Inside The MacAllan and Avartana's Exquisite Journey
Inside The Macallan and Avartana's Exquisite Pairing Experience with Madhu Rajigani

Madhu Rajigani, The Macallan's brand ambassador in India, unfolds the tapestry of their collaboration with Avartana, blending the rich flavours of whisky and South Indian cuisine

The collaboration between The Macallan and Avartana, the contemporary South Indian cuisine restaurant by ITC Hotels, created an unparalleled dining experience that intertwined the rich heritage and flavours of both brands. This was not just a testament to the art of food and whisky pairing but also a celebration of the intricate dance between distinct flavours and the craftsmanship behind them—an invitation to explore the boundless possibilities of pairing, where every delight and taste takes you on a journey through the rich tapestry of South Indian flavours and the exquisite world of The Macallan single malt whiskies.


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Following a successful unveiling in the heart of Delhi and later enchanting Mumbai at ITC Maratha, this dynamic partnership showcased a meticulously crafted seven-course menu designed to complement the complexity of The Macallan Double & Sherry Cask expressions, where each dish highlighted the essence of South Indian cuisine while embracing modern culinary techniques.


As we delve deeper into this fusion, Madhu Rajigani, Brand Ambassador for The Macallan shares his insights on this unique epicurean journey. 


How do you go about selecting the restaurant and the cuisine for the recent The Macallan food pairing. How did you zero in on Avartana? 

When selecting the perfect venue and cuisine for The Macallan gastronomy collaboration, thoughtful consideration was given to enhancing the nuanced and intricate flavours of The Macallan’s exceptional single malts. With both The Macallan and ITC sharing similar values and Avartana being recognized among Asia's 50 Best, the collaboration felt like a natural fit. This partnership offered an extraordinary experience, delicately intertwining the rich tapestry of The Macallan single malt whiskies with Avartana's modern South Indian cuisine.



Can you elaborate on the taste profiles that you worked with each of the four The Macallan’s that were served (Double Cask 12YO, 15YO, 18YO & Sherry Oak Cask 12YO)?

The tasting experience featured an exquisite pairing with four distinguished expressions from The Macallan: Double Cask 12 Years Old, Double Cask 15 Years Old, Double Cask 18 Years Old, and Sherry Oak Cask 12 Years Old. Each pairing was meticulously crafted to showcase timeless ingredients and classic flavour profiles. The journey of flavours were carefully orchestrated, starting with the first three courses harmonizing with the nuanced notes of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old. The fourth course transitioned seamlessly to the warm ginger spice and lingering creamy mouthfeel of The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old. The subsequent three courses found a perfect match with The Macallan Sherry Oak Cask 12 Years Old, offering a smooth, balanced, and complex pairing. To conclude the culinary journey on a sweet note, the indulgent Fennel Panna Cotta adorned with angel hair caramel was expertly paired with The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old. The overall tasting experience was a testament to the artistry of pairing, ensuring that each dish complemented the distinct characteristics of The Macallan expressions, resulting in a delightful and memorable culinary journey.



Food pairing is still relatively new to India, and even where it happens its generally involves wines. Do you see whisky having its day? 

In the evolving landscape of gastronomy in India, the realm of food pairing is gradually expanding, with wines traditionally taking the forefront. However, as patrons embark on a culinary journey, there is a discernible shift in the narrative, and the potential for whisky to have its day in the realm of food pairings becomes increasingly apparent. Understanding the distinctive harmony discovered in such pairings is crucial. It necessitates a heightened awareness of one's palate sensitivity and a nuanced exploration of flavour inclinations. The intrinsic flavours present in dishes can be elevated through meticulous consideration of whisky selections, particularly exemplified by the premium offerings of The Macallan. As India continues to embrace culinary diversity, the potential for whisky to take its place alongside wines in the art of food pairing is undeniably promising. The Macallan, with its commitment to uncompromising quality and craftsmanship, stands ready to contribute to this emerging trend, offering enthusiasts an opportunity to transcend the ordinary and indulge in the extraordinary. 


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What are the tips that you would give to someone who wants to do a pairing dinner at home involving The Macallan?

When orchestrating a pairing dinner at home, especially involving The Macallan, consider these tips for an exceptional experience. Firstly, acknowledge the distinctive harmony found in the culinary journey by understanding your palate sensitivity and flavour preferences. Delve into the exploration of whisky and food pairings by examining the inherent flavours of your dishes. Select a whisky, such as The Macallan, that complements these flavours, aiming for a seamless equilibrium that elevates the dining experience. Embrace the concept of vertical tasting, a method that involves progressing from lighter to more robust notes. Begin with pairings that feature lighter flavours and gradually move towards more intense profiles. This approach will allow enthusiasts to fully savour the intricacies present in both The Macallan whisky and the culinary masterpieces.  


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Of the expressions showcased at the dinner, which demonstrates the most versatility to pair with food?

Each expression of The Macallan is unique with regards to its profile and expresses diverse characteristics based on the elements of the dish. Having worked with award winning chefs, explored few pairings, curated few experiences, I believe The Macallan Double Cask range as one of the most versatile. The sweet, nutty, spiced, candied citrus notes of The Macallan Double Cask collection is a complex sensorial journey by itself balanced by the sherry seasoned American & European exceptional oak casks.


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It’s great to see The Macallan expanding its footprint in India. With so many single malt brands now available to consumers, what is it that makes The Macallan so unique?

The Macallan has long been synonymous with uncompromising quality and craftsmanship. The outstanding quality and distinctive character of each whisky is influenced by exceptional oak casks seasoned with sherry wine - a commitment to natural colour underpinned by mastery is what makes The Macallan so special.  

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