‘Easy Guide to pairing Indian Food & Wine’ authored by wine connoisseur, chef and food designer Michael Swamy, brought out in association with Seagram’s Nine Hills and published by Om Books International, demystifies wine and discusses its nuances and pairing with different foods, including Indian.
The book covers various chapters such as classification of wines, flavours and textures, clarifies terms such as dry, semi dry and sweet, major wines of India, tips on assessing wine, and includes recipes from various cuisines in India, along with suggestions on food pairings with particular wines. It is priced at an affordable Rs195, and is available on Amazon and Flipkart. The target reader? Anyone wanting to understand the world of wine: students, wine lovers, food lovers, and all those who want to learn about modern Indian cuisine.
Says Swamy, “The book demystifies wine for a novice, covering areas like types of grapes, glasses, wines, how to understand a wine in terms of color, flavor, aroma, etc. It also covers pairing in a broad sense to enable one to understand how one would pair wine not only with main courses, but with street food and desserts too. Finally, it brings out the aspect of wine as an ingredient in cooking too.”
For Swamy, who has always been interested in wines, the inspiration to write about the beverage was strong and kicking. Plus, he wanted to break myths about it. “As a wine lover, I have been enjoying wine and Indian food for a long time and as a chef, was always intrigued about imbibing the flavors of wine into Indian cuisine. So I kept experimenting with pairing as well as using wine in Indian recipes. Also, I noticed many others wanting to enjoy wine with Indian food but not knowing how to go ahead, I thought penning a book and sharing my knowledge would be a good idea.”
Nonetheless, he did a lot of research, compared notes with wine personalities, and discussed the beverage with connoisseurs to get a better understanding of notes and flavors. “The research was fun and exciting as, in a way, it was breaking new ground of playing with Indian dishes, spices and wines. I’ve been researching pairing and experimenting with dishes since I was working on my first book.” He reveals that the final process of zeroing in on the recipes and sorting out information took about a year.
Swamy found support from Seagram’s Nine Hills in bringing out the book. “They were the first to support the idea of bringing out a book in order to demystify wine for the general public. Most wine companies talk about pairing of wines with continental cuisine, and Pernod Ricard was the first to be open to the idea of pairing wine with Indian food. In fact, Nine Hills’ range of wines goes especially well with Indian food.”
Food enthusiasts can look forward to another book from Swamy – on spices this time. “It’s based on using spice blends in a not-so-obvious way. There are a few more exciting projects in the pipeline but I would like to keep the details a surprise.”