Sweet November celebrations at The Westin, Goregaon, Mumbai with Grover Zampa Wines.

Grapes ready to be stomped
Grapes ready to be stomped

Thanks to a growing multitude of Indians willing to experiment with their taste buds, there has been a veritable explosion of restaurants, whether stand alone or in hotels, seeking to entice the new, adventurous Indian diner. With the competition so high and stand alone restaurants giving them a good run for the money, five star hotels have upped their ante and have now started introducing festivals and events based around food trying to bring the masses closer to their kitchens.

However, these gimmick laced events often backfire and in the past we have witnessed numerous failed attempts of hotels such as bringing in expat chefs to introduce a kids menu where no kids were present or a French chef displaying his culinary prowess in an expansively laid out multi cuisine buffet only for his creations to be over- shadowed by the other myriad offerings and also his food suffering the vagaries of sitting in hot wells for a prolonged number of hours.

The band playing at the event
The band playing at the event

In this interestingly tricky world of events and food festivals, Westin of Goregaon is a veteran and has a very dynamic team in place that frequently organizes interesting and interactive events based around food.

The Sweet November festival that took place on the first of November, was one such event where the hotel partnered with Grover Wines and cooked up a nice little wine and food festival. The layout of the fest was in keeping with its name – refreshing and sweetly reminding one of the crispiness of the Autumn breeze. Open air seating, ample shade from trees, a nice little tent conjuring up barbecue magic on one side and an Indian live counter offering Tawa treats on another; Another tent was setup as a full-fledged bar with the main focus on the wines from the Grover-Zampa stables; In the centre of the park, a huge wooden tub was filled with grapes of several varieties waiting to be stomped; bar tables thrown around, idle chairs here and there, and a small stage with a live band belting out some fabulous English numbers from the 70’s era of rock and roll. The crowd was a fair mix of people from the F&B industry and Bollywood.

Master Chef Ajay Chopra at his cooking demo
Master Chef Ajay Chopra at his cooking demo

Decanter Asia recently felicitated Zampa-Grover with an award for their Sauvignon Blanc which was the first ever international award given to any Indian wine. With this accolade in tow, the winery showcased their premium range of wines – the Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and a great full bodied red- Grover-La reserve.

On the food front, apart from the live barbecues and tawas, a great live master class was conducted by the Master Chef, Ajay Chopra where he invited several guests to join him in creating some of the dishes using the wines from Zampa. The master class was a rocking success with funny anecdotes from Chef Chopra, lot of laughter and some foiled attempts at tossing vegetables in the pan by the guests.

The event climaxed with several guests jumping into the giant tub for the grape stomp while the band belted out lovely rock and roll numbers from the 70’s. Great wine, good food, an interactive culinary master class by chef Chopra, music and dance – the event had all the elements of a fun afternoon and the dancing crowd was testimony to this fact.

The crowd at the stomping
The crowd at the stomping

Chef Chopra formally announced his moving on from the Westin on this occasion and welcomed the new Executive Chef Rahul Dhavale. The event was very well conceptualized, the wine was very well highlighted, Chef Chopra’s cooking with wine master class a complete success, the music encouraged people to dance. In short, this was a great effort by the team Westin and kudos to them for a job well done!

Address: International Business Park, Oberoi Garden City , Goregaon East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400063.

Tel: 022 6147 0000

This column was written on an event invite  from the hotel. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.

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