Story behind “Chevalier Federico Peliti” national park : Name
The Origin of the Name “Carignano National Park“
Carignano in Mashobra, not far from Shimla, was a frequent weekend and picnic destination for my family when I was a kid.
My family and I would get into my dad’s Lambretta scooter and make the trip to the bungalow. My parents used to take long walks, and I used to paint the worst landscapes imaginable while my younger sister looked on, either adoringly (as I like to think she did) or not-so-admiringly (which was probably accurate).
All of the rooms were lit by kerosene lamps, and the water was heated in traditional ‘hamams’ that ran on wood fires because there was no other way to get the temperature high enough.
Only much later did I discover the building’s connection to the extraordinary Federico Peliti.
The few Indians who are familiar with the name Peliti know him as a 19th-century hotelier, chef, and confectioner who introduced western-style baked goods (cookies, brownies, and chocolates) to the country. But aside from that, he was an amazing photographer with a keen eye and sophisticated technique, which he used to great effect in creating some extraordinary compositions of different sections of India.
Originally from the Italian village of Carignano, not far from Turin, Peliti named his Mashobra property after his birthplace in 1844. A number of designers, constructors, and designers were in his extended family’s gene pool. In 1865, Federico earned his diploma after majoring in sculpting. When Peliti decided to focus on the luxury confections that were already being exported from his native Turin to the royal courts of Europe, he created stunning decorations featuring intricate “architectural cakes” resembling Gothic cathedrals. One of his most well-known works has a cake decorated with a figure of Queen Victoria and a tall spire in the background.
During this time period, there was a shift in the cuisine served at the lavish banquets of Europe’s nobility and princes. Smaller quantities of a greater variety of foods have replaced their once-standard large servings. Fine linens, china, and silverware adorned the tables. Upon his appointment as Viceroy of India in 1869, Lord Mayo sought for the best European cooks and pastry chefs the continent had to offer. It’s possible that this was done to challenge the hedonism of Indian aristocracy and introduce them to European ideals. Mayo first hired a chef in Paris and then organized a contest in Turin to hire a pastry chef. Peliti triumphed, and he now works for the viceroy. Assassins killed Lord Mayo in Port Blair in 1872. With the viceroy’s passing, Peliti saw an opportunity to strike off on his own in India.
So, the fashionable Peliti’s Café was located in Regent House on Shimla’s Mall, and the building itself was mentioned in other works, including those by Rudyard Kipling. When the first permanent residence of the Governor-General in Shimla was built, it was known as Bentinck’s Castle, and Peliti later bought the building. Upon this spot, he constructed the massive Grand Hotel. The Villa Carignano in Mashobra was a suburban getaway he created for himself. The United Services Club purchased the Mashobra property, modeled after an Italian manor, from Peliti in 1920. A cottage with a single story eventually replaced it after it caught fire. Upon the United Services Club’s relocation to Shimla following independence, the government acquired and the Municipal Corporation managed Carignano along with the other estates. It’s possible that this is related to the fact that Carignano has a massive tank that delivers water to Shimla even now. The fire that wiped out Peliti’s Grand Hotel in 1922 was not an isolated incident. To Know about shimla Tourism click here.
Many individuals were employed by Peliti’s thriving businesses. One of his talents was throwing spectacular feasts in the most inhospitable of settings, despite the lack of any necessary infrastructure. Everything from the tables and chairs to the tablecloths and cutlery would be brought in from afar if necessary.
He was given the honorary title of Chevalier by the French government in 1899. Peliti took a lot of photographs in and around Shimla, Kolkata, and other parts of India throughout his lifetime, and his descendants intended to donate them to the country of India, ideally to Shimla, but they couldn’t find the right museum. Letizia, the great-granddaughter of Federico, is someone I met a few years ago. We have maintained contact over the years. Her son-in-law has given new life to certain traditional Indian delicacies. The once-famous “Peliti Vermut” was made for the Prince of Wales during his 1875–1876 trip of India; the Prince later became King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Peliti included Indian spices in his’vermut’ (vermouth, fortified wine) recipe. Both the Turin and Paris international expositions awarded this mulled wine with gold medals for its exceptional quality. Though Peliti and his wines had fallen into obscurity by the end of World War II, the secret recipes had survived.