Beyond the realm of a simple garnish or a few accompaniments, the intriguing synergy between whisky and a delectable dinner menu is limitless to explore. With the holiday season in full swing, the warm and cheerful celebrations can begin by pairing your favourite whisky with a spread of exquisite culinary delicacies.
Recently, The Macallan and Avartana by ITC Hotels collaborated for a celebration of flavours and unveiled an innovative South Indian menu paired with some of The Macallan’s exceptional single malt whiskies.
“We are excited to announce our collaboration with Avartana—which ranked 30 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants—aimed at curating an immersive and unforgettable experience for our discerning consumers. The Macallan has consistently been synonymous with uncompromising quality and craftsmanship, and this collaboration serves as a testament to our steadfast commitment to delivering extraordinary moments,” mentioned Madhu Rajigani, brand ambassador for The Macallan in India.
The unique collaboration pairs the rich and complex notes of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, The Macallan Sherry Cask 12 Years Old and The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old, with a meticulously curated seven-course menu.
“I take pride in my homeland’s regional cuisine, which is known for its burst of rich, local South Indian essence. Consequently, the whiskies we chose to pair with it naturally complemented these complex flavours,” says Madhu Rajigani. “Every ingredient expressed its core flavours and takes you on a culinary journey, making this a unique and exciting paring.”
Manisha Bhasin, Corporate Executive Chef at ITC Hotels, agrees and adds, “South Indian flavours are very varied. At Avartana, Executive Chef Nikhil Nagpal and his team of gifted chefs bring a very innovative version of these familiar South Indian notes to the plate. This is what Avartana is all about, and the world’s leading single malt whisky, The Macallan, complements the menu beautifully.’’
According to Madhu Rajigani, the key to pairing the right whisky with one’s food is to recognise individual palate sensitivity and distinct flavour preferences to achieve a harmonious balance. “We often tend to overlook the fact that everyone has a unique palette. It was about understanding every element with regards to the whisky and food pairing. To begin with, we explored the food dishes first and selected the whisky accordingly, going beyond just the age statements, value etc.’’
Chef Bhasin adds, “The most important thing to remember when you’re pairing whiskies with food is vertical tasting or flavour intensity matching. The idea revolves around transitioning from lighter to stronger flavours. If you go with stronger flavours in the beginning, whether in food or whisky, then you won’t be able to enjoy something a little more subtle in the latter half.”
The bespoke menu curated for The Macallan X Avartana collaboration unveiled a symphony of South Indian flavours. The grandeur began with The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, impeccably paired with the initial three courses, followed by the smooth, balanced of The Macallan Sherry Oak Cask 12 Years Old for the main courses. From tempered bottle gourd with plum chutney, pan seared lobster to jackfruit/lamb conjee and the exquisite uthukuli chicken with malabar parotta & butter toffee — each dish stood as a testament to culinary finesse.
Yet, the crescendo arrived with the ethereal dessert—a fennel pannacotta adorned with angel hair caramel. Rajigani lauds its ‘hints of herbaceous, floral notes and creamy, velvet-like texture’ and declares it ‘a sublime complement to The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old.’
Pairing food with whisky is an art—an art that seeks to enhance without overpowering. This festive season, raise a dram to boundless pairing possibilities and transform ordinary moments into extraordinary gourmet experiences.