Raise a toast to happiness

Feb 10, 2012, 06:53 IST | Anjali Jhangiani
The Guide chatted with Michelin star chef Natascia Santandrea from Italy who is in town to host the wine and food pairing session at Alto Vino

"I grew up in the restaurant breathing the food and wine's fragrance," says Natascia Santandrea, while she is ready to assist her guests in choosing a glass of wine to compliment their palate. She has 24 years of experience of tasting wine and serving the perfect glass to her guests in her restaurant, La Tenda Rossa.

Her restaurant is credited with a star and four forks from the Michelin guide and has received prestigious recognition from other institutions as well. "Sipping a glass of wine along with supper is very natural to Italians," informs Santandrea, who is eager to find the wine suitable for an Indian palate during her visit to India.

"Spices are used in Italian cuisine to bring a flavour to the food which may even be mild at times. But in India spicy means hot," says Santandrea. She makes it a point to eat only Indian food while she is in the country to study the cuisine closely and claims to have developed a liking for the spicy fare as well.

Natasha and Cristain at Alto Vino

"Sipping wine is a very personal experience. When you already have a craving for a certain taste of wine, you walk in to the restaurant and order it. But when you are given a menu of over 1,200 varieties of wine to choose from, you might need a little help deciding what will suit you best.

This is where I step in to help you make your choice," says Santandrea, who finds Indian brands such as Sula apt to compliment Italian cuisine as well. "You can pair wine with your food based on the intensity of the flavours. Sometimes the wine that appeals to you might even depend on your mood or how your day has been," says Santandrea.

Crem Caramel at Alto Vino

The wine expert is in town with her brother Cristian, who is a genius in the kitchen. "I am on a trip for work but I am enjoying myself here. The work culture is very professional. My assistants in the kitchen follow instructions with precision and are eager to learn new kitchen tactics," she says.

The brother-sister duo will be cooking authentic Italian preparations such as Sorprassata Di Pollo, Crem Caramel and Fusilli Caserecci Con Anatra and will also help you select the perfect wine to compliment your palate, mood and personality.

At Alto Vino, Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre, Senapati Bapat Road.
Call 66833333

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