I don’t know what it is exactly that made me wait until the very last day of the year to post this up. It’s been well over 4-months since the event. I don’t know if it was the traveling or the back-to-back projects at work, or was it that I simply just fell in love with Instagram and forgotten about the rest of the world. But in some ways I’m glad to end the year with one of the best and definitely the most memorable eat-perience of 2010.
By now the specially erected gastronomic pleasure “dome” has already been taken down. At the height of its 6-days event, it was a sensorial wonderland for all who were privileged enough to attend. Up until then, I’ve never seen so much black drapes covering a place that didn’t look like a funeral. This was far from it. It was like a dark fortress of solitude that rose from nothing. Yet, there we stood at its entrance in awe of it all (where did these come from?), walked down its red carpet (the only red we ever saw the entire night) and thus began our journey to a night of appreciation with Hennesy X.O and the finest X-treme Chinese cuisine, masterfully created by Hong Kong’s Michelin-star chef Alvin Leung. It was a visual feast when the other gastronomes of the high living showed up in full regalia too.
First up at Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2010 was a tasting session of the Hennessy X.O luxurious blend guided by the handsome Regional Brand Ambassador Arnaud Mirey. The house of Hennessy are masters in the art of blending fine aged cognac eaux-de-vie (clear, colorless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation) and has been creating fine cognac for seven generations since 1765. This heritage and savoir-faire has earned their fine cognac a worldwide following and appreciation, making them the world’s number one cognac and one of the world’s most sophisticated spirits.
Our gastronomic journey continued deeper inside the spectacular dining room under a dome of lights, awash with a dazzling 360-degrees visual projection that magically changes before every course was unfolded.
It was a fine and fitting hommage to centuries-old recipes perfected through centuries of innovations, the controversial chef Leung created this avant garde feast of over six courses which began with the molecular-spectacular Glass Garden, made with baked morel “soil”, dehydrated enoki “plant”, braised caterpillar fungus and green onion puree. Next came the Har Mi with a perfectly executed crouton of carabinero, sauteed capellini, roasted cherry tomatoes and deep-fried sage. After a serving of the Palate Fantastique, pan-fried foie gras with meticellulose and xantana, diners were presented with the Kukomi Intrigue. The latter was an indulgent and buttery dish created from boiled chicken stock, sous vide egg white, foie gras and julienne truffle.
The next course was the Wagyu Wonders, the chef’s specialty of sous vide wagyu striploin and black truffle in a pan-fried cheung fun. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t understand the Eastern Ascent which was served at the end of the meal. This dessert was definitely unforgettable with kikorangi blue cheese, milk, cream and dried longan granita which left a bad taste in my mouth. However, it was a blessing that chef Leung decided to create an impromptu petit four of Tiramisu laced with cognac nonetheless made the sweet ending to a deserving meal.
Each of the dish above complemented the distinct taste of the premium cognac. A sip of Hennessy X.O together with the dish produces a fuller sensation. During the course of the dinner, we were also given the opportunity to taste the smooth and delicate Ultra Limited Edition Mathusalem created by the house’s master blender and secret keeper, Yann Filloux.
In his thank you note, Managing Director of Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia, Mr. Frederic Noyere, likened chef Alvin Leung’s culinary achievements with the creation of Hennessy’s fine cognac saying, “Leung’s dedication to perfection mirrors our own. Just as he has spent years perfecting his craft, refining age-old recipes for the modern palate, the brand has evolved over centuries to create the world’s finest and original X.O from the Cognac region enjoyed by the most discerning.”
It’s a relief to finally post this up. Special thanks to my BFF, Queen Lemongrass who extended the invite over on behalf of MILK PR and Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia (formerly known as Riche Monde Malaysia). I hope I’ve not let Her Royal Highness down with this late entry.
On that note, I’d wish everyone a safe celebration as we bid farewell to 2010 and usher in 2011. Happy New Year!