Set against the stunning Victoria Harbour skyline, the four-day Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival is an annual affair showcasing the best of the city’s culinary offerings. Every year, the awe-inspiring Central Harbourfront Event Space becomes home to the event organised by Hong Kong Tourism Board, boasting world-class food and drinks from around the globe. Here, you can enjoy menus designed by renowned chefs (such as the influential André Chiang, dessert queen Janice Wong and three-Michelin starred Curtis Duffy,) as well as tasting sessions conducted by industry experts.
This year marks the ninth edition of the Wine and Dine Festival, treating visitors to over 400 wine and food booths sprawled across five wine zones which showcase exquisite fine wines from 20 countries and regions. These zones are called Robert Parker Wine Advocate Pavilion, Bubbly Gala, Country Pavilion, Wine Professional Booths and Grand Wine Pavilion. The latter — which showcases premium wines from around the world as well as hand-picked ones by world-famous sommelier James Suckling — is also the venue for the exclusive VIP wine tasting experience, available for Grand Wine Pass holders (priced at S$105).
We had the honour of attending the first day of the festival with five personalities from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur — namely Malaysian actress and host Sarah Lian, Malaysian host-model-singer-actress Hannah Tan, and local Instagrammers George Wong, Louis Karwai, Timothy Kong.
From single malts to artisanal cheeses and wines from the most exclusive regions of France, the sophisticated globetrotters had fun exploring the grounds and indulging in everything the event had to offer. Although it was hard for them to pick a favourite, we grilled them on their favourite highlights at the Wine and Dine Festival 2017.
“The Perrier-Jouët champagne was my favourite. Coming to the Wine and Dine Festival has peaked my interest and allowed me to learn more about champagne, which is a different experience compared to what I’m used to back in Singapore, when we drink at parties. There’s just so much history and culture behind the Perrier-Jouët name, which enabled me to appreciate it more when drinking it.” — Timothy Kong, @timotakoyaki
Canadian ice wines
“Having grown up in Vancouver, I loved the Canadian stall which served various ice wines. It really reminded me of home. My favourite was the Whistler Ice Wine 2015 Viognier, made from Viognier grapes harvested in the Okanagan Valley at temperatures of -15 C. It’s rich in tropical fruit and boasts flavours of ripe apricots, guava, pineapple, along with notes of Clementine orange zest, perfect for the summer. My eyes rolled back and it made me so happy.” — Sarah Lian, @imsarahlian
Häagen-Dazs Baileys ice cream
“The Häagen-Dazs Baileys Ice Cream is the perfect combination of two things I love, ice cream and alcohol. You choose from either the Macadamia Nuts or Cookies & Cream ice cream, and enjoy it infused with Bailey’s chocolate or coffee liqueur” — George Wong, @george_wz
King crab legs
“The King crab legs from Hokkaido brought back fond memories of when my family travelled to the Japanese region two years back. There, one of the best meals we had was the king crab. Coming here to taste it again really brought back lots of memories.” — Louis Karwai, @clkarwai
Le Vignoble de Bordeaux
“You definitely can’t miss this stall, featuring wines from the Bordeaux region in France. My favourite was the Chateau Jean Faux Bordeaux White 2015, which had notes so complex that I was immediately hooked. It was full-bodied with flavours of lime, lemon peel, verbena, pineapple — which paired surprisingly well with the king crab leg, as well as classic local dishes.” — Louis Karwai, @clkarwai
“Although ‘non-alcoholic’ and ‘wine’ don’t usually go together, hear me out. As I’m allergic to alcohol, I don’t normally drink. So you can imagine how happy I was when I finally discovered non-alcoholic wine and tried it for the first time at the Wine and Dine Festival. The blackberry non-alcoholic wine is the best! This proves that there’s something for everyone at the festival, even when you don’t drink or can’t take alcohol.” Hannah Tan, @hannahonline
Johnnie Walker Soda
“I keep going back to the Johnnie Walker soda from the Johnnie Walker Highball stall at the Craft Beer & Whiskey Zone. It was the ideal combination, and the soda perfectly highlighted the smoky nature of the whiskey.” — George Wong, @george_wz
If you’ve missed the festival this year, you can still indulge in the gastronomic offerings of the food-obsessed city. The Wine and Dine Festival serves as a kick off to the Hong Kong Great November Feast, a month-long gourmet event taking place all over the city — especially in popular culinary hubs in Queen’s Road East, Lan Kwai Fong, Harbour City, Tong Chong Street and Old Town Central. Taking place throughout the month of November, much-anticipated events such as the Lan Kwai Fong Carnival, Marco Polo German Bierfest and Sparkling Sunset@Harbour City transforms the vibrant city into a foodie paradise.
If there’s one month you definitely have to visit the Pearl of the Orient, November is it.