Gloria is charmed by the Royal Cliff’s DeVine Wine Club Dinner
Here in Pattaya wine dinners have grown in popularity over the past couple of years with many restaurants and suppliers promoting such events. To my mind surely one of the best examples of these beautifully paired and planned occasions is a wine dinner from the Royal Cliff’s deVine Wine Club. I have been coming to these for more than 10 years now and love them. Regular members and guests of the club come together rarely, sometimes only connecting when they are at a deVine event, but they love nothing more than greeting each other at the wonderful welcome reception before heading downstairs to the magnificent grill room. Traditional and certainly impressive, the wooden paneling and elegant seating of the grill room reminds me of the Grand Hotels in London’s Park Lane.This year it was good to see some fresh touches to the stately setting for example the fresh white flowers amongst the tables and satin, red dresses for the female members of the team adding a festive look to the place.
It has been a while since the last wine dinner so expectations ran high and the guests were thrilled to see that the wines for this event were from Italy and specifically the Land of Villa Montecastello. As usual there was an introduction by the vinery’s representative and then some informative talks throughout the evening about the wines we were about to try and the vineyard from where they originated. The representative of the vineyard, Jens Schmidt, although German by birth, has been living in Italy for 38 years. Not just Italy mind you, but in the heart of Tuscany where food and wine is practically a religion. During his introduction he extolled the virtues, not of the wines, but to start with, the wonderful olive oils that he had brought over to Thailand for us to sample.
My table companion was bemused at how someone could talk at such length about olive oil. However, being half Italian myself I didn’t find it at all strange. Any lovers of the fabulous TV show The Sopranos may remember when Tony admonishes his nephew for not understanding this passion when:
Christopher Moltisanti moans “Enough! I am so sick and tired of hearing you people talk about food, food, food: that’s all anybody talks about” to which Tony replies “Well, when you’re married, you’ll understand the “importance” of fresh produce”. So it was that Jens Schmidt was keen to tell us all about the importance of his fresh produce and I actually found it very interesting to try the two oils, one green and spicy, the other golden and more mellow. Both olive oils were extremely pleasant to taste when dipped into with the marvelous breads from the table.
To follow we certainly did have more information about the wines starting with the Sanice Vernaccia di San Gimignano Reserva, a potent white that freshened our palettes ready for some seared miso marinated Barramundi fish with an accompanying white wine sauce. Then 2 Brunello di Montalcino reds. Firstly with the duck consomme and then “the star of the show” the Reserva II with grilled Australian beef flank, which to my preference could have been just a little more bloody.
After all this there was hardly any room for dessert and yet we all seemed to manage the delicate chocolate and hazelnut Panna Cotta with tarte berry compote and caramel sauce – served via a tube which seems to be quite the fashion right now. Well done to all the team at the Royal Cliff – we are already looking forward to your next event!