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    Simple recipes turn exotic with a splash of wine

    When you combine good wine, two fantastic chefs and an oenophile, you must be at the Wine in Food, Seven City Odyssey by Nine Hills of Pernod Ricard, India.

    Chef Michael Swamy says that in India, very few people cook with wine. “It’s actually quite simple and you can even make a curry with wine,” he explains going on to prove it in the next hour by whipping up two salads with tomato, lettuce and mushroom, two desserts – a fruit melange and figs in a wine reduction. Plus, an interesting Indian creole and a dish of scallops with turmeric, curry leaves and spices.

    Chef Bela from Germany then took over for dinner (that is part of their revamped menu) while Adrian Pinto, senior manager of Nine Hills played host at the dinner table. A fresh tris di pomodori e caprino tomatoes with caramelised shallot dressing, seasonal greens and crumbled goat cheese started us off nicely before a piping hot serving of creamy mint and peas soup — served with a fruity Chenin Blanc, followed by a more structured Sauvignon Blanc. Spring chicken stuffed with porcini mushroom, served with sautéed garlic spinach, blueberry gnocchi – a divine change from the usual – was spot on and was perfect with the reserve Shiraz that had a light note of vanilla, dominated by coffee and berry.

    The oven-roasted salmon fillet with mini plum tomatoes, raisins and almonds in white wine was light and delicious. But it was finally the vegetarian main course that blew us away. Crespelle integrali or whole wheat crespelle filled with cabbage, mashed potatoes and provolone cheese with a light gorgonzola sauce.

    Red wine poached pears, the house special with copious amounts of wine, made for a fantastic finish and armed with the knowledge of wine and Italian recipes, we walked out with determination to cook for the festive season. Mulled wine pork belly anyone?
    Rs 2,000++. At Bene, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel, Malleswaram. Details: 42521000

    —Aakanksha Devi

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