Just being offered fine wine and food is not always enough to be able to savour the same. The atmosphere usually makes a big difference. Like the kind you have at the annual Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival.
For starters (no pun intended), the location was perfect: the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, from where you can soak up the surrounding fabulous views of Victoria Harbour. So was the time of the year: end-October, with a slight yet comfortable chill with no humidity. With clear starry skies above, you can feel a high even before a single sip of wine.
It was a privilege to attend the inaugural night, with beautiful symphonies being performed by an orchestra followed by fireworks. And then the party started. With hundreds of stalls offering the best of wines and cuisines from all over the world, you are spoiled for choice. It is best to walk around and see everything for yourself before making selections. The quality of wines, cheeses and other foods are not something you get to sample easily.
What stood out was the organization of the event. Entry was smooth, and so was the process of picking up the coupons. The hosts in the stalls receive everyone with welcoming smiles, happy to serve. Ask them questions, and they would readily give answers without even a hint of impatience. It all added to the taste. And then you had actors dressed in different costumes to keep you amused; and they readily agree to be photographed with you for memories to be long cherished.
As you soak in your surroundings, you realize why Hong Kong is widely regarded as the culinary capital of Asia. Eating is a religion here, a form of art where you get cuisines from all over the world and prepared the way they should be. With abolition of duties on wine, the perfect accompaniment is within reach of everyone.
The organisers Hong Kong Tourism Board sure know how to plan a party.
Some highlights of the festival
* An opportunity to taste wines from 16 countries and regions
* The new Grand Tasting Pavilion provided an exclusive and specially arranged area with 20 wine booths showcasing premium wines with an array of culinary treats for wine lovers to enjoy
* Abiut 60 food booths featuring award-winning dishes / signature dishes from many of Hong Kong’s renowned hotels and restaurants / Western & Asian specialties and local specialties / Chinese & Western desserts / non-alcoholic drinks
* Both elementary and in-depth wine appreciation classes / wine talks by top enological experts.*
* Live cooking demonstration classes by master chefs from renowned Hong Kong hotels and restaurants.
* Live entertainment including jazz and singing that will take place on the main stage during the evenings.
* Roving entertainment featuring musicians / ballerinas / jugglers.
* Workshop: Under the guidance of local artist, Ms Jody Yang from the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, visitors could add a personal touch and show their artistic flair by painting their wine glasses
Except for the opening ceremony, entry was open and free to anyone. One could buy drinks and food from the stalls by paying the marked prices, or buy passes for HK$ 200 / 300. These paid passes came with coupons for wines, food samplings, a wine glass with carry case and a few other goodies.
The organizers had very sensibly arranges for free shuttle buses to the nearest MTR stations to make it convenient for visitors to attend.
The event took place from October 28-31, 2010
It’s not too late to attend
* The Lan Kwai Fong Carnival, November 12-14, 2010: Move to a Latin American beat during this carnival. Attractions include more than 80 booths selling food and wine, sale of handicrafts, an interactive games zone and parades and live performances.
* SoHo Street Fair and Wine Walk, November 19-21, 2010: SoHo is one of Hong Kong’s trendiest party spots, and the place to enjoy great food and wine. The street fair will offer entertainment featuring the Grand Canal Shoppes from the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, an ensemble of fine Venetian singers, magicians and jugglers and more.
And do join us for a coffee at the Kunzum Travel Cafe in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India.