking too much water harm you?




Toronto, May 23: Do you drink too much water? Beware, overhydration — excess fluid accumulation — can lead to dangerously low sodium levels or in the blood or result in brain swelling, researchers say.

Hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition of brain swelling, is more common in elderly patients and can cause cognitive problems and seizures.

“(Hyponatremia) occurs in common pathological conditions, including brain injury, sepsis, cardiac failure and in the use of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy),” said Charles Bourque from the McGill University in Canada.

While it was yet uncertain how hyponatremia develops, the study found that a defect in the hydration sensing mechanism of the brain could be the culprit.

The researchers said that brain’s hydration sensing neurons could not detect overhydration in the same way that they detect dehydration.

Overhydration activates Trpv4 — a calcium channel that can be found in glial cells, that act to surround hydration sensing neurons.

It is cellular gatekeeper implicated in maintaining the balance of water in the body.

“Our study shows that it is in fact glial cells that first detect the overhydrated state and then transfer this information to turn off the electrical activity of the [hydration sensing] neurons,” Bourque explained.

“Our specific data will be important for people studying hydromineral and fluid electrolyte homeostasis, and clinicians who treat patients faced with hyponatremia,” he noted.

The results, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that overhydration is first identified by the Trpv4 channel which triggers the release of a type of amino acid known, taurine, which acts as a trip wire to inhibit hydration sensing neurons.

“Preclinical models of hyponatremia will be used to examine if the mechanism we report is affected in this condition with the long-term objective of designing new treatments or diagnostic tools,” Bourque added.


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Taj Mahal, Mumbai Sea Link among top 10 travellers’ choices



taj mahal mumbai worli sea link

Mumbai, May 23: The eternal monument to love, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai figure among the Top 10 TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards of 2018 for most visited and popular tourist landmarks, it was announced here on Tuesday.

Taj Mahal-wefornews

Taj Mahal, Agra


Bandra Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

The other top Indian monuments in the list of awards include: Amber Fort in Amer, Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi, Agra Fort, and Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur


Amber Fort, (Amer) Rajasthan


Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Golden Temple of Amritsar,

Golden Temple of Amritsar


Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi

The award winners were decided using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide over a 12-month period.

This year’s TripAdvisor awards recognize 759 monuments spread in 68 countries globally, said the company’s Country Manager Nikhil Ganju.

“India’s landmarks as as diverse at its heritage and are among some of the most iconic structures in the world. The list presents fantastic gems ranging from poignant memorials to sheer architectural marvels that are great options for travelers,” he added.

Mumbai’s sole entry to the list, the RGBWSL is one of its most prominent modern landmarks and an infrastructure marvel of a cable-stayed bridge cutting through the Arabian Sea to connect Bandra with Worli.

The top 10 Travellers Choice Landmarks of Asia include: Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple in India, Wat Pho or Temple of Reclining Buddha in Thailand, Mutianyu Great Wall of China, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine of Japan, Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, and the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam.

Similarly, the Top 10 landmarks worldwide are: Angkor Wat, Plaza de Espana in Spain, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in UAE, St. Peters Basilica of The Vatican, Mesquita Cathedral de Cordoba in Spain, Taj Mahal, Duomo di Milano in Italy, Alcatraz Island and Golden Gate Bridge both in US, and the Parliament of Hungary.


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Exercise 4-5 times daily to delay ageing




New York, May 21: Want to stay young for long? If so, start exercising four to five times a day as it may help keep your heart stay healthy and slow down ageing, according to researchers.

Research showed that different sizes of arteries are affected differently by varying amounts of exercise.

While exercising for about two to three days a week for about 30 minutes may be sufficient to minimise stiffening of middle-sized arteries, exercising for about four to five days a week is required to keep the larger central arteries youthful.

The study would help “develop exercise programmes to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels”, said one of the study authors, Benjamin Levine from the University of Texas.

With age, arteries — which transport blood in and out of the heart — become prone to stiffening, increasing the risk of heart diseases.

For the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team examined 102 people over 60 years old, with a consistent lifelong exercise history.

The participants were divided into four groups depending on their exercise history — Sedentary: less than 2 exercise sessions per week; Casual Exercisers: 2-3 exercise sessions per week; Committed Exercisers: 4-5 exercise sessions per week and Masters Athletes: 6-7 exercise sessions per week.

A lifelong history of casual exercise (two-three times a week) resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.

However, committed exercisers (4-5 times per week) also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle-sized ones.

Larger arteries need more frequent exercise to slow down ageing, the researchers said.

The findings will help see “if we can reverse the ageing of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time”, Levine explained.


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