Monday, 23 April 2012

Exploring Wine & Spirits Asia

In 2010 when I went to Wine & Spirits Asia (WSA) I was struck by how lacklustre the event was. Lingering concerns over the economy, coupled with travel issues due to the volcanic ash put a dampener over the exhibition. It still proved to be a fruitful outing for me personally as I made several new friends during that day whom I still keep in contact with. 

This year could not have been more different. There was a palpable excitement in the air and a horde of visitors. Long jams were seen at the entrance to the Expo, and come closing time, the number of people seen at the MRT station would have been enough to make one wonder if the train system had broken down again. Try as I might, I could visit a fraction of the booths during the two days I attended. 

Michael turns part time promoter for Amedei
It was my luck and pleasure to bump into renowned pastry chef Michael Lau while I was there. All I can say is, freebies start appearing when you are accompanied by a person as keen on his craft as Michael is. Listening to him rattle on about complicated production methods is alien to me, but at least I know there's a technical reason why good stuff tastes good.

The wine talks were worthwhile, and I wish that I had time to attend more of them. Local wine expert Lim Hwee Peng, in conjunction with Sopexa, gave a detailed breakdown on the Languedoc-Roussillon region that went into wine styles, terroir and the assorted AOPs (Appellation d'Origine Protegée). Sopexa has long been active in Singapore and I am glad that they are continuing to promote French wine. They were not the only generic body at WSA though. The Deutsches Weininstitut or German Wine Institute were also actively promoting German wines. They had a powerful weapon in their arsenal in the form of Annika Strebel, the attractive 24-yr old German Wine Queen. 

When associating an alcoholic beverage with Singapore, you can't get more iconic than the Singapore Sling, a cocktail created by barman Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel around the beginning of the last century. What I didn't know was that the drink was apparently created for a British colonial to assist in his wooing of a woman at the bar. A fanciful story perhaps, but it adds to the allure surrounding the cocktail. The ingredients for this drink are gin, Cointreau, Grenadine syrup, Dom Benedictine, cherry brandy, Angostura bitters and pineapple juice. Soda water may be added for froth. Nowadays, the cocktail can be found in pre-mix bottles, needing only pineapple juice to complete the drink.

The food and wine events calendar continues to be packed. Next up is the World Gourmet Summit which runs from 23rd April to 3rd May. 

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