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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Aishwarya Nair brings champagne culture to India

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times   January 25, 2013
First Published: 17:27 IST(25/1/2013) | Last Updated: 15:03 IST(26/1/2013)

The affair started as a mere liking but soon developed into a serious passion. Less than a decade into the relationship, wine connoisseur and epicurean, Aishwarya Nair’s sweet-n-citrusy bond with the bubbly achieved it’s crescendo on Tuesday when she was awarded with a Diplome d’ Honneur by the Corporation des Vignerons de Champagne and the Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) — world’s two top bodies for wine producers and champagne grape growers — for her contribution in promoting the champagne culture in India.

“Being the first Indian woman to receive such an honour is a feeling unlike any other... it makes lives’ difficulties worth it,” says the corporate food and wine consultant of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, who studied at the Culinary school in New York, but has been instrumental in educating Indians about wine and champagne. “I wouldn’t have imagined this honour when I started studying wine. I guess this is a great example of where passion can take you,” says the 27-year-old, who feels the champagne culture in India is developing at an accelerating speed.

Quick bytes with champagne 
The beauty of champagne is that it has the ability to pair with most cuisines, feels Nair. But if you want to know the best match, hear it out from the expert, herself. “I would recommend champagne as an aperitif with some fresh oysters for the perfect balance in food and wine. Richer, creamier foods tend to balance the acidity of the wine. Paneer tikka would be the best Indian bite to pair with a medium bodied champagne with more of chardo-nnay in the blend,” says Nair.


Champagne drinking etiquette

Six degrees is the ideal temperature to serve champagne
When it comes to champagne, glass flutes are generally the preferred choice
Always hold the glass by the stem so that you don’t disrupt the ideal temperature
To avoid spillage, use a napkin or paper tissue to cover the bottle while serving the drink
After opening a bottle, always place it in an ice bucket to maintain the temperature.


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