The Mystery Tasting (Part 1)

I marked the date of the first mystery tasting off on ALL of my calendars as soon as the Kampala Restaurant Week schedule came out. Two things stood out for me; the agenda and the venue. Camel club is one of my favorite spots in town. The vibe, music, crowd, lighting, decor, service, staff, bar and bathrooms are on point. I always have a bit of trouble with parking but I suppose you can’t win them all. I can’t think of a better place for wine tasting if I tried. Okay there’s La Patisserie (and a few other places) but we’ll get to that tomorrow.

Back to the point of the post… My morning started with news that the event was totally sold out. My heart nearly broke but the Ugandan in me felt like an exception could be made. So I got to tweeting. The plan was to get on the list one way or another. I even offered to pay double. The Pearl Guide’s social media person was quite nice about the whole thing; responding promptly even when it seemed like I was wasting his/her time. In the end she (I’m pretty sure it was a female) said she would try her best. I figured it was her way of saying it could not be done. Eventually, she did get back to me and as I’d suspected, it could not be done.

A part of me was impressed by the display of integrity, if I should call it that. As a people, we are [almost ] best known for our inability to say no to an extra buck. Even the stinking rich don’t say no to a good enough offer. Yet this person wouldn’t let me pay double? Nice! That should teach me! Who did I think I was thinking I could disregard the sold out memos and get in anyway? I learned my lesson… Next time anyone says “limited seats available” for something I really want to attend, I’ll be the very first person to pay.

But to cut the long story short, I did eventually manage to go (don’t ask me how) and I’m beyond glad I did. It was well worth the hassle!

Nederburg’s winemaker, Heinrich Kulsen, took us through the basics of determining the age of white wine based on its color and the basics of figuring out which wine to pair with which taste group -according to which part of your tongue the wine sticks to.

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The winemaster taking us through the basics.

We were then given a platter with five different finger foods, each belonging to one of the main food taste groups (sour, salty, bitter, sweet and umami) and five different glasses of wine (one at a time). Our task was to identify which of the five taste groups was best paired with the wine we’d been given and write our pairings on the card.

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The finger food platter.

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The team (Heinrich, Kelvin, Khalil and Philip) were rather generous with the wine servings. Needless to say, the crowd was extremely pleasant.

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We had great fun trying to figure out which went best with what! To be honest, I don’t think we were supposed to get this stuff right. Where’s the fun in that?

Did I mention that Judith Heard won the pairing challenge?

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I’m really looking forward to the wine and cheese tasting at La Patisserie on Wednesday.

Kudos to the Pearl Guide team, Nederburg and Uganda Wines&Spirits for a job very well done!

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