THERE WAS A TIME in college when I fancied all it took to be Bohemian was to heave into a pair of fitting bellbottoms and strap on a bandana. Today, I know better. Bohemia is a major region in the Czech Republic, so the real Bohemian can only be someone with an allegiance to the place, or at least the country. Nothing could be easier. Czech cuisine is a brazen invitation to forget about niggling concerns relating to fitting into either your jeans or a clique.

With its German, Austrian, Hungarian, Slovakian and Polish influences, Czech cuisine rallies together familiar favourites from its neighbourhood and adds a unique dash of its own panache. It’s an experience best enjoyed at the hands of experts such as the Czech Master Chef Marek Svoboda. It gives me great pleasure to say that all of Delhi is in luck this month because Chef Marek just happens to be working his charm at ITC Maurya’s West View all the way up to the 26th of April.

Captain of the Czech national culinary team, Chef Marek is so particular about getting every dish right, that he carries his own stash of ingredients from back home. The authenticity sings through in savoury pastries, sandwiches, cold cuts, cheeses, salads, and my personal favourite – briny mushrooms served with chicken broth and bread.

This is a festival where you can treat yourself to legumes and root vegetables and an astonishing variety of meat. Lobster tail, tenderloin and even Himalayan river trout marinated in authentic Czech spices, are high on my list of recommendations. Czech beers and liqueurs take all this to the next level. Whether you go for a Bude, a Fernet Stock or Becherovka, you will be treated to the age-old Czech mastery of brewing and distilling.

If you’re anything like me, by the time you’ve rounded it all off with an apple strudel, you’d have been won over by the benefits of being a true-blue Bohemian.