By Chef Tushar Chahera,
We live in a country built on diverse cultures and unique culinary traditions. However, as time passes, the culture is evolving at a breakneck pace, changing dietary habits founded on the fundamental principles of taste and nutrition for the people. In this circumstance, new cuisines, such as French among others, are defining their ways in the country, allowing exposure to the cuisines of many cultures and making it easier to transition from one brand to another.
For decades, Indian and French cuisines have been intertwined. Ingredients, flavor, color, texture, fragrance, or presentation have changed and become sophisticated and highly diverse over time. Regarding ingredients, both cuisines have a wealthy background, and the nation’s population shares incredible love and affection for their rich cuisines. Even though French cuisine is not new in India, we are now seeing a progressive adoption of French cuisine with various wines by Indian diners. However, before pairing cuisine with the appropriate wine, we must consider a few elements to appreciate the cultural component fully.
Factors to Keep in Mind
Like most people, if you have a few favorite wines and don’t venture beyond those bottles, try matching different types of wine with meals to learn the fundamentals of wine tasting. When looking for a wine to pair with a certain food, analyze its acidity, body, aromas and flavors. For different individuals, these characteristics imply various things.
Body and Acid: The acidity level of the wine will be determined by its sour and harsh flavors. This is similar to how biting into a sour apple feels on the palate when the extreme sensation strikes your tongue. Furthermore, the wine’s body is assessed by its weight and texture when tasted. It can be light, sometimes known as thin, thick, creamy, or even greasy. Like other wine characteristics, the body is a matter of personal preference.
Fragrance and Flavor: As we all know, the aroma, or simply the fragrance, of any drink we taste is almost everything. Wine noses can be as basic as one or two notes or as complicated as a complex combination of smells that blend and alter as the wine swirls and exposes itself in the air. Identify notes like flowery, fruity, and nutty, among many more. The scents of the wine dominate the flavor; what we smell is what we taste, which is unconnected to the aroma.
Wine Pairing Tips for French Cuisine
With the shift, wine culture is growing exponentially both socially and emotionally. Wine, like bread and cheese, has become a dinner table mainstay. Food lovers from any culture or nation recognize that even the most delicious French supper is incomplete without a well-matched wine. With so many varietals available, choosing the right wine for the menu might be a daunting chore, but it doesn’t have to be! So, how we put them together?
The most noteworthy thing to determine is that the wine should complement the depth and richness of the dish. For example, the person must decide if the cuisine is light, spicy, sweet, or rich. Then, as a general guideline, pair wine with food that matches its intensity with the flavor of the wine.
Following the strength of the cuisine, the next consideration is whether the table has met. Red wine contains tannins, which are reactive to proteins (the dry feeling in our mouth results from the binding of lubricating salivary proteins with tannins). As a result, red meat makes wine less tannic, and tannins make meat less rich.
The final piece of advice that provides the finest experience is to combine white wine with seafood and poultry meals since it has a less robust flavor and looks like a better complement. White wines are not robust; they do not overshadow the meal’s flavor. In addition, the wine frequently features bright citrus, apple, pear, mineral, and other flavors that go well with light seafood. Sparkling wine also goes well with seafood and poultry. In addition to that it complements salads as it is refreshing and light. It is best to match dessert wines with your sweet dishes, but it is not always a good idea because it could get overly sweet. You can definitely pair dessert with oaked and aged wines with nutty notes and fortified wines. If dessert is syrupy and extremely sweet, best would be to contrast with crisp and refreshing sparkling wine.
The combinations are not etched in the stones. However, a flavorful chicken and seafood dish that pairs nicely with a light, spicy-sweet white, a steak with a more decadent sauce, or a full-bodied, powerful red provides a tremendous flavor to French food. As a result, look for wines that complement your discovered flavors and spend some time tasting them. Don’t be limited to finding the perfect match. Instead, follow the advice above and then experiment with other flavors.
(The author is Senior Sous Chef at APCA Bangalore. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)