Apart from nourishment, food brings us so much joy. And what better way to elevate a dining experience than by uncorking a bottle of wine? When paired together, wines are believed to increase appetite and cleanse the pallet, thereby enhancing the flavours of the food and the wine itself with every mouthful.
The Spanish wine brand Campo Viejo claims to do just that – convert the simple into the extraordinary. With a commitment to innovation using sustainable practices, they blend traditional and progressive winemaking methods and go on to reflect a heritage and culinary brilliance that’s synonymous with India’s rich gastronomic landscape.
INDIAN CUISINE AND WINE IS A MATCH-MADE AFFAIR
After winning the top accolade at the last edition, Chef Manish Mehrotra from Indian Accent became the first entrant in the Hall of Fame and was honoured at the ceremony. Reflecting on his momentous accomplishment, he says, “It’s been 28 years of my culinary journey. I feel happy, but it comes with a responsibility. It gives me the encouragement to do better.”
His journey as a chef began as soon as he realised that the kitchen was the most innovative space at the hotel. And even today as a chef, he believes it’s important to familiarise oneself with food and techniques from local homes and communities. “There’s so much to explore in Goan cuisine. I personally like prawn balchao from here, the milder appetiser version. It’s going to make it on my restaurant menu in a week’s time,” he announced.
For him, wine-food pairing can work either way – sometimes it’s a dish that complements the wine and sometimes it’s the other way around.
“There’s a perception that wine doesn’t fair well with Indian cuisine and that’s not true. I really enjoy the two together. There's so much variation in Indian food, that it makes it much more challenging for a winemaker to suit these flavours and even for chefs to complement their dishes with the wine,” he states, adding that if given a choice he’d love to pair Campo Viejo’s white wine with one of his signature dishes of fish and coconut, where the creaminess of the coconut and the wine will marry well.
EASY, LIGHT TABLE WINES FOR BEGINNERS
During her college days at Manipal, Goa was just a four-hour train journey away. Chef Mythrayie Iyer frequently visited the state and relished some Goan chorizo pao and ros omelette. It's been roughly five years since, she has returned to Goa to receive the Young Chef Award at the event.
"I've recently been awarded the regional title of Best Young Chef for Africa, Middle East and South Asia and will be representing the region at Milan this October. So, winning this Young Chef Award right before the competition comes as support and validation to go with more confidence and put forth my food philosophy,” she mentions.
FINDING THE RIGHT PAIRING
Another chef who made it to the prestigious Top 30 list of FoodSuperstars is Parsi Chef Anahita Dhondy from Delhi. When asked about her preferred Campo Viejo wine, she was quick to point out that a pork vindaloo dish in the Parsi cuisine is inspired by the famous Goan vindaloo. For this robust vindaloo dish, a red wine along with some gorom poie (hot Goan bread) or sannas pairs beautifully.
"I also find Campo Viejo's white wine easy, not very acidic, so I'd pair it with a light Kashmiri kalari cheese where you put some masala, fry it and serve it with a delicious pineapple-chilli dip," she mentions, adding that the entire experience of celebrating chefs from across the country, relishing the wine and food and enjoying Goa's weather has been absolutely fantastic.