Mumbai’s top chefs serve up a masterclass on sparkling wine
Summer, sparkling wine and the best good the city has to offer
A party isn’t a party until someone brings out the bubbly, d’uh. But when you have Chandon’s new sparkling wine variant, Délice, on your hands, just some salt and cheese crackers won’t do. A sentiment clearly shared by Mubai’s top chefs from Kelvin Cheung to Prateek Sadhu as they gathered at Tote on the Turf last night to whip up gourmet creations inspired by the flavour-gasm of a drink.
In between trips to the kitchen, we got the best names on the culinary scene to solve the million dollar question of what to serve sparkling wine with for your next girls’ night in. Here’s what we have to report.
How to pair your sparkling wine with food
Chef Prateek Sadhu, Masque
"My favourite accompaniment with sparkling is almost always cheese," Sadhu declares. If your Friday night pre-gaming plans involve Chandon Délice, he recommends pairing it with his Caciocavallo Brûlée that perfectly balances the sweet and sour notes of pork.
Chef Viraf Patel, Café Zoe
Patel concurs on picking cheese to go with your flute of sparkling wine, and adds, "I'd also cured meats and a nicely charred rare steak any day." His idea of a perfect dinner involves the Chandon Délice and a taster's plate highlighting quintessential Indian flavours like desi ghee, charred peppers, dates and caramelised onions.
Chefs Shilarna Vaze and Christophe Perrin, Gaia Gourmet
If it were up to Vaze and Perrin, they'd always mix sparkling wine with the beach. As for what you need on your plate next to your chilled flute, the chefs would like you to try their Crustacea Delice with Kokum & Green Peppercorn. "The flavour of sparkling wine reminds us of sour, cooking Kokum sherbet on a hot summer's day and tropical fruit like mango... We love to use local coastal seafood so marrying the two was a natural progression," Shilarna explains. Their nostalgic streak also convinces them to regularly introduce singhada (water chestnut) and tadgola (ice apple) to their dinner menu.
Chef Kelvin Cheung, Bastian and One Street Over
What first drew Chef Cheung to the sparkling wine was the fact that, "It reminds me of the exact taste of summer. It was the first word that popped into my head when I had my first sip. I wished it lasted longer like summer breaks during my school days and the season for outdoor barbecues." Building on that nostalgia, he whipped up Szechuan Snapper (corn pudding, corn husk powder and pickled cucumber) and Wild Mushrooms.
As for what he likes to pair his wine with? "Raclette cheese paired with a crisp apple or melted in a grilled cheese with toasty house made sourdough would be my top two favourites," he explains.
Chef Pooja Dhingra of Le15 Patisserie and Café
For your next soirée, Dhingra recommends serving Chandon Délice with fresh cut fruit, as the sparkling wine adds brilliant depth to it. And maybe some of her exquisite dark chocolate macarons as well; "The sharp fruity notes of sparkling wine have inspired my desserts and because it works so well with the Indian palate, I've worked in a hint of something spicy too with ginger and anise," she explains.
Chef Alex Sanchez, The Table
"All too often, sparkling wine is saved for special occasions," rues Sanchez, adding "We serve it with fancy hors d’oeuvres and caviar, and we sip it from tall slender glassware with our pinkies in the air. But my love for sparkling is of a more casual—and frequent—nature. I like drinking it from a paper cup with a bag of potato chips—the saltier, the better."
If you were to drop by his home, he'd treat you to a glass of chilled Chandon Délice and something spicy. He elaborates, "The honeyed sweetness is just calling out for chilli. I'd like to introduce you to my own version of vada pav, combining a tempura-fried potato puree scented with saffron and serving it inside a rich, delicate brioche roll."