Food and Leisure

Pairing Brunello wines with Spiral buffet

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie & Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

MILLIE: It’s not every day that Karla and I get invited to an exclusive wine tasting and we are usually very selective. But when I heard that we were going to be tasting Brunello, I said yes without batting an eyelash! Brunello, after all, is one of Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines.

Produced in the vineyards surrounding Montalcino in the Tuscany region, Brunello is one of the outstanding Italian red wines that has earned the DOCG, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.

The evening began with a briefing by charming Lorenzo Gucci from Altesino wines, who introduced us to five celebrated vinos, namely IGT Rosso Toscana 2010, DOC Rosso di Montalcino 2011, DOCC Riserva Brunello di Montalcino 2006, DOCG Brunello di Montalcino 2007, and DOCG Brunello di Montalcino 2010.

It was meant to be a wine-pairing affair, but instead of serving us the recommended dishes that would best complement the fabulous wines, we were set loose to wander about and enjoy the bountiful buffet spread at Spiral in Sofitel Hotel!

KARLA:   Spiral is one of our favorite buffet places. When mom and I go to buffets, we know for a fact that we can’t eat everything and therefore choose specific items or the ones worth eating and worth what the buffet is for. In the case of Spiral, the first thing we go to is the cheese room, which is filled with different kinds of cheese and charcuterie from all over the world. You can literally lock mom and I in this room and we’d thank you for it. Haha!

The buffet showcases different cuisines like French, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Filipino. After the cheese room, I immediately went to check out the Indian station for some butter chicken, biryani and papadum.  Then I went for the French station where they had the duck confit. It was one of the recommended dishes for pairing with the Brunello, so I made it a point to try it. I ate it with sides of marble potatoes and broccoli. It was prepared well because the meat was tender. Another must-have at the Spiral buffet is the foie gras, seared on the spot. I personally cannot have more than one or two bites as I find it very rich and fatty, but mom absolutely loves it. In fact, I saw her lining up for some.

MILLIE: I did not go for the seafood dishes this time and focused instead on the meats so that I could fully enjoy the merits of the Brunello wines. My first bite was the duck confit, one of my favorite dishes, which blended well with the DOC Rosso de Montalcino 2011. I was not surprised that, even without discussing it, Karla had gone for the exact same dish.

Next, I had the New Zealand rack of lamb, which was so perfect with the 2006 Brunello Riserva that I asked for a second serving as soon as I finished the two pieces on my plate.  I also tried a bit of the tender prime rib of beef prepared churrasco style which, again, paired perfectly well with the Brunello di Montalcino 2010.

Although I passed on most of the other recommended dishes like the North Indian chicken tikka and the Peking duck, I could not resist taking a peek at the dessert spread and even went inside the chocolate room! I naturally picked a few chocolate truffle pieces and popped them into my mouth while taking sips of the DOCG Brunello di Montalcino 2007.

The wines were simply outstanding and excellent and I must have consumed more than a bottle on my own.

KARLA: Another exciting part of the evening was when we were allowed to enter the chocolate room. It’s a room towards the end of the buffet where the chocolate fountain is and all the desserts are. It’s where they temper chocolate and make all the chocolate desserts. I got to pick my own truffles, which they do not serve at the buffet. I naturally took more than I could eat, but was allowed to take it home. Haha!

Both mom and I enjoyed the evening; with good wine, a lot of good food and great company, how could we not? We headed home with our bellies full and were maybe a little too giggly from all the wine.





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