Foodie Post: Changing the Palate

I love wine.

For the better part of the last 20 years, it has been one of my favourite things in the world.  A crisp, chilled glass of bubbly on  Sunday afternoon with a girlfriend, a dry white with a nice meal or a full-bodied red with cheese… I have always enjoyed a glass of wine.

Something strange happened to me when I moved to India, I stopped drinking wine. There were several reasons why I didn’t drink anymore, partly cost (there are many taxes on alcohol consumption which can make it prohibitively expensive), and whilst I was backpacking I didn’t really come across too many occasions to enjoy a drink.  When I did, I tended to opt for a refreshing vodka and soda over wine.

I guess it was because I wasn’t really familiar with Indian wine, and only limited international wines are available here.  Apprehensively I tried some Indian wine and to be honest wasn’t a huge fan. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was used to.  I guess after years of drinking predominantly Australian wine, my palate had become accustomed to it.  I didn’t understand all the names and wasn’t sure what Indian wine to trust.  A few friends gave me their thoughts, but I could never remember them, so abstinence seemed to be the best option (I can hear some of my friends in Australia who have known me for years gasping in horror…… Rakhee choosing not to have a glass wine?).

Rose

I decided to give Indian wines another go after I was invited along to a food and wine tasting event the other week.  The event was hosted by Four Seasons Wine and included some lovely middle eastern food made by the chefs at the Novotel Juhu.

The event was hosted by chief winemaker Abhay Kewdkar who talked us through the different wines on offer.  I liked his approach to wine, if you like the taste of it then enjoy it… simple.

What I found particularly interesting was his discussion on trying different types of wines with different types of Indian food.  Wine has never been something that I have traditionally paired with Indian food.  Perhaps that is part of the reason why I haven’t had much of it since I moved to India.  But Mr Kewdkar talked about all the varieties of Indian cuisine, from the coconut tastes of the coast to the spicy sambars of the south and rich curries of the north, and explained how his wines suited each particular cuisine.

I had never really thought of matching wine with Indian food before.  It certainly opened up my mind to the thought of trying it.  I suppose it makes sense that the wine is more suited to the local food and therefore is best tried with it. So I took the opportunity offered to me and tried out the different wines on offer and quite enjoyed them.

So for now, I have resolved to try more wines with Indian food and experiment a bit more with the different wines made here.  Giving them a go and seeing if I can change my palate to appreciate them.  I hope to soon enjoy more of my favourite past-time, a glass of wine to relax with and enjoy over a good meal.

*If you want to see more photos on the event, you can check out this blog post on it.