Consumables Depot

Join us as we traverse the world with a fork and a glass, tracking developments in the world of food and drink.

Print Edition: July 25, 2010

Famous Grouse celebrates its 30th anniversary with a limited edition gift box of the final 1980 bottles of its award winning 30 Year Old blended malt. The malt was first released in 2004 and is the jewel in the crown of Grouse's blended malt range-a project undertaken by The Edrington Group's former master blender, John Ramsay.

A collector's item, the bottles bear a seal confirming that they are the last of Famous Grouse's 30YO blended malt, and are accompanied by a certificate from Ramsay. The deep ambercoloured whisky has notes of pineapple, citrus oil and cedar wood and, as you'd expect of a well-aged whisky, has a lingering sweet finish.

Executive Chef Narayan Rao has given Delhi's Aman restaurant a new Indian menu that seeks to resurrect the grandeur of the Mughals while remaining light and simple, and each item using only the freshest of produce and limited ingredients. The starters include the ubiquitous Dal ka Shorba, Makai ki Tikki and Reshmi Kebabs. But it's in the main course that Rao is looking to be different.

Regional flavours rule here, as do three levels of chilly-dom. Kashmir enters the restaurant with a fiery roganjosh cooked in ground red pepper. The Hare Masalay ka Keema represents a milder Hyderabad with the aromatic flavours of coriander, green chillies, mint and curry leaves while Lucknow is represented by a delicate, elaichi-seasoned Korma. For vegetarians, the key offering is Achaar ke Aloo, which is cooked two days before it is served in order to give the pickled spices enough time to seep into the potatoes. There is also Baingan ka Bharta and the Paneer Capsicum Bhujiya-to be enjoyed with naan and rice.

Desserts are a mix of desi and international, so you can end your meal with a Masala Crème Brulee with Pistachio Tuille or Yuzu Lemon Cheese Mousse with Raspberry Cousli and Persimmon. For those looking for comfort food, there's always Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream. Average meal for two: Rs 2,500 plus taxes. For reservations, call: 011-43633333.

Rooted in beer, tastes like tequila. Any takers? Royale Hopquila is the latest mish-mash from New Holland Brewing of Holland Michigan, which makes craft whiskey, rum, gin and vodka. The new offering is a fermented wash of 100 per cent barley, twice distilled, and then steeped with Centennial hops.

Think of it as un-aged whiskey that has the hoppy notes of beer with some of the citrus and floral notes of a tequila. The bottle is adorned with a Mad Hatter-like figure- fitting since the creation itself is a bit of a mad experiment. The makers say the spirit has a grain-centric body framed by a citrus-laden hop character in the nose and finish. So far it sells in just a few states in the US and costs $35 (Rs 1,600).

Did you know that outrageously fragrant onions and garlic can kill microbes and repel insects, but damage the red blood cells of dogs and cats? Or that the two are as explosive as gunpowder? These newsbytes can be found in chemist Eric Block's book Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, a welcome treatise on the allium family. The writer sorts out all the allium flavours, explains how they evolve on the cutting board and stove, and expounds on the chemistry and treatment of garlic breath.

How's this for whisky with a twist? The Moet Hennessyowned Scotch brands Glenmorangie and Ardberg recently released kosher single malts for the US market. The specific offerings are Ardbeg 10 Year Old, Glenmorangie Astar and Glenmorangie Original. The kosher certification is given by the Orthodox Union, an educational, outreach and social service organisation which serves the North American Jewish community.

This supervises the process by which the whisky is created, examines the raw ingredients used and regularly inspects the companies' distilling and bottling facilities to make sure that its standards are met. To quality for the kosher certificate, a whisky cannot be aged in wine casks of sherry or port, dual casks, French casks and European casks; have a port finish, madeira finish, dual finish or triple finish; or be double matured and/or triple matured.

In April 2010, Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet 10 YO, 14 YO, 16 YO, 21 YO and 33 YO were granted 'OU' certification. Jamesons Irish Whiskey, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey (regular only; not those aged in sherry casks) and Canadian Mist are already considered kosher; other blended whiskies are acceptable only with certification.

The Moet Hennessy brands hope to reach out to the Jewish community with the new move, as OU serves all the Jewish communities in North America and its symbol can be found in 80 countries across the world. The company says products with new packaging and promotional material bearing the 'OU' symbol will be distributed in the US over the next few months.

If you've ever added a little bit of liqueur to whipped cream, you know how decadently delicious it can be. With Whipped Lightning, alcohol-infused whipped cream is now available in a can so you can squirt it directly into your mouth. The grainalcohol- infused product comes in flavours such as Cinnamon, White Chocolate Raspberry and Amaretto Whipahol. While the cans do not need to be refrigerated, they can't be left in a hot car either. Labelled as an alcoholic beverage, Whipped Lightning sells for $10 (Rs 460) a can.

A host of restaurants in New York City, both new and old, are refusing to take reservations for tables. In other words, a populist first come-first dine ethos rules. Freewheeling foodies who love the casual feel of walk-in-only restaurants, love the new way of life. For others-particularly those who value time over money and like to plan their leisure activities down to the last detail-it is infuriating, often to the point of their shunning these restaurants totally.

It's also put paid to official entertainment at these places. After all, you can't have a client wait an hour for a table. Rick Camac, whose restaurant Fatty 'Cue has a no-reservation policy, says: "The rise of wait-your-turn dining may simply be a function of the economy. The downturn has dictated more casual restaurants, where people are looking not for uptight service or high price points -and often that means no reservations." He may be right. Around NYC, check averages in restaurants have shrunk. But now, with no-reservations customers invariably being younger and less affluent, the slide may just get more acute.

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