“We want to showcase how wines can pair with Indian cuisine,” said Pradipt Sinha, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott, Pune City Centre. Chef Sinha was sharing his thoughts at A Cellar Night, a wine dinner hosted along with Pune-based wine consultant Sujata Patil, at a smartly-set long table at the hotel’s rooftop Evviva Sky Lounge (pictured left) on 20th March 2015, reports Brinda Gill, SI correspondent in Pune.
For this delectable endeavour and for the sheer dining pleasure of guests, the menu featured three courses of Indian specialities and a dessert platter with a signature touch, all paired with Indian wines. Chef Sinha tasted a selection of wines before deciding on the wines to be served and the dishes to pair with them. To prepare the dishes for the wine dinner, he used spices in judicious quantities, opting for mild, flavourful spices. He used cream for the marinade to mellow the effect of the spices so that the flavours of the wines would not be overpowered by those of the food.
So it was that the appetisers of Bharwan Kumbh and Zaffrani Murgh Ki Ashrfiyan were paired with the light, floral Fratelli Sangiovese Bianco. Sujata mentioned that Fratelli is the first winery in Asia and one of the few wineries in the world to produce a white wine from Sangiovese, Tuscany’s a signature red grape.
The main course of Laal Maans/ Murgh Nawabi Handi/ Nazakat Ke Koftey was paired with the medium bodiedMyra Reserve Shiraz infused with mild flavours of spice and oak. The Dum Gosht Biryani/Dum Subz Biryani, served with Salan and Dal Makhani, was paired with the fruit forward Fratelli Merlot. (Pictured left, Brinda Gill with Executive Chef Pradipt Sinha, as he explains food and wine pairing)The meal was fittingly wrapped up with The Great Indian Dessert Platter of three favourite Indian desserts with a Western touch to reduce their sweetness and improve their pairing with Zampa Brut. The Gajjar ka Halwa was nicely wedged between and oozing from a pair of macaroons, while Angoori Rasmalai was served in a chocolate cup and small Gulab Jamuns were presented in a tart!
And all these dishes combined with a lovely ambience, the easy meeting of Indian wines and Indian food in the company of wine enthusiasts – spoke softly of the growing confidence in Indian wines and India’s wine culture.