Thursday, February 22, 2007

A celebration of Italian Wine at Parkroyal Penang

THE Parkroyal Hotel in Penang’s tourist stretch of Batu Ferringhi recently hosted one of the island’s first Italian Wine Din-ners at their award-winning Tiffins Restaurant.

The event was attended by Baron Francesco Ricasoli, the present-day owner of the Barone Ricasoli wines from Tuscany in central Italy. As the thirty-second Baron, his family is one of the oldest noble families in Italy. The winery is the oldest in Italy, having been in the family for over 860 years.

“In 1874, my ancestor created the recipe which is now the accepted formula for Chiantis,” the Baron explained. “He was a formidable man who was also the second Prime Minister of Italy.”

After the Second World War, the business was bought over by a multinational company after which the label lost a lot of its prestige, but Ricasoli was determined to recover his lost heritage, and succeeded in buying the company back a mere thirteen years ago.

He has since built it up from scratch once more – the vinery was voted the ‘Best Vinery of Italy’ in 2002, and his grand cru the Castello de Brolio has been equalled with France’s great Chateau Lafite.

WINE EXPERT:Baron Francesco Ricasoli with his range of Italian wine.
“These are not everyday wines,” he proudly claimed, “and my duty was to get back the respect it was due.”

The purpose of the event was to introduce Italian wines to Penang’s gourmets. According to Raymond Cho of Asian-Euro Wines who are the sole distributor of the label in Malaysia, only 5% of wines in Ma-laysia are Italian.

Together with Tiffins Chef Paul Liang, a six-course gastronomic menu was devised to complement some of the finest wines from Italy. The event was fully-booked, with guests coming from all over Penang.

“The Parkroyal has excellent wine dinners. There is good ambience, a warm, cosy environment, together with great wine and food,” said secretary Mona Lim, who was there with her husband, son and brother-in-law. This is the second time she has attended such an event there.

After a Champagne and Canapes Reception in the lobby, diners adjourned to the restaurant on the mezzanine floor where the gourmet meal awaited them, starting with Fresh Oysters, a second course of Oven-roasted Duck Breast, cleansing Fruit sherbet and then Pan-seared Wagyu Beef.

Each course was accompanied by a different wine from the Brolio cellar, ranging from a particularly full-bodied 2003 Toricella Chardonnay di Toscana to their 1999 Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico.

Diners finished off the gastro-nomic evening with an assortment of cheeses and a Tiramisu Berries Compote.

The Baron was scheduled to go on to other wine evenings in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Indonesia.

“The event was a roaring success,” said a beaming Karen Chee, the five-star resort public rela- tions manager, “and due to the overwhelming response, we are planning to run future wine events over two evenings, and also offer a similar menu, with the same wines, to Tiffins guests.”

Source : STAR
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