Two weeks ago, FourSeasons Wines in collaboration with Novotel Juhu had a ‘Wine Pairing with Food’ event on a very wet Sunday afternoon. I don’t cook nor do I drink, so I was perhaps the most inapt guest choice. But then again, I was a blogger and pretty adventurous in ‘spirit’, so somewhere, I think, it was a karmic connection.  Armed with a few friends and zilch knowledge about wines and their origins, I walked into a rich, cozy setting. The welcoming ambiance instantly lifted my mood. The cheerful staff added to the warm feeling. So far, so good, I said to myself.

As we settled comfortably, my friends and I were served with a kind of a red wine. Two of us politely passed and said we’d come back to it. We weren’t willing to lose our wine virginity yet!  The food accompaniments however, lured us with all the authority of hunger pangs. We were famished. Just when we’d artistically painted our plates with generous servings, Mr. Abhay Kewadkar walked in. The Business Head and Chief Wine Maker of the UB group had my undivided attention the moment he said he’d taken 15 minutes to travel from the airport at Andheri East to Juhu in the West. Of course, realization dawned it was a Sunday and I went back to being enlightened about the wines and suitable dines to accompany.
Fortunately, he was no preacher.  He broke the ice by saying that the legacy of a wine had nothing to do with your liking for it. If vodka and whiskey were enjoyed without knowing what grains went into it, why did wine need the paraphernalia? He went on to add that wine grows on you and your palette just like your affection for any particular cuisine. What you had to know was a few basic rules to enhance the culinary flavours. Like mild foods would go with white wines and similarly rich food with red wines. However that should not restrict your experimentation skills. He also stressed that India had a multi cultural dining fare and to boil it down within a framework of do’s and don’ts was truly a herculean task.  Hence, he was planning on listing out some lip smacking Indian recipes across the states and do a wine pairing for them. So, if you wanted to know what goes well with Macher Jhol or Chicken Xacuti, you would find this book a handy guide.  He ended by saying Chilli Chicken was perhaps one dish that could not feature on that wine pairing list, much to our amusement.
Chef Ranveer took over from where Abhay left and boy was he adept. There is definitely something rustic about a good looking man who can cook and has a husky voice to match. While his team truly felt ravaged by the mob of women and hoped they’d make it alive that afternoon, we had a ball….literally!  Well, the Arancini with Orange and Cherry Gastrique was the Vegetarian delight while the Tuscan Lamb Raviolo was the humble Non Vegetarian offering. And while we all tried our hands at making something edible, Chef Ranveer said those magical words, “Sit back and enjoy, while I get this done”. I so wished all the men in the world could hear this and see our orgasmic expressions at the same time.
Amidst warm camaraderie and tit bits with the two men in focus, the afternoon of August 12, 2012, couldn’t have been better. Yes, I tasted wine for the first time in my life. Between the award winning collection of the Blush or Rose, the Barrique Reserve Shiraz and the Sauvignon Blanc, I quite liked the Blush, both in colour and flavor. It was a wonderful endeavor by Four Seasons in association with Novotel and Ginger Claps that introduced me to a world I had not ventured into before.  Have I transformed into a wine aficionado? Only time will tell………..for now, I still prefer my non-alcoholic status.

And while you are at it……do drop by here to have a preview of the fun we had!

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