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Going bubbly

Good sparkling wine as an ingredient in your food? BT More gets Chef de Cuisine of Moët & Chandon Bernard Dance to tell you just how to whip up some mouth-watering dishes by adding a dash of the bubbly.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: December 30, 2007

Good sparkling wine as an ingredient in your food? BT More gets Chef de Cuisine of Moët & Chandon Bernard Dance to tell you just how to whip up some mouth-watering dishes by adding a dash of the bubbly.

Chef Bernard Dance
Chef Bernard Dance
The new year is almost upon us and it is always a good idea to crack open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. But, as Bernard Dance, Chef de Cuisine, Moët & Chandon, points out, not only is sparkling wine a great accompaniment with food, it is also a useful ingredient to put in your cooking. “It might ruin the bubbles and the first whiff of aroma that you get, but the high acidity content makes it ideal for cooking, particularly with vegetables, chicken and fish,” he says.

But wasting good champagne (or, for that matter, any sparkling wine) on food? Seems sinful, but not according to Chef Dance. “Wine has always been a great ingredient to cook with. It adds flavour to the food and also helps in the process of cooking. Champagne is the king of wines, and dishes prepared with sparkling wine have that little extra zing.”

Chef Dance prepared a dish with sparkling wine for us; not some exotic French dish but a rather surprising chicken preparation called Mast Tamatar Murg.

But isn’t Indian food too spicy? While Dance concedes that some Indian food is too spicy (by that he means ‘hot’) there are a lot of delicate flavours in some foods—like seafood and vegetable preparations, and for those, he

Mast Tamatar Murg with wine
Say cheers!
believes, sparkling wine is a perfect addition.

In fact, the chef says that for certain slow-cooked dishes, which require prior marination, “sparkling wine is actually a very good marinade because of the higher acidity levels in the wine.”

Of course, it goes well with Indian food too, and while Chef Dance recommends avoiding drinking champagne with really spicy food, and suggests a good Malbec from South America (preferably Argentina) with such food, he believes that well-prepared and moderately-spiced Indian foods are a perfect accompaniment to bubbly.

However, Chef Dance believes, you don’t need to serve really expensive food with this drink. “Caviar or Foie Gras is often served with a bottle of sparkling wine. Even a small lightly toasted piece of bread with a slice of Parmesan cheese or a fresh stick of celery goes fantastically well with good sparkling wine,” he says.

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