Raised in India but with the self-proclaimed soul of a Mexican grandmother, heart of an Italian mother, and aspirations of a French chef, WSET Diploma student Rashmi Primlani shares her love for food and wine through her blog The Primlani Kitchen. She tells us how education is her most powerful weapon.
How did your passion for cooking blossom into a love for wine and what spurred you to progress that love with formal qualifications?
From tantalizing aromas, lip-smacking flavours, viscerally thrilling textures, too soulful stories and unforgettable memories, both food and wine evoke mirror responses. Driven by the principle “strive to be better today than you were yesterday”, steered me in the direction of wine, especially since wine is a natural succession to food, and both unequivocally belong on the table.
Raised in a developing country (India), since childhood it’s embedded in us that education is the key to life and success. As Nelson Mandela aptly stated “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Personally, for me it was a no brainer, if I desired an intimate immersion into the world of wine, formal wine qualifications and guided classes were my gateway. Not to mention a personal challenge, especially considering I had no restaurant experience, nor any regular access to wines to hone my blind tasting skills.
After qualifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and VinItaly International Academy, what added value are you finding by studying the WSET Diploma?
While CMS jump-started my wine education, acquiring the Italian Wine Ambassadorship via VinItaly not only reinforced my respect and admiration for all things Italian, it triggered an insatiable quest for knowledge based on the simple realisation that wine is so much more than just alcohol, bragging rights for identifying wines, or focused on a handful of commercially successful producers. Wine should be revered as liquid art, created by tenacious tireless warriors, in pursuit of their lifelong passion.
While both CMS and VinItaly are self-study programs, WSET’s comprehensive study guides, online-resources, and cerebral educators at Level 3 and Diploma have provided me with an invaluable opportunity, where learning is limited only by one’s imagination. In-depth research in the fields of viticulture, vinification, industry insights, marketing, business, and global perspective of not only wine, but also spirits, enables me to divulge into the dizzying array of diversity, heritage, history, and future of wine (especially since I came from a culture of no wine), in turn nurturing this obsession into a successful wine career.
Why did you decide to start your blog and what do you hope readers take away from it?
One constant through my culinary experiences, regardless of the cuisine was either people loved spices or were completely intimidated by them. My culinary crusade included demonstrating dishes don’t require palate numbing, lip burning heat, just enough spice to create incredibly satisfying dishes, full of flavours, yet light on it’s feet and healthy. Keeping up with the motto “variety is the spice of life”, the blog aimed to introduce readers to the health benefits of cooking with spices and creating memorable meals from simple ingredients, regardless of the cuisine. And today I hope to continue enlightening and educating readers regarding this magical elixir we humble mortals call wine.
Having been raised around the culinary flavours of India, what is it about Italian food and wine that captures you above other cuisines?
Italy is an enchanting land of endless discoveries, dreams, and vino. Similar to India, Italy is one country where regionality is not only accepted, it is encouraged, revered, and passionately pursued. What makes Italy particularly alluring is unlike the yuppies of the west, who voluntarily surrendered tradition for consumerism; Italians, including the champions of change, the younger generation, confidently and with great pride wear their cultural identity as a comfortable cloak or second skin, while crusading their local region onto contemporary stature.
Be it gastronomical quickies or spell-binding and exhilarating culinary experiences, Italy offers a gamut of mouth-watering, food-friendly, wallet-savvy, outstanding wines waiting to be appreciated.
Driven by the principle “strive to be better today than you were yesterday”, steered me in the direction of wine, especially since wine is a natural succession to food, and both unequivocally belong on the table.
If you had to choose one, what would be your favourite food and wine pairing?
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, well in our case it’s all things sparkling. From a shimmering sip of a renowned Special Cuvée Champagne that holds its ground with nutty nuances of aged cheese such as king of cheeses – Parmesan. A dry Cremant de Loire (Chenin Blanc) that shines with sushi. The super-value dry Lambrusco Salamino from Italy, fabricated to enjoy the simple pleasures of bubbles, marries well with fatty foods such as charcuterie or a crisp Pizza Margarita. Spain’s budget-friendly Cava made via traditional method – think warm, buttery biscuits tickled with herbs. Boozy brunches with peach kissed Prosecco. A new world sparkling Pinot Noir dominant rosé or an off dry sparkling Riesling beautifully balances the heat of spicy cuisines such as Indian or Mexican, to the splurge-worthy seamlessly crafted bottle of Prestige Cuvée to cap off the evening, there is a bottle of bubbly waiting with your name on it to add some sparkle in your life and dish. Cheers!