H.E Andres Barbe Gonsalez
It’s only been a month and a half since I met this lovely bunch of people and the roller coaster ride continues. The group is now officially called “The writer’s collective- India” ( TWCI), and at the helm of affairs we have Avininder singh Ji aka the Foodie Surdie. Adding another feather in the cap was the invite to the Chilean Wine and food festival hosted by Pro Chile (Chilean promotion bureau) and the embassy of Chile at the Lalit Intercontinental, Delhi.We were invited courtesy Prestige wines who were showcasing their newly acquired brand Miguel Toress’ Santa Digna.
I entered the grand crystal ball room of the Lalit, the ceilings of which are adorned by gigantic magnificent crystal chandeliers. The crowd was a pleasant mix of people from different walks of life which included media reps, the diplomatic junta, wine connoisseurs, food bloggers amongst others. The layout of the venue was conveniently demarcated into wine and dine section. The wine section featured major Chilean wines .This was the fifth version of this festival and was being hosted by Lalit for the third consecutive year. His excellency Andres Barbe Gonsalez, the newly appointed Chilean ambassador to India inaugurated the festival.
Chile with its diverse topography, ethnicity and climates has always fascinated me. It is the land of Pablo Neruda, one of the greatest poets to have ever lived on this planet. Currently one of the most prosperous nations of South America, Chile has come a long way. It’s ranked the 7th highest worldwide in terms of economic freedom and leads in the South American continent. Another remarkable feat achieved by this nation was replacing Australia and becoming the 4th biggest exporter of wine in the world.
With 14 wine regions, Mediterranean climate, mineral rich soil and the proximity to melting snow from Andes, this country is a wine maker’s paradise and the 9th largest producer of wine in the world. Although the country’s long viticulture history began in the 16th century when it was a Spanish colony, it has also been influenced by French winemaking. Luckily for us we got to savour a variety of these exquisite wines at the festival. Most major exporters of Chilean wines registered their presence and provided sampling of their products. There was ConoSur which is the 2nd largest brand worldwide, 5th largest producer of pinot noir and the largest exporter of wine out of Chile, and is being distributed in India by Sula Vineyards. They also had the most beautiful counter at the event with rose petals strewn all over and beautiful red candles. High Spirits brought the Chilean wine Anaken. Prestige wines and spirits were tasting wine Miguel Torres Santa digna. It was the debut of Nature’s bounty wines with their newly acquired brand Balduzzi wines. Agnetta International served different varieties of their premium wines from Valdivieso. Brindco sales Limited were tasting their wine Montes Reserva while Hema Connoisseur collection were tasting Wine Emiliana.
Now let’s move on to another interesting facet of the evening- FOOD.
Chile’s multi-ethnicity has profoundly influenced and contributed to its cuisine. Its long coastline and proximity to the Pacific Ocean provides a huge array of seafood .The topographical variations coupled with a temperate climate also bless the country with a huge variety of fruits and vegetables.
We got to savour some of these high quality gourmet products, which paired well with the wines, at the event. The evening witnessed the launch of an exclusive variety of Salmon Trout, which is a kind of fish from the Pacific Salmon Family. The starters were superlative. My personal favourites being the Goat cheese tarts with caramelised onions and Cheese mousse with kiwi. The main course showcased a plethora of meat dishes which were ravaged happily by my friends. There were New Zealand lamb chops, pork chops and the pink salmon. The spread was a complete delight. I would also like to acknowledge the effort made to incorporate vegetarian dishes in the menu. It was truly a commendable.
Here are a few recommendations from my charming companion for the evening and wine expert, Somnath Chatterjee-
1. Sula wines- Cono sur wines- Their chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon white wines went well with the sea food (prawns, salmon, canapes)
2. Brindco wines- Montes Pinot Noir limited selection- The red wine perfectly blended with lamb chops and pork
3. Miguel Torres wines- Torres Corillera- Their chardonnay- white wine tasted the best with salmon and sea food
4. High spirits- Anakena Vineyards- Sryah rose wine- best of the lot (this one was a favourite with most members of my team), paired well with the smoked turkey
The evening lived up to my expectation with exquisite wines, delicately flavoured food, and some great company. Thank You Avininder ji for making me a part of writer’s collective and enriching my life with such cherished experiences.