Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong


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Estates & Wines “Flavours Asia” iPad app dinner

Time flies when one is enjoying oneself too much, and I realized that I’m way overdue following up on the Moët Hennessy Estates and Wines iPad app dinner event that took place at the end of November.

Quick recap- a few of us were lucky to be invited to indulge in an evening of wine and food over the celebration of the launch of the MH E&W iPad app, the idea which, if you recall, helps us pair wines with Asian dishes.

The dinner took place at Island Tang, Galleria Plaza in Central. Every time I go, the interior makes me imagine what a 1920s gentleman’s club would look like, with its bold lines, patterned art-deco carpet, retro paneling and cool looking chandeliers. FYI I usually go for their amazingly succulent, soft and tender Char Siu, so that night, it was the first time sampling different dishes from the norm.The event took place in one of their private rooms, where amongst fellow bloggers and quaffing a few glasses of wine, we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the new iPad app and played with the iPad (of course).The dinner was a whopping 8 courses, which translated to a lot of booze that night, as it was a wine pairing event. I’m not the biggest wine drinker, so I was hoping that I wouldn’t fall in love with any of the wines presented and get stonkingly drunk at the table.To start we had the Island Tang appetizer delights- a slice of thousand year old egg, a couple of slices of roast pork to whet the appetite, chicken wing and salt and pepper tofu cubes. With this, we had a chance to try and compare the Chandon Brut and the Terrazas Reserva Malbec. Brut is always easy on the palate, it’s crisp, fresh and fruity. The Malbec was a lovely, soft red and had a wonderful fruity aroma.

The next course was a double-boiled meat ball with hairy crab soup which, unusually, was paired with a wine. We were all commenting on how Chinese cuisine always has soup, and that it was a challenge to see if a wine could be paired with a soup, especially as it’s liquid with liquid! On this occasion, the Cloudy Bay Pinot Gris was paired with it, and went rather well, though I think this was more to do with the giant meat ball than the soup base itself.The pan fried garoupa was accompanied by and complimented the Cloudy Bay Chardonnay. This particular way was more full bodied and creamy, an elegant drink with a fruity oakiness.

We were given both the Chandon Brut and the Cloudy Bay Chardonnay to try with the chicken fillet, and I decided that I preferred it with the Chardonnay. The bubbles and general stronger flavor of the Brut overwhelmed the chicken a bit.

Next was the stewed pig trotter with black truffle sauce, accompanied by the Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavours from the pig trotter were quite intense and the Cape Mentelle an equally punchy wine. I preferred having this dish with the Malbec as it wasn’t nearly as intense. I think my palate deals slightly better with subtler wines!

The braised Wagyu short rib, did however, go well with the Cape Mentelle, versus the braised goose web on egg noodles that went down very nicely with the Chardonnay.And so onto my downfall that night- the delectable Cloudy Bay Late Harvest Riesling, which had this gorgeous apricot taste and was so deliciously sweet (but not sickly sweet), that a few of us had to stop ourselves from downing whole bottles. It was meant to be taken with the mango pudding, but I have to confess I was more interested in my glass of nectar!

(My boozy line up for the night!)

And this was some of the damage from the evening!

Island Tang, Shop 222, The Galleria, 9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong T: 2526 8798

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Estates & Wines “Flavours Asia” Free iPad App and Coffee Table Book Giveaway

Since the creation of the blog, nothing has got me more excited and chuffed than to be invited to events and schmooze with fellow foodie and drink enthusiasts. A few of these events have not only made me a happy, satiated bunny, but also a more knowledgeable one. I love learning new facts and learning more about F&B is so much fun, which explains why the Travel and Living channel is constantly on at home. I am such a nerd.

Anyway, there is a point to this spiel! I was lucky to be invited by Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific to experience the new Estates & Wines iPad app at a launch event, which was a wine pairing dinner with Cantonese fare at Island Tang. Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines Collection has created a free iPad app called “Flavours Asia”, based on their coffee table book, A Heavenly Wine Match with The Flavours of Asia.I’ll be the first to admit that up till earlier this year, I knew nuts about wine. Nuts = nada, nothing. Wine generally causes me to speak gibberish and adopt the colour of a fire engine truck,  so I had taken to avoiding learning anything about wine as I couldn’t drink enough of it to appreciate it! However, after a session earlier this year with a sommelier that got me stonking sloshed as well, I’m a bit more clued up.This event was perfect to add to my growing wine knowledge base. But what does this swanky new iPad app do exactly? It helps clueless lemmings like myself, to pair different wines (from the Moët Hennessy range), with a variety of dishes from existing Asian restaurants in different countries. So, that means, if you decide to visit a particular restaurant and you’ve ordered, let’s say, a Thai red curry, you can simply navigate through the app and find the recommended wine. Wine pairing headache solved!It is notoriously difficult, so I’m told/hear/experienced myself, to pair wine successfully with Asian cuisine, simply because there are just too many different dishes and too many flavours.

This app is brilliant. It’s comprehensive, looks cool and it’s easy to navigate. On the front page, you can browse through articles on restaurants, wine trends, vineyards and there’s a spread on sommeliers. The sophisticated looking man featured on the Sommelier Spotlight, nosing a glass a wine, is none other than Arnaud Mirey, the brand ambassador, who was also at the event and excellently guided us through the wine pairings. You’ll find three categories- Pairings with Wine, Pairings with Food and Brand stories, which gives you background information on the vineyards.

The Pairings with Wine page is pretty as you get pictures of the wine bottles to click on! You can browse through them by taste, grapes, wine colour, country brand and awards. The Pairings of Food category is quite exciting. You can search via Cuisine (there are 12 countries that contribute: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines), Flavours, (sour, salty, spicy, savoury, sweet), or Ingredients, (pork, noodles, shrimp etc).Pages on individual dishes tells you how the dish is prepared and gives you the recommended wine.If you’re looking at individual wines, the page gives you ratings and reviews, tasting notes and recommended dishes.

There’s a helpful map that shows you the location of the restaurants in a particular country and also where you can buy your wine from. A few things need to be tweaked and added to the app, such as linking the dishes to the restaurants, and adding more restaurants, but that is a work in progress!

Unfortunately, yours truly doesn’t have the iPad to even use this app, but if you have one, then click here, to download it for free! It’s only available for the iPad at the moment, but here’s hoping it will launched for Android and iPhone.

If you’re like me and are iPad-less, I am doing a fabulous giveaway of the BOOK VERSION- “The Flavours of Asia”. It’s a beautiful book with oodles of information and loads more detail on wine and food pairings recommendations. Obviously, if you can’t get your mitts on the wines recommended, you will still have the general gist of what would go well, so go forth and try out other wines.Many thanks to Moët Hennessy for inviting me to the event and for generously letting me have four copies of the book to give away!

I will be giving the books to HK residents ONLY.

All you need to do is:

1) Email me at chopstixfix AT gmail.com with the heading FLAVOURS ASIA, and tell me

a) Why you need the coffee table book (be imaginative please- for my amusement 😛 )

b) Which Asian dish you would most like to pair a wine with.

2) When you’ve done that, please go to my Facebook page and “Like” if you haven’t already, and write a post on my page saying “I LOVE WINE” 🙂

The first 15 people to successfully complete the above, will be entered into a random draw, and 4 names will be drawn out of a hat (literally!). I will notify the winners by email and sort out the collection.

If you would like to buy the book from Moët Hennessy, I think it’s around $250, and you can email me and I’ll get back to you with the relevant contact.

Details from the night of the event to come soon!