At Benares we take our food and wine-matching very seriously. Our Group Wine Buyer, Costanzo Scala, answers some of our guests’ questions below…
1: What is the best thing about Indian food and wine matching?
It’s the fact that is a less travelled road and in that respect, it means you can be the first to discover some amazing matches. Indian Food matched with wine is like exploring and with that comes adventure, danger, excitement and surprises.
It is a very special time when you discover a food and wine match combination and share it with guests who enjoy gastronomic experiences
2: What is the trickiest combination to match?
In Indian food, without a doubt, it’s Chilli. . In fact the excessive use of chilli, besides taking your palate to extremes can causes an important numbness to your senses. Indian cuisine is possibly one of the most complex cuisine in the world and is reknown for its incredible array of spices. Sometimes up to 35 ingredient are present in a dish, Spices (and not chilli only) make it Indian cuisine unique & incredibly multidimensional….However if the use of chilli is is disproportionate all this wonderful layers of spices instead of amplifying on your palate could completely disappear. Especially when it comes to wine it’s very important that are the spices and their beautiful subtlness to be protagonist and not only the chilli I do strongly believe that everyone palate is different and everyone should enjoy what suits best their palate…however on the other hand it’s extremely important for me to stand by the core of my job which is the one to protect and enhance some of the most incredble Indian dishes ever cooked along some of the finest wines ever made!
3: What is your favourite match?
Tandoor Tiger Prawns with Mont du toit, Wellington, South Africa 2003
4: What do you think about Indian wines and do you serve them at Benares?
Indian wines are improving year by year. We feel that some of them are not yet ready to stand out in such a competitively market such as the UK/London (but they soon will be)…however the ones we have are very well recieved and positively suprise our more adventurous guests . We always keen to add more and more to our wine list.
5: What is the one grape you can’t live without?
More than Grape I couldn’t leave without certain styles of wine. I love creamy and buttery styles of white wine, and round medium bodied red wines with the right degree of fruit ripeness and oak!