Penfolds Fine Australian Wine meets South Indian cuisine
I got an invite from Paras at Mohan Brothers, a leading wine and spirits import and distribution firm to join him for a Penfolds dinner at Dakshin at the ITC Maratha on 30th November. I was quite curious to know how they would go about the challenging job of matching some fine Australian wine, with a range of South Indian cuisine, and I got there well in time. As I entered Dakshin, Paras introduced me to Simon Cant, the Asia Pacific brand ambassador for Penfolds, and I had a chance for a brief tete a tete with him.
Excerpts from the Interview:
Sweta: How do you consider India as a market?
Simon: Really interesting. Young Indians want to know more about wine and wine culture. In fact women are becoming more aware as it naturally appeals to them.
Sweta: Where is Penfolds available in India?
Simon: Its available at International Hotels and at Ellipsis in Mumbai. A good job by Mohan Brothers to have placed us at all the 5 stars. And yes we are open to more distribution in the future.
Sweta: Which are the strongest markets for Penfolds in India?
Simon: Mumbai and Delhi.
Simon ends out chat on a lighter note with a comment on the excise, taxes and bureaucracy in India, which lead to logistical hiccups while importing the wines.
After this we move on to the more fun stuff, Wine tasting, and wine and food pairing. Simon, Paras (Sales Head - North & West) - Mohan Brothers Pvt Ltd, Yodissen Mootooswamy (Regional Business Manager - South Asia & Pacific) - Treasury Wine Estates and myself sit at one of the tables. The first wine that comes to us is a Chardonnay from their Koonunga Hill Range, which is a modern clean interpretation of the Australian Chardonnay. Its crisp, citrusy and has an elegant approach. This was paired with "Kodi Roast", a chicken preparation in South Indian style and Threesome of Rice Dumpling, Mini Sweet Banana pancake and Mini Uttapam with 3 different styles of chutney - coconut, coriander and "Malli Chutney"(mix of red chilli and coriander powder.
The second wine that came to our table was a classic Australian blend, a Shiraz Cabernet (60/40) from their Koonunga Hill Range again.
Not to forget at Dakshin, they do not give you spoons and forks unless you ask for it. The idea is to eat by your hand as the South Indians do!!! So Simon was game to try it out....
To end the evening we tasted a Red from the Penfolds Bin Range - Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. As Simon pointed out its a style that could be enjoyed for immediate drinking or could develop well in the cellar too.
This being the last wine for the evening, the dinner was also served at the same time. And what did we have for dinner..........Here you go!!
Originally this dinner was supposed to be a sit down for all the guests together with Simon taking us through the course of wine and food pairing. However, it couldn't be worked out at Dakshin. Hence, Simon had to go to each table to answer guest’s queries.
All in all I enjoyed the wines, but I found the food to be ok. I personally feel the dinner would have worked better at Dum Pukht, ITC’s signature Indian restaurant, featuring the cuisine of Awadh India.
I bid Adieu to Simon and wished him a successful event at Delhi.
Works @ Tulleeho, Love Junk Food, Timepass Photographer, Travel freak, Mixing Drinks, Love my Bags and Shoes...In short love all da good things in life...