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I Gotta Peelin’

3 January, 2021

For thousands of years, humans have been in awe of the onion, a humble ingredient that has found its way into gastronomy, history and legend all over the world. Today, we celebrate this ubiquitous member of the Allium genus for the unmistakable flavour and texture it contributes to countless dishes. The oldest cultivated vegetable in history, human consumption of the onion is believed to have originated on the Asian continent, which is what brought our Chefs to India today. 

New City, Familiar Ingredient

The morning sun radiated over the Pink City, where past and present uncannily coexist under a cornflower sky. In this magical place, honking scooters careened through the dusty roads as Indian folk music emanated from an undetectable source.

The morning sun radiated over the Pink City, where past and present uncannily coexist under a cornflower sky. In this magical place, honking scooters careened through the dusty roads as Indian folk music emanated from an undetectable source.

Women garbed in vibrant saris occasionally heeded the calls of the eager vendors addressing passers-by in a hodgepodge of languages that made any single one indiscernible; it was easy to fall under India’s enchanting spell. 

Women garbed in vibrant saris occasionally heeded the calls of the eager vendors addressing passers-by in a hodgepodge of languages that made any single one indiscernible; it was easy to fall under India’s enchanting spell. 

From the fragrant marigold malas around their necks to the traditional Rajasthani treats they enjoyed at the banquet upon their arrival, the Chefs quickly understood that tradition reigned here in Jaipur.

From the fragrant marigold malas around their necks to the traditional Rajasthani treats they enjoyed at the banquet upon their arrival, the Chefs quickly understood that tradition reigned here in Jaipur.

In this historical city of kings, the onion is central to the full spectrum of local recipes – from street food to curries and fine Indian dining. Guided by Indian foodie, Kalyan Karmakar, the Chefs experienced the highlights of Jaipur’s culinary culture. 

In this historical city of kings, the onion is central to the full spectrum of local recipes – from street food to curries and fine Indian dining. Guided by Indian foodie, Kalyan Karmakar, the Chefs experienced the highlights of Jaipur’s culinary culture. 

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Through the lens of an insider
Upon Kalyan’s advice, this group started their initiation where the heart of the city beats, the street food district near the Garden of City Palace.
They began with a visit to Shiram Dal Fry, a stand owned by a 62-year-old gentleman, Hanuman, who specialises in traditional pyaz kachori fried snacks and dal fry made with lentils and seasoned with onions. The Chefs were all impressed by the freshness and simplicity of these recipes, which Indians enjoy every day.
A market to remember
From taste to touch, the next stops on this journey were the storage facility and market, both of which play important roles in Jaipur’s food culture.
At the onion storage, the powerful scent was unmistakable as the Chefs watched the giant hand-sewn sacks filled, weighed and transferred into trucks. Downtown, the market boasted enormous crates and sacks, along with piles of rainbow produce that were strewn everywhere save for the narrow walkways lined with motorbikes.
Merchants sporting a mix of jeans, polo shirts and ethnic attire sidestepped the mountains of root vegetables while balancing enormous bundles on their heads.

THE HAVELI PICNIC

There could not be more mesmerising a backdrop for the next leg of the adventure. With the scent of onions still on their hands, the Chefs, Julie and Éric gathered at an historical Indian townhouse, or haveli, to share a lunch together.

There could not be more mesmerising a backdrop for the next leg of the adventure. With the scent of onions still on their hands, the Chefs, Julie and Éric gathered at an historical Indian townhouse, or haveli, to share a lunch together.

At the makeshift rooftop picnic table, they would discover yet another facet of Indian dining culture: traditional tiffin carriers used by Indians to transport food, prepared at home, to work.

At the makeshift rooftop picnic table, they would discover yet another facet of Indian dining culture: traditional tiffin carriers used by Indians to transport food, prepared at home, to work.

While they all delighted in curries as fragrant as they were colourful, dozens of kites soared in the sky above the terrace. It was the International Kite Festival in Jaipur. After lunch, some of the Chefs humorously attempted this pastime to no avail. It mattered not if their kites caught wind, as good times were in flight.

While they all delighted in curries as fragrant as they were colourful, dozens of kites soared in the sky above the terrace. It was the International Kite Festival in Jaipur. After lunch, some of the Chefs humorously attempted this pastime to no avail. It mattered not if their kites caught wind, as good times were in flight.

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Together in this new and exotic place, united by a passion for our craft and a shared appreciation for Krug, a camaraderie took hold between us.

JULIE CAVIL
Krug Cellar Master

Together in this new and exotic place, united by a passion for our craft and a shared appreciation for Krug, a camaraderie took hold between us.

JULIE CAVIL
Krug Cellar Master
FAR AWAY, YET SO CLOSE
The next day, it was time for the Chefs to experience the quiet face of the region and see where the onion grows. When they arrived at the Samode Village, the Chefs were welcomed by one of the Yadab brothers, who runs the neighbouring farm with his 80 relatives, all of whom live on the property. The Samode farm only grows vegetables in season and on this day, onions – and friendships – were taking root. Shortly after their arrival, three of our hostesses prepared barbecued onions on a coal fire, which they all enjoyed in the open air. Needless to say, they quickly understood why Rajasthan is known for its hospitality and cuisine, which made this homecooked meal one of the trip’s highlights.
krug onion
Rituals of the craft

Despite the exotic surroundings, the familiarity of a kitchen setup awakened their craft, activating reflexes that know not the boundaries of country or culture.

Each had his own process, like Chef Izumi Kimura who ceremoniously stepped into his geta sandals or Chef Angus McIntosh, who partakes in the centuries-old Japanese art of Kintsugi and used a paint from chives to write “Krug” on his plate, contrasting with the gold that covered its healed-over scar. Chef Hiroyuki Kanda donned his hat and Chef kimono jacket. As they chopped, sliced, simmered and plated, the hypnotic mastery of their skill was transcendent.

Witnessing their careful concentration as they prepared these creative recipes, I was reminded of the similarities between the culinary art and that of Champagne creation at Krug. Both require you to assess each ingredient individually and artfully combine them to find their most generous expression of flavours and aromas.

 

ÉRIC LEBEL

Former Krug Cellar Master & Deputy Director of the House

Witnessing their careful concentration as they prepared these creative recipes, I was reminded of the similarities between the culinary art and that of Champagne creation at Krug. Both require you to assess each ingredient individually and artfully combine them to find their most generous expression of flavours and aromas.

 

ÉRIC LEBEL

Former Krug Cellar Master & Deputy Director of the House

A COLOURFUL FAREWELL
When it was time for the sun to set on this adventure, there was only one fitting way to say goodbye. The group marked this joyous occasion by celebrating the Indian festival of colours. There are many myths behind Holi, which represents the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. At this time of year, people take to the streets, dousing each other in coloured powder. The ritual brings everyone together, regardless of beliefs, making it an inclusive experience, much like the sharing of a bottle of Krug.

Cellar Master or Chef, the bond that forms between likeminded craftsmen is unshakable. In this spirit, each year at Krug, we come together to pay tribute to our savoir-faire. It is a time to recognise those individuals, winegrowers and onion farmers, whose dedication to the land brings us our single ingredients every day – a plot of vines, which, through its wines, composes a Krug Champagne; or beautiful onions with which our Krug Ambassade Chefs have created 11 inspiring recipes.

 

DISCOVER THE 11 CREATIONS

Krug Grande Cuvée
Krug Grande Cuvée
Composed by
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