‘The Art of Time’ is an interesting concept that tells the story of products with exceptional quality and how they benefit from the power of time, becoming even more precious over the years. Time brings out the best in various aspects, whether it is hospitality, luxury, relationships or in this case Fine Cuisine & Whisky…good single malt whisky.
Amongst life’s most fascinating experiences is matching whisky flavours with food aromas that enhance its taste. The world’s most celebrated spirit, whisky, speaks a common language of appreciation, when matched with food across global tables, tribes and traditions. From a humble beginning in the early `90s at elitist tables and a small group of enthusiasts, the concept has come into its own.
Across its journey, whisky gains flavours with time. Whether it is from grain, the fermentation or casks while ageing. The nosing and tasting notes offer a spectrum of taste profile, which is also the same as food. As such, chefs and diners are now approaching this concept far more than they did a few years back. ‘Drink Less, but Drink Better‘ seems to be the new motto! The concept has grown over the years, but more is still undiscovered, lending a sense of mystique and magic. Over the last decade, India has approached and paired various styles, textures, spices and cuisines with different whiskies with their distinctive flavours, and discovered that whiskies are quite complementing. There is always something about single malt whisky that can only be experienced to understand its fine nuances and complex notes. And when paired with food that complements its flavours, it is almost like attaining nirvana.
We decided to pair a whisky from the Islay region of Scotland and decided upon Bowmore 12 YO Single Malt Whisky as the whisky of choice as it goes well with a wide base of cuisines, covering a significant part of the globe. Subtle lemon and sweet heather honey complement Bowmore’s trademark peat smoke, leading to a delicious, long and mellow finish.
Bowmore, the oldest licensed distillery on Islay; has been refining the craft for over 240 years, and continuing to handcraft its malts even today. ‘The Art of Time’ is central to the way they make their whisky. They invest a lot of time at every stage of the process and have their own proprietary malt barns, hand-turning the barley, allowing for perfectly timed fermentation periods. They hand-select their casks, nosing every single one before it is filled with the new make. This care and attention to detail is what creates the complex balance of not just mild smokiness, but also maritime minerality, sea salt and fresh stone fruit notes which is so characteristic of its timeless house style. This is the reason why these whiskies age like no other, making it one of the world’s most collectible Islay malts today.
We tasted some signature dishes at The Leela Palace restaurants, selecting dishes that offer a harmony of flavours, pairing profoundly with these whiskies and also embodying the Art of Time. The chefs matched Asian and Japanese on one side, while pairing American and Italian on the other hand, to lend global flavours and then of course some amazing Indian. It was like tasting the world on a platter.
Talking about pairing whisky with food, Ashish Bhasin, Executive Chef, The Leela Palace, states, “It comes well together with the soft notes of the whisky, not overpowering the cuisine. In our pairings, we find quite a few revelations and interesting surprises. Though one thing is pretty sure, if you have patience, a broad view and you are not looking at the regular fare & style of eating, whisky and cuisine can be a great experience. This is a customised journey that you may wish to travel on, with your taste buds and a few like-minded partners.”
Classic recipes paired with Bowmore Whiskies by The Leela Palace.
Raan-E-Jamavar is the classic Indian dish which is marinated overnight with yoghurt, Indian spices and slowly braised for a 4-hour finish in the tandoor.
Le Cirque Pumpkin and Mascarpone Ravioli
Le Cirque signature homemade pumpkin and mascarpone ravioli, cooked in thyme butter sauce finish with basil foam and baby herbs.
Megu 24 hours Braised Pork Belly
Megu signature 24 hrs braised pork belly, slowly cooked with the sauce known as Kakuni which is predominantly flavoured with miso-soy-sake, is served on a bed of sautéed bok choy with kakuni glaze sauce and garnished with spring onions along with Karashi Japanese mustard.
Enjoy the experience and raise your glass to some good whisky! Slainte! Enjoy Responsibly!!