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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Food Matching With Chablis at Inder's Kitchen‏

In an attempt to establish which take-away food matches best with Chablis, I called on the assistance of Inder Bull, owner of Inder's Kitchen.

Inder and husband Nick Bull gave up professional jobs in London and moved their family to Cambridge a few years ago to start an Indian food home-delivery business to almost instant acclaim: last year the business was a finalist in the 2012 BBC Food and Farming Awards.

All Inder's dishes are cooked individually using locally-sourced ingredients and, unlike traditional curry houses, the use of ghee and oil is minimised to keep the food as light as possible.

So, whilst heavy, thickly-sauced Indian curries are more "beer food" than wine-friendly, I figured a couple of lighter, more gently-spiced dishes might just be the thing to match with wines from Burgundy's most northerly region.

Chablis is located around 100 miles South East of Paris and grows only Chardonnay on Kimmeridgian clay with outcrops of chalk. The wines are linear, sharp and citrussy yet elegant and poised; "steely" and "mineral" often turn up in tasting notes for Chablis.

The lightest make good aperitifs whilst the fuller wines - from older vines on better sites with possibly a touch of oak - will match with food.

Inder prepared small portions of a number of dishes which I tried with each of the two wines to select the best match.

My two wines were a citrussy, mineral Laroche 2011 Chablis from Majestic and a more complex Dampt old vines Petit Chablis 2011 from Laithwaites.

I rejected the King Prawns with spinach as too green and herbaceous: this needs a tangy, aromatic Sauvignon or a full-bodied Gruener Veltliner. The Chepala Pulusu, a fiery, hot-sour dish, overpowered both wines and needs a ripe New World oaky Chardie or a big Gewurz with some residual sweetness.

Laroche 2011 Chablis (£13.99 Majestic)

Pure citrus fruit and refreshing acidity with a touch of pithy zestiness, this matches best with the Goan fish curry (£8.95).

The base of the sauce is rich coconut cream, sharpened up with a touch of tomato and ginger and flavoured aromatic coriander seeds, mustard seeds and other spices.

The fish, swordfish, is white, dense and very meaty - a pescatarian's chicken breast.

The initial sweet-sharpness of the tomato in the dish leads on to the ginger which lingers on the finish and matches perfectly with the zestiness of the wine.

Dampt Old Vines Petit Chablis 2011 (£12.49)

This has more texture and complexity than the Laroche and matches best with the Winter Vegetable curry (£6.25).

Oaky Chardonnay and coconut have a real affinity for each other and as soon as I tried this wine, I felt a gently-spiced coconut dish would match the creamy fullness of the texture.

The Winter Vegetable curry has a creamy coconut base with sweet aromatic cardomom, cloves and cinnamon.

The heat is mild and comes from green chilis, balanced out by the sweetness of peas and carrots. Some potato adds to the heartiness whilst green beans add to the aromatics.

The earthy, savoury nature of this dish matches well with the old-vine concentration of the Chablis.

Inder's Kitchen is based in central Cambridge; their free delivery service covers the city and nearby villages - full details are on the website.

Wines provided for review.

Other related articles
Inder's Kitchen at Cambridge Food and Wine Society

Laithwaites - website, twitter
Majestic - website, twitter
Inder's Kitchen - website, twitter

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