Nagpur Parsis: Wining & dining rings in Navroz

While festivals are all about loosening up, it was more so on Wednesday when the Parsi Gymkhana members decided to welcome their New Year with the Nagpur Wine Lovers’ Club along with a whole lot of free-flowing wine and dine.

By Payal Gwalani | Times of India

The club, that was also holding its quarterly meet on Wednesday, held sessions on food pairing too. What was exceptional about the topic was its special focus on combining the drink with Indian food, a topic that has been boggling many wine connoisseurs for years now. Most of those present agreed that diverting to fruits other than the traditional grapes and keeping the drink light and airy works well when it comes to the spices that abound in Indian food.

"We have experimented with many different fruits like jamun, belfal, amla and some vegetables too. There was one drink that was made by combining ginger, orange and honey. This concoction gelled exceptionally well with the heavy gravies in our cooking," said Ulhas Mohile, one of the founder-members of the club.

However, founder of Turning Point Wines Ashwin Deo discarded the idea of wine pairing as a western one. "We have a very different food culture and can’t copy the West’s wine culture blindly. We have to develop one of our own," he reasoned.

It is better to promote wine as a healthier alternative to the alcoholic beverages consumed in social gatherings, said another founder of the club Sharad Phadnis. Sunil Mankikar, a progressive farmer who promotes agro-tourism, believes that the shift to different fruits would help farmers as they can set up small plants near the farms to process wine.

Those celebrating the New Year were also enjoying the proceedings and the wines organized by the club. "It could have been two fun-filled evenings had the two events been held separately," said Shapur Gowadia. However, Rukshad Bhagwagar felt nice that many of his non-Parsi friends could also join celebrations.