“I believe good food, great wines and great conversation are an essential trilogy,” said Craig W. Wedge, COO, FineWinesnMore, at a wine dinner at the charming outdoor Banyan Tree Lounge, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Centre, Pune, where Brinda Gill was among the guests. Pictured, left: Saffron Tagliatelle with Lemon and Paprika Prawns
Guests were welcomed with Zardetto Prosecco di Treviso Brut DOC, a light Italian sparkling wine that Craig called a good glass of bubbles and a great way to start an evening along with bruschetta and olives.
Dubbed “a man on a mission” by Vineet Mishra, General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre, Craig introduced guests to The Art of The Table. “I want to create a dining experience, an atmosphere of a dinner with great food, conversation and wines, where people have a great time. An evening like this is only governed by your imagination. I would like to break down barriers over the course of dinner and nudge people out of their comfort zone, so people remember the evening” said Craig.
In keeping with the concept of The Art of The Table all the guests were seated at one long table to foster conversation. The antipasto of Stewed Prunes, Goat’s Cheese and Pistachio on slices of fresh bread with caramelised figs on the side was served with Maison M. Chapoutier Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc (a light fruity blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc) that Craig introduced to us.
All the wines served that evening were produced by family-owned wineries that focus on producing quality wines at quality pricing. Craig said the passion, love and attention that the families put into producing these wines comes through in their flavours. The first course of Saffron Tagliatelle with Mascarpone and Garlic Confit, Lemon and Paprika Prawns or Broccoli Beignets for vegetarians was perfectly paired with Sileni Estate Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, produced with grapes grown at Marlborough vineyards, long famous for their gooseberry and tropical fruit characters.
The second course offered a choice of Aged Prime Fillet, Apricot Filled Chicken Ballotine, and Polenta, Eggplant and Tomato Tian with Porcini & White Wine Risotto and Green Tomato and Chili Steak served with two red wines: the easy-drinking, fruity Maison M. Chapoutier Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge and Azienda Vitivinicola Bava Libera Barbera d’Asti. Craig promptly suggested two-hand cheers!
The last course of a lovely, fresh Mango Crème Brulee with spiced berries and fennel biscotti, and a delightful handcrafted chocolate basket of Petit Fours, filled with handmade chocolates wrapped up the meal. Each course from antipasti to dessert was light, tasty and artfully presented, reflecting the effort Executive Chef Chandra Shekhar Pandey and his team put into planning the meal.
The beautiful outdoor venue, the long dinner table, the gourmet food matched with flavourful wines and Craig’s enthusiasm created a special atmosphere. “As a hotel this evening was our way of adding a new dimension to the understanding of wine by bringing together experts to create the original flavour of the world of food and wine,” said Mishra. The hotel plans to host The Art of The Table dinner experiences regularly, with a different theme each time, to delight and engage guests and wine lovers. Pictured, left: General Manager Vineet Mishra