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The Revolution Of The Multiple (Italian) Wine Bottles On The Chinese Table

chinesecuisines-itwines.com by 05/02/2021  

It is essential to lose the western approach to food and wine pairings and consider the food habits of the Chinese people. In fact, Chinese people are not used to eat their food one at a time. Otherwise all the dishes are served at the same time on the table. That’s why we mustn’t be surprised if there are 5 different dishes and 5 different wines on a Chinese table during a typical banquet. It is simply: there are 5 dishes on the table, so we need to serve 5 different wines at the same time.

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Chinese people are used to face tasting challenges, rapid variations of flavours on the palate as well as to cope with different food textures. This is a complete chaos from a western point of view, but for the Chinese people this is the ordinary way if eating. The palate of the Chinese customer is able to detect the different ingredients, even if he is eating ten different foods. Moreover, the Chinese customer pays attention to the character and typicity of every single dish, so he is able to identify the bad cooking technique among ten or more different foods.

We mustn’t deal with the Chinese market using western criteria, least of all be biased about the Chinese gastronomic skills. We have to be open-minded, understanding that food and wine pairing is also a playing and entertaining experience. The customer needs to enjoy his meal, so it’s better to avoid strict pairing rules.

Western pairing rituals must be set aside to talk with the Chinese market. This is not weird, we have only different food habits and we must be open-minded to talk effectively to the Chinese wine consumers.

Mixing ten, twenty or more different foods at the same time doesn’t mean that there’s a chaos on the table. In fact, the Chinese customers pay attention to every single dish that they are going to eat. Yet again, we mustn’t think to pair Chinese foods and Italian wines with our pairing rules. Chinese customers are very careful when it’s time to eat and they don’t allow themselves to be fooled with a single bad cooked dish.

Sommelier must handle the pairing with particular care. In fact, it would be better to have different options for the same banquet in order to meet the needs of the customers. This wide range of different foods at the same time on the table requires a skilled sommelier, able to predict the feasible and most adaptable wines.

Chinese consumers are used to drink the powerful red wines from Italy, like Amarone della Valpolicella or Barolo DOCG or even Sassicaia, but there’s a lot of undiscovered wines that can easily cope with the Chinese cuisine like Moscato, both dry and sweet, Dolcetto and Prosecco.

The Italian wine has done a good job in the last decade, but there’s still a lot of work. In fact, in 2018 Italy has sold wine for 142,3 million euros; France, our first competitor, has sold wine for 903 million euros. But the Chinese market is not saturated yet and China is becoming one of the most important global buyer at the side of Germany, UK and US, so it still remains profit margins for the Italian wines.