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Wine & Dine
July 22, 2014

A Sparkling Journey

Text by Viseshika Sharma

The Monmousseau sisters charm their way into our glasses as we join them for a celebration of fine wine and cuisine

  • Chef Marie and Juliette Monmousseau
    Chef Marie and Juliette Monmousseau
  • Bouvet Ladubay

As the deputy managing director at Bouvet Ladubay, Juliette Monmousseau has visited India regularly in the seven years that the wine producers have worked with United Spirits. We meet while she and her sister, Chef Marie, are in town to promote awareness of the Loire region in France, where their family has been in the wine business for five generations now. “In India, we work closely with United Spirits to promote pairing wines with food. The sparkling wine pairs very well with Italian, French or even Japanese cuisine, but it is also most enjoyable with the Indian foods I’ve had the opportunity to try, because it is so versatile,” says Juliette. Marie, who has been busy preparing to showcase French cuisine for a select few at the ITC Grand Central, joins us just then. “I like to make family-style food, so you’ll be eating what you’d eat with a typical French family,” she says. Marie has worked in London, Dubai and Paris, and is in the process of starting her own restaurant, while Juliette joined the family business six years ago, and moved back home from Paris only three years ago.

On her first visit to India, Marie is fascinated by the pots in the kitchen and has traded chilli powder from the South West of France with the chefs at the hotel, for Indian spices. As we speak, Juliette draws parallels between wine tourism in France and India. “We have 40,000 visitors each year at Bouvet Ladubay, and a lot of these are corporate events, but what people remember the most is having dinner in the wine cellars. Our guests become our ambassadors,” she says, going on to extoll the virtues of visiting Barahmati here in India. As a veteran of visits to India, she’s making sure Marie has the complete culinary experience, rushing straight from the airport to Gajalee, the famed seafood restaurant.

The sisters are effervescent – friendly and well-spoken, and a real pleasure to behold. We meet the next night at dinner, where Juliette joins our table for a rousing discussion about the wine industry in India, and requesting ‘Indian wine gossip’. Marie stops by to talk about the vibrancy of Mumbai. “I don’t know if Juliette and I will come back together, but I would like to visit again – next time I’ll cook less and eat more!”

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