Think Outside The Red-Wine-With-Red-Meat Square
We asked some of the best in the business to reveal the strangest, most interesting pairings they’ve ever come across.
Nivedita Jayaram Pawar
One of the coolest aspects of food and wine pairing is trying something totally new—and maybe even totally weird. Some of these recent high-low pairings not only taste delicious together, but they also pierce the pretentious notion that wine is only for special occasions and fancy food. According to Abhay Kewadkar, Director and Chief Winemaker, Four Seasons Wines Ltd., who has been in the winemaking business for 25 years, now is the perfect time to experiment with unusual wine pairings and to not be intimidated. “There are no pairings without experimenting.” Hitesh Keswani, Director, Silver Beach Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd is in agreement. “We have had guests who like fruity wines with rasgullas! Who are we to judge? Eating and drinking is a matter of personal choice and expression.”
A lot of this can be attributed to global exposure, travel and the availability of more new and exciting experiences here at home, believes Rishim Sachdeva, Executive Chef at Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra. “I personally believe that wine pairings—and the whole wine drinking experience - is more aligned with creativity and boundaries are dissolving, allowing for more innovation.”
As more and more people embrace world flavours and experiment with their taste buds, food and wine pairings are definitely opening out. According to Lolita Sarkar, Creative Chef & Director, The Desi Deli, a certain democracy has also come forth. “No longer is pairing the preserve of cognoscenti. The sheer joy of the synergy of food and drink has come forward and pretentiousness has taken a back seat.”
A Beginner's Guide to Wine
So, for your next dinner party (or just plain dinner), try these six different wine pairings that work beautifully.
Sushi is an interesting thing to match wine with because of its slightly sweet and salty profile. Sake is the traditional go-to accompaniment with sushi but try a Rosé, suggests Kewadkar. “Rosé will not overpower the sushi. The freshness and fruitiness of the Rose wine can create an interesting companion to the sushi.” Rosé also balances the savoury taste of tempura.
Step-by-Step Recipe for California Rolls
Oysters with Red Wine
This combination may feel so wrong, but it tastes so right. Oysters need wines that are light-bodied with plenty of mineral and spice to complement their briny flavour. Beaujolais (a fruity red wine from France) does that without any of the heavy fruit or tannin of other reds.
Ice Cream and Wine
This pairing might sound off-the-wall, but adventurous oenophiles swear by it. For wine lovers, who want to enjoy a scoop of their favourite ice cream alongside a glass of Chenin Blanc is perfect says Kewadkar, “But make sure that it’s a light flavour like vanilla. My personal favourite is a glass of port wine with chocolate ice cream. Basically, you are matching sweetness with sweetness.”
Pizza and Red Wine
You love your pizza served with beer. Nothing wrong with it. A good lager is surely a good choice, but even better may be a good glass of nice wine! “The natural acidity of tomatoes in a simple Margherita pizza goes perfectly well with a crisp red wine. Go soft on the tannin or else they clash with the mozzarella’s freshness,” warns Vicky Ratnani, Head Chef, The Korner House.
French Fries with Champagne
If wine traditionalists are going to turn their noses up at any of these suggestions, it’ll be this one. “Team up Champagne with fries and you have an insane, yet delicious combination. The bubbles of the Champagne clean your palate and definitely adds elegance to a standard portion of fries,” says Keswani.
Thai Curry with White Wine/Pinot Gris
Worlds collide when it comes to this unusual, but extremely popular pairing. “The spiciness of the Thai curry is balanced perfectly with the light sweetness and low alcohol of the wine,” reveals Hardik Shah, Director of F&B, Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai. At Desi Deli, a Mumbai-based restaurant chain, a salad of roast chicken, roasted peppers, caramelized onion, nuts and raisin is dressed with a spicy Thai dressing and Thai bird chilies and paired with a Riesling. The mild sweet crispness of the wine does wonders for the Asian flavours.
Wine and Food Pairing Tips
The real objective of food and wine pairing is to enhance each other. So be creative and experiment to figure out what works for you. That’s where the fun is.
Don't worry if that Merlot didn’t work with the roast chicken. It's all a learning experience.
Trust Your InstinctsWe all have different perceptions of taste. Hence, each one of us will experience the same wine differently. When in doubt, always drink what you like to drink and you'll probably enjoy your food and your wine better than you would if you worried about matching them.
Be BoldIt pays to be bold and adventurous with wines. Just as you are with food. After all, the best wines are the ones we drink with friends.
Featured Image: Vartika Pahuja
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