When they first told me the inaugural #WineClubUG dinner was UGX250,000 per person, I was shocked! “For a village?” I remember thinking, surely we can all start wine clubs at our homes for a fraction of the price. How wrong I was!
The evening started with a welcome glass of bubbly for the early birds which, sadly, I missed thanks to the terrible evening jam. It stung more than just a bit considering I’m a real sucker for bubbles. Thank goodness the winemaker more than compensated at the end when he gave my best friend and I a whole bottle! Thanks Mr. Kobus Gerber :-).
The choice of venue was ingenious! It’s one thing to have an event at the Kampala Serena hotel, and another altogether to have it in the Pearl Of Africa restaurant (first floor). I’d personally never been —a fact I’m glad for because I was totally wowed right from the beginning! Correct me if I’m wrong but this has got to be the finest dining space in the city! It has all the trimmings; polished cutlery, formally dressed wait staff, perfect lighting, exquisite furnishings, subtle yet classy decor, beautiful bathrooms —the works! They’ve even got a large piano in the center of the room. (I might have previously mentioned how much I love those.)
Moving on, we had an interactive mini ‘about wine’ session from the wine master who basically covered everything you need to know about wine before we got into the food and wine pairing.
First course of the night was the marinated salmon, poppy seed tuna, horseradish crumble, and a lime cured fruit mosaic salsa. It was paired with the Neethlingshof Gewurztraminer and the Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc. The salmon was to die for! The Sauvignon Blanc was recommended to go with it but I personally thought it went better with the Neethlingshof Gewurztraminer. But as is usually the case with wine, there are no hard and fast rules. A lot of this stuff is subjective and often varies from one palate to the next.
The second course was a choice between the Fresh Scallops with homemade noodles (coconut cream, coriander and pimentos relish) and the Creamy Onion and baby leeks Veloute (with gruyere cheese and smoked basil oil) -both paired with Durbanville Hills Chardonnay. I opted for the latter, as I wasn’t too sure how I felt about shellfish (lol). Turned out to be pretty amazing by the way (I got to try Khalil’s :-)) The soup was soooooo good! A little bit on the sweet side, though, which made the wine taste bitter. That particular pairing didn’t work for me. But it did pair well with the scallops.
Creamy Onion and baby leeks Veloute.
Fresh Scallops with homemade noodles.
Next on the menu was the strawberry sorbet, which was meant to cleanse our palates and usher in the reds *rubs hands in anticipation*. Presentation was superb! It was almost too pretty to eat. Also very much on the sweet side. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I’ll leave that open so you can draw your own conclusions when you try it.
The next course was a choice between the ‘Wild Game Dialogue’ -Pan roasted ostrich fillet and guinea fowl with braised field mushrooms, berry cream and saffron couscous paired with the Zonnebloem Laureat, the Kolou Lamb Canon with cream turnip and potato mash, oxtail minted jus and mini Yorkshire pudding paired with a Durbanville Hills Merlot and the (v)Soft Cheese Tortellini (Braised beetroot, asparagus, grain mustard and champagne cream) paired with the Neethlingshof Malbec. I went with the first one because I think the Zonnebloem Laureat is really good but everyone else was pleased with their choice too.
For dessert, we had the Crémeux of Chocolate and Caramel which was served with Baileys ice cream and paired with the Nederburg Noble Late Harvest. I’m personally not a fan of dessert wine so I didn’t like that one very much.
Next came the cheese board and dinner crackers which was paired with the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay. This is the point where the winemaker gave Liz and I the bottle of bubbly. So we had that with the cheese (instead of the chardonnay) and it paired pretty well with the white cheeses.
It was almost midnight by then so we didn’t make it to the coffee and tea part. But we had such a wonderful evening!
The crowd was very sophisticated, as you would imagine, yet laid back and out to network and have a good time.
What a way to throw a party!
Kudos to the Wine Club Uganda for a very successful launch.