Wine has yet to be an Indian thing. Though India is moving towards westernization, many baby boomers retain a feudal or prohibition era mindset. These long held Indian beliefs have judged people who consume alcohol as if it’s a sin.
This is changing as India begins to modernize. Travel and exposure to other cultures has shown more and more Indians a more sophisticated view of drinking alcohol and, in particular, sipping wine with dinner.
Growing Up in India … Wine was Never a Thought
Hailing from a traditional Indian family, alcohol was a topic that was never discussed. Men never drank in front of women and children; they considered it as a sign of disrespect. As a girl, I was kept away from learning anything about alcohol at all. Growing up with alcohol was considered taboo, I never in my wildest dreams thought my career would end up being in the world of wine.
Living in California = Developing a Different Perspective on Wine
When I moved to California for college, I got to see, experience, and study about the wine industry. Naturally, I was very curious to taste it and was also intimidated.
I never was confident enough, because I had observed wine selected, poured, swirled, and then deliberately tasted. I couldn’t understand why all that fuss for a drink from a bottle? Why is wine considered such a fancy drink? I was entranced with this mystery of wine.
Curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know all about it, learn more about wine. What better way to know about wine than drinking it, right? Unfortunately for me, I was still underage and was not allowed to have any. I had to wait till I was 21, the miraculous age when I finally am permitted to consume alcohol. Well, that wouldn’t be for another two years.
My casual observations and business class discussions taught me rudimentary basics about wine and the business of wine. I knew wine comes in white, rose and red. I can’t be blamed for not knowing, and from there I made a sincere effort to learn.
My first time tasting wine, I could not get around the fact why people loved it so much and would pair food with it. In theory it sounded good, but not when I tasted it. To be honest I wasn’t very fond of wine in the beginning. As I started learning more about it, I surely developed a taste for wine and an appreciation for the differences in it. As I learned more, picking a good wine no longer was an intimidating problem.
Learning to Pair Wine with Different Cuisines
Since we were introduced, I have always loved Italian cuisine. My new found interest in wine only increased my love for it. This made me visit the Italian restaurants more often. Now, I always enjoyed a good wine with my pasta.
Apart from pasta I loved Indian food, but pairing wine with curry has been challenging (go with sweet whites!). Personally, I feel traditionally spicier Indian herbs and spices make pairing wine fun. I enjoy making my Indian styled Tapas to enjoy with a good red wine. I am excited to continue experimenting more by creating different Indian recipes that pair well with wine! Pairing food with Indian dishes is the “New Frontier” of wine for me and many Indians like me.
*Coming next week – Ideas on pairing wine varietals with international cuisines.