Wine, cheese and a whole lot more

Stars of the evening

When I received an email from GourmetItUp about a wine and cheese evening at Le Pain Quotidien, Colaba I was drooling looking at the mail. There was no doubt I wanted to go and I was hoping the husband would be game too. And yes, he was so we quickly confirmed our reservations. But like fate would have it, there was a turn of event, a good one at that, and the father-in-law and brother-in-law decided to join us too. Now there was more than one reason for me to look forward to Saturday evening!

So we trooped in to LPQ on a balmy Saturday evening and were greeted by Deepa of GourmetItUp who introduced us to Aneesh and Shiladitya of Indian Wine List. In a matter of minutes we were served the first wine, a lovely Viognier by Nine Hills. Aneesh introduced us to the wine and Shiladitya told us to expect some notes of honey, which we did. While the wine was smooth it was too sweet for my liking; my tastebuds lean towards the dry white wines. But I guess for someone who isn’t too much of a wine drinker, like the husband, it was the perfect way to begin. We sipped on the wine, debated about its notes and accents while nibbling one some delicious varieties of cheese – Smoked Cheese, Drunken Goat’s Cheese, Laita Brie, Gouda with herbs from Godrej Nature’s Basket along with some lovely fresh bread from LPQ.

The setting

As we took our seats at the huge communal dining table that occupies the pride of place at this very warm and rustic eatery, the appetisers were brought out; we had some chicken briochettes and roasted pepper and goat cheese tarts. Meanwhile the second wine slowly made its way to our tables, this one was a Reveilo Grillo, which we were told is India’s only Grillo. This wine had notes of citrus to it and wasn’t all that sweet so it went really well with the chilli cheese tartines, grilled asparagus and ricotta tartine with diced tomatoes and even the Goat’s cheese. We chatted over this wine, met the others at our table and generally had a good time when it was time for the third wine to be poured out. The Blue Cheese was also served and it was a sight to watch the husband’s expression when he sampled this!

This cheese was really creamy

Some of the appetisers

Now, I was really looking forward to this: it was a Chardonnay, my favourite white, by Fratelli. The wine was just like I’d expected it to be – dry, slightly acidic and notes of citrus. I was bowled over! This is one glass of wine I just kept taking little sips of so that I could savour it till it was time for dessert! Anyway the Chardonnay went brilliantly well with the roasted pepper and goat’s cheese tart, the dry wine was the perfect foil for the creamy goat’s cheese. Delicious!

The Roasted Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Tarts (centre) were scrumptious 

The next wine was a surprise, we were expecting a Shiraz because that’s what was in the sequence, but at the beginning of the tasting we were told there was a ‘mystery sampling’ in store. I was intrigued. As the red wine was poured out, I sniffed it as took a sip. This didn’t taste like a Shiraz, in fact, it didn’t look like one either. Was I already high? Turns out, there were others at the table who suspected the same thing. We saw Aneesh walking past and stopped him to check if we were right. He confirmed that it was indeed the mystery sample and asked us to keep guessing! It seemed like a Merlot to me, full-bodied and robust.

That’s a red alright, but which one is it?

Our main course arrived next along with the next wine, a Dindori Shiraz by Sula. I’d opted to have the Chilli Garlic Prawns with Asparagus, Leeks, Pok Choy and Roasted Potatoes; while this went alright with the red wine I thought it was the best with the Chardonnay. I know I’m biased because I’ve a soft spot for this wine but that’s what worked for me.! The prawns, of course, were yummy – full of flavour and a medley of textures with the contrasts of the meat pairing well with the crunchiness of the asparagus and pok choy which went well with the roasted potatoes. The husband had the Lamd Stew and the meat in this was wonderfully tender, almost falling off the bone! We also sampled some of the Grilled Basa and the Lasagne which were both lovely. While the lamb went very well with the Merlot, I preferred the Chardonnay with the fish.

The prawns, which I had as the main course, was a medley of flavours and textures

The last wine for the evening was a Cabernet, lovely, mellow and warm that paired with what I’d chosen for dessert – an Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream. The wine was light, mellow and easy on the tongue which made for a perfect finish. And the crumble, oh my, I’ve yet to taste such a buttery yet light crumble, the apples took on a form of their own – soft, warm and almost melting. Heaven!

Warm and delicious, this Apple Crumble was a fitting finale!

I think I’ve to stop writing now because I’m drooling. But I’ll say this before I end the post: It was a lovely evening, with some great people, yummy food and the best of Indian wines. That was really the winner – all these wines tasted world-class and it’s a matter of pride that they were all made in India.

PS: I was only carrying my phone so I didn’t have any great pics but the guys at GourmetItUp were kind enough to send me pics too.

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