Pairing food with wine is not exactly rocket science, but it can be a very challenging task even for professionals. However when it is done right, like at the recently held Four Seasons wine paired dinner at the West View, ITC Maurya, it can enhance any culinary experience.
This event was a part of the Four Seasons Gourmet Diaries, an endeavour which aims at popularizing these quality Indian wines, by organising dinners, where a renowned Chef is asked to showcase his culinary skills, and pair his creations with the right Four Season’s wines. The Chef for this particular dinner happened to be the Guide Bleu Chef Award winner, Peter Wyss of the prestigious Gstaad Palace Hotel.
Chef Peter Wyss is somewhat of a legend in the Swiss culinary history and hundreds of top chefs from all over the world have learnt the art of cooking from him. Since the last forty years, he heads the cuisine of the renowned Palace Hotel at Gstaad, where he has had the privilege of cooking for royalty and several heads of states. During mid-season, when the hotel is closed, Chef Wyss cooks in the chalets of film stars and politicians, who send their private planes to fetch him. His association with the millionaire Latsis family of Greece is well known and he spends a few days each year at their private island.
So it was a coup of sorts when Abhay Kewadkar, Chief Wine Maker, Business Head and Director of Four Seasons Wines, managed to get a chef of his stature, to present his culinary creations and pair them with some award winning wines from Four Seasons.
I have often wondered what goes on behind planning a wine paired menu and asked Chef Wyss this question. He said simplicity was important and one needs to remember the basics, which is finding the right combination of texture & flavour of both the elements and avoid negative or unpleasant interactions. The aim was to “serve pleasure on the plate”. This was his first visit to India and he was very impressed with the knowledge and skills of the Indian Chefs of ITC Hotels.
The evening began with a glass of chilled bubbly, the sparkling Brut Rosé from Bouvet Ladubay, an excellent Crémant from Saumur in Loire Valley. This winery was acquired by the UB Group in 2006 and this is when Four Seasons started its operations in Baramati, a small town located two hours from the city of Pune. The Rosé was a perfect accompaniment to the hors d’oeuvres and charcuterie. The saltiness and the spices of the cold meats enhanced the flavours of the Rosé. Chef Wyss created a spectacular Gruyère Foam Crostini which showed his fondness for molecular gastronomy. He is a big fan of Heston Blumenthal and Peter Gagnaire and often eats at Ferran Adriá’s El Bulli.
The sit down four course dinner started with a delicious Cappuccino soup. This was followed by a stunning Sea Bass Medallion with Asparagus and Tomato Marmalade. It was paired with the Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc, a dry, lightly aromatic wine with refreshingly citrus notes. The fresh acidity of the wine cut perfectly through the fish, and the citrus style , allowed the sea bass to shine through , which would not have happened had it been paired with any other white .
The next course was a Roasted lamb rack with espelette pepper jelly and Borolo sauce with shallots, spatzli with wild garlic and seasonal vegetables. The wine with this was the Four Seasons 2009 Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine with well integrated tannins and potential for aging. This was a match made in heaven and both complemented each other perfectly.
The final course was a dessert of Lindt bitter chocolate sweet with lemon mousse and raspberries served with a Raspberry ice cream and paired with the Bouvet Brut Rosé. This made sure that the evening ended on a sparkling note.
This was one dinner when both the wine and the food came together and created a great culinary experience, highlighting the Chef Peter Wyss’s brilliant creations and hard work, along with the flavours of the lively and versatile Four Seasons wines. It is always nice to see Indian wines finding their place in the sun, even though the wine culture has still a lot of catching up to do. The stellar service at West View went a long way in ensuring the success of the evening.
– Lavina Kharkwal