Get to know your Guinness

The best-known of Irish beers, Guinness has taken the world by storm since its inception in the 1770s. It is now brewed in 49 countries and sold in more than 150, and it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing Guinness on tap. And it’s all due to Arthur Guinness, the original brewer, whose porter recipe took off. According to Guinness, Arthur Guinness originally brewed ale and only started making porter in the 1770s due to some competition from other brewers.​ The Guinness Extra Stout has an unmistakable deep-dark colour with a crisp hint of roasted barley, a breeze of hops and a refreshing bite​ while the Guinness Draught is smooth, very creamy and slightly heavier.

Guinness was one of the first trademark-protected products ever. According to the brewery, the company came up with a trademark label in the 19th century to “protect the Guinness name” overseas. That includes the harp on the label and the signature of Arthur Guinness

The brewery is also behind the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1954, the head of Guinness, Hugh Beaver, got into an angry fight with someone and decided to assign an official reference guide to solve all disputes. It was originally a promotional item Guinness gave to bars who stocked the Guinness brew!


Deposit your Cheese Here Please!

The Bank That Accepts Parmigiano Reggiano as loan collateral

For years, Italian bank Credito Emiliano (Credem) has accepted Parmigiano Reggiano as loan collateral offered to producers of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese. According to the Harvard Business School case study, if producers are unable to repay their loans, or if prices fall and the value of the collateral does not support the outstanding debt, Credem may sell the cheese it holds to cover any potential loss.

Parmigiano Reggiano sold in the EU must be produced in and using milk from a handful of areas – Parma, Reggio, Emilia, Modena and parts of Mantua and Bologna.The hard cheese, made using raw cow’s milk, must be matured for at least 12 months.

According to the Harvard case study, Credem is investigating whether its Parmigiano Reggiano model can be applied to other agricultural products.

A look inside a typical Parmigiano Reggiano bank


Balblair 2003

balblair 2003

Appearance: Balblair 2003 is golden amber in appearance.

Aroma: On the nose there are the signature Balblair aromas: floral and fragrant punctuated with citrus fruits, apricots and honey.

Palate: On the palate it is full bodied, with notes of oranges, lemon, honey and spice.

Finish: The long lasting finish is sweet yet spicy; a superbly well-balanced dram.

Arola Celebrates Its Third Anniversary!

By Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier & CEO at All Things Nice 

Chef Sergi Arola hosted a small group of people including me to celebrate the third anniversary of Arola at Mumbai’s JW Marriott. The group was made up largely of fellow wine writers, chefs and bloggers invited by the Food Bloggers Association of India.

Arola is Chef Sergi’s India outpost. For the uninitiated, Sergi specializes in cuisine from Catalunya, Spain with multiple Michelin stars at various establishments across the globe. The excellent Chef Manuel is at the helm of the restaurant in Mumbai and an all around star in general. Sergi spends his time globetrotting and looking over his restaurants in Istanbul, Spain, Portugal and other parts of the world.

The dinner started off a little quiet with my fellow diners more interested in tweeting about their food and drink rather than actually eating and drinking.  Things seemed to find some balance eventually over endless Martini’s interrupted by Gin and tonics (we were after all at a gin bar) and the night unfolded into conversations about food and music. We had the resident DJ playing Led Zeplin as we chowed down on some delicious food.

Here’s the menu for the evening

Manchego Cheese

Jamón Ibérico

Iberian Ham served with Pan-Tomato


Salmon Ahumado, Queso de Cabra, Esparagos Blancos

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, White Asparagus

Patatas Bravas

‘Bravas de AROLA’, Fried Potatoes, Filled with a Spicy Tomato Sauce 

Pollo de Corral

Chicken Wings, Deboned and Lacquered with Spices

Gambas al Ajillo

Prawns, Garlic, Fresh Red Chili, Fresh Parsley

Coca de Pollo Moruno

Moruno Chicken, American Corn, Coca

Coca de Verduras

Sauteed Vegetables and Bocconcini Coca

Arola Special Seafood Paella

Arola Style Vegetable Paella

Huevos y Canela

Caramelized Eggs, Cinnamon”Crema Catalana”,  Mandarin Sorbet

Baileys Truffle with Coconut Mousse


Arola is Mumbai’s only Spanish restaurant, well there could be one more but I don’t think they are in the same league. I actually love the vibe of the place; they have a beautiful lounge section at the far end ahead of the bar that opens out to the JW pool below and the sea. The bar itself is probably one of the coolest bars in Mumbai, the food is super and the wine selection is good. On a personal note I have always loved Spanish cuisine and wine. I do hope that we see an influx of standalone Spanish restaurants that are accessible to everyone. Until then, thank you for being around Arola.

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All Things Nice

ATN Logo with website high res - JPEG

All Things Nice or ATN is an Indian consultancy firm that specializes in luxury wine and spirits. All Things Nice was established in 2010 by Nikhil Agarwal and today has 262,000 members and organizes approximately 500 wine and spirit related experiences, annually. Based in Mumbai, the company works with large wineries, spirit and gourmet food companies, hotels and restaurants and large corporates.

Having diligently curated a rich list of corporates and consumers, All Things Nice plans to expand its portfolio to include Arts, Luxury Homes, Auto, Luxury Travel and Style.


For Restaurants, Bars, Hotel Chains, Modern Retails Stores and Airlines

  • Menu Engineering
  • Staff Training
  • Marketing
  • Beverage Program

For Global Wine & Spirit Companies

  • On-ground marketing and sales support
  • Market Intelligence
  • Import, Distribution & Warehousing solutions
  • Events and Launches
  • Winery Setup
  • Training for F&B team

For Corporates using wine, spirits and food as a medium

  • Brand Launches
  • Client Engagement Programs
  • Client Acquisition Programs
  • Employee Engagement
  • Corporate Gifting
  • Private Wine Labels

For Consumers

  • Fine Dining Events
  • Single Malt Tastings/Dinner
  • Cognac Tastings
  • Wine Tastings/ Wine Dinners
  • Wine Festivals
  • Consumer Training
  • Private Tastings
  • Vineyard Trips
  • International Trade Fairs

Hendrick’s Gin

First launched in 2001, Hendrick’s Gin has been the success story that has set the bench mark for modern gin brands. Seeing a gap in the market, William Grant and Sons decided to release a premium gin in 1999. Working with their famed Malt Master David Stewart and Lesley Gracey they developed a flavour profile for the gin inspired by eating cucumber sandwiches and British gardens.

In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick’s uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavour. Hendrick’s distills in miniscule batches of 500 litres, which gives our master distiller even greater control of his careful artistry.

Here’s a recipe for the classic Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic

  • 50ml Hendrick’s Gin
  • 150ml Tonic Water
  • 3 Thinly sliced rounds of cucumber

Fill a high ball glass with cubed ice. Combine all ingredients and give a gentle stir. Garnish with 3 thinly sliced rounds of cucumber.

Gin and Tonic

Outlook Business Gourmet

Article by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice features in Outlook Business Gourmet.

For the longest time our options in terms of cuisines and gourmet foods available in India were limited. We had restaurants serving Indian cuisine and Indianised versions of Chinese and Italian cuisine and that was it. The hotels had the nicer restaurants and the stand-alone restaurant in India was pretty average.A trip to the local grocery store to buy cheese was limited to processed cheese and cheddar with a few other very basic ingredients.Sometimes to understand just how far we’ve come its good to look back and see what the gourmet reality was even just some fifteen years ago.

To understand the gourmet food sector in India it’s important to begin with talking about the Indian consumer and understand him better. The average Indian consumer has more money to spend than ever before. He is a lot better travelled and is becoming more aware about different food cultures from around the world. He is better informed on food trends and even if he doesn’t move out of his room all he would have to do is skip through all the hundreds of channels available to him and he would have an opportunity to watch at least seven to ten different shows on food and food culture.

The Internet in terms of general content online and especially posts on social media like facebook, twitter and instagram would make it impossible for him to not be exposed to gourmet food. It’s not surprising therefore that food and restaurants have taken on such importance in the last few years. The Masterchef phenomenon is unbelievable, how many people are hooked, watching the show almost every night, watching contestants whip up gourmet dishes. It’s impossible to eat everyday food after watching these shows.

The buzz is everywhere, people are discussing their favourite restaurants and dishes and vacations are being planned around gastronomy and wine. Think back ten years ago and you wouldn’t notice this serious interest. This is all relatively new. This consumer is becoming more evolved and demanding which in turn is forcing food businesses to up their game.What’s really interesting here also is that this consumer is willing to pay more to get a better gourmet product or experience and that our palate is ready to try out various cuisines. A Chinese restaurant serving more authentic cuisine or a pizzeria serving a more traditional Italian style of pizza has far more takers than before. As any society becomes more sophisticated with basic and secondary needs being taken care off people often spend their disposable income on food, drink and other lifestyle products. In India to see this happening everyday and again we must remember that it has only just begun.

As India becomes a global business hub the number of people from all over the world that choose to make India their home will also increase. You can see it all around you, they bring with them their own food and drink cultures and create a demand that needs to be met. I find it very interesting to see expats shopping for vegetables at the local markets. The local markets have understood this new demand and are not only selling ingredients and gourmet products for this international customer but in a lot of cases have even learnt to communicate with them in their language. Don’t get me wrong I don’t peg India’s gourmet status with expats but I do certainly understand the value of what people with different cultures from around the world will bring to the gourmet world in India.

When I was twenty years old at the beginning of my career my food choices were limited. Can you imagine what the food world looks like to a twenty year old now? He can choose cuisines from all over the world; he can walk into a modern retail store and choose from a wide array of gourmet products and wine for that matter.It’s not new to him; he’s growing up exposed to it. The pace at which the culture for food and wine will change and evolve is unimaginable and every year the speed of change will increase.

One way to measure just how important gourmet food and wine has become in India is to realize that Chefs and Sommeliers are being given celebrity status and that corporates and banks are using food and drink as a medium to engage their clients or acquire new ones.

Modern retail stores like Godrej Natures Basket for example have changed the game. The number of options for every category of food available is staggering.  There are imported fruits, organic vegetables, a range of coffees and teas, truffle oils and even artisanal pastas. Not only do you have cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, Gouda available but you have aged options of the same cheeses available as well. Charcuterie is not limited to ham and bacon but people are buying Salami Milano, Iberico and Pata Negra.  Even the chocolate world has changed.People do not want the same quality and brands that were available earlier. Our market place is capable of absorbing even high priced and ultra superior quality chocolates like Royce from Japan for example.

The availability of these ingredients and gourmet products has also led to a lot of experimentation with food at home making gourmet food even more popular.Technology is such a big contributor; we have applications for our smart phones that allow us to order food, to give reviews and to read them. Everybody is suddenly a food critic.

Rahul Akerkar broke the mold by creating Indigo, a superstar of a stand-alone restaurant. This was not only a revolution in terms of food but for the first time a serious wine strategy was in place that most hotels themselves had not adopted.We got to have a fine dining experience for the first time outside of a hotel. Since then the stand alone restaurant space has exploded with new restaurants opening almost every week. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore see most of the action but cities like Gurgaon, Chennai and Hyderabad are also coming along quick.Kolkatta is slow but also on its way. Even in Goa, which has always been, known for its great sea food is starting to see more options than the humble Goan curry.

Molecular gastronomy has also made an in road with restaurants like Masala Library becoming huge success putting a spin on Indian cuisine. On that note there are restaurants that are also transforming the way Indian food is presented. Take for example Bombay Canteen and Indian Accent. Restaurants serving regional cuisines are also becoming popular. Indian food is one of the greatest cuisines on the planet and it so interesting to see modern takes on this cuisine. Having said that the Indian restaurants at the ITC hotels and the like have been centers for world class gourmet indulgences for the longest time.

New big global hotel chains are also coming into the Indian market and existing hotel brands are increasing their footprint. Each hotel opened adds more dining options and competition being healthy the quality of food and beverage. The expat chef was once only at the top five star hotel restaurants in India but now stand-alone restaurants are also bringing Chefs from various parts of the world to create something new and exciting. Chef Alex at The Table, Chef Kelvin at Ellipsis haveadded so much to the gourmet scene in Mumbai for example. The Table also sources some of it’s ingredients from its own farm in Ali bagh.

There are so many events taking place around gourmet food all the time. Cooking demonstrations, wine and food dinners, pop up restaurants, special Chef’s menu’s, visiting international Chefs you name it. There is a sharp increase in activity revolving around food events that makes this a very exciting time in India. So much so that venture capitalist are funding F&B businesses aggressively.

Watering holes are also taking gastronomy very seriously. The gastro pub has finally arrived and microbreweries are serving top gourmet food along with their stellar beers. Woodside Inn has spent a lot of energy and time in creating delicious dishes that go beyond the usual eats that you would find at a bar. I particularly like what Chef Manu Chandra has done with Monkey Bar. It’s varied and so different from anything else. Infact don’t be surprised if you find yourself going more often for the food rather than the drink.

Restaurant brands from London and elsewhere are opening all over India. Hakkasan, Maritime by San Lorenzo, Le Cirque, Wasabi and Arola by Chef SergiArola to name a few. Jamie Oliver is slated to open up his restaurant in Delhi in the very near future. However this is just the beginning, we haven’t even really scratched the surface yet. Mumbai and Delhi have only just started their journeys to become global destinations for food and as we get richer the quality of what’s on offer will also change dramatically. One key element that we must note here is that we do have one of the finest cuisines on the planet and in a sense we have always had a great food culture the only thing that was lacking was options and innovation.

Private party caterers no longer offer the traditional basic fair. They offer a fusion of food from all over the world, presented and plated to perfection. Gourmet food at weddings has been taking to another level where even international Michelin star Chefs are being flow down to cater to their guests. The concept of sit down wine dinners at home where top end wines and food is sharply on the rise for those food and rink enthusiasts who are looking to experience the next gourmet experience.

Wine becomes extremely important when it comes to any gourmet experience and I do think that wine as a category is currently piggy backing on food but in the future interest in wine will generate interest in gourmet food as well. The trend of consuming food and drink together is also on the rise. Our culture has always been one of many drinks followed by dinner and that would be the end of the night. I think the younger generations are beginning to do it differently and more importance is being given to eating and drinking at the same time like the western world. I see this at All Things Nice quite a bit as our wine dinners and dinners paired with single malt have become increasingly popular. There is no better pairing for food than wine and you do see a number of restaurants improve the gourmet experience by having in house sommeliers who are able to guide guests on which wine to have with their food.

Last as I begin to sign off there are gourmet food trucks that are about to unleash themselves on Indian roads adding to the plethora of options in the gourmet world. Perhaps one easy way for me to drive home my point on gourmet food in India is to ask a very simple question. Practically everyone you know wants to start a restaurant or a bar right?