Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pairing Wine with Asian Food: Flavours Asia Free iPad App, Plus Book Giveaway!

Moët Hennessy has introduced a free iPad app called "Flavours Asia" on pairing wine with Asian food - specifically Asian dishes from actual restaurants across many countries. I've been playing with the app and it is absolutely gorgeous! Big lush photos, easy navigation and useful info.

Here's a short tour of the app. On the front page, you'll get some magazine style feature articles. Cuisines, sommelier profiles, restaurant reviews, vineyard news and wine trends.

Sommelier profile on Flavours Asia
At first glance, you might dismiss this guy as a model, but he is an actual sommelier. Arnaud Mirey is their brand ambassador. He will give regular tips on food and wine pairing. You'll see him again in a later post on an actual wine pairing dinner that Moët Hennessy held for the launch of this app.

Information is organised into three broad categories - Pairings with Wine, Pairings with Food, and Brand Stories (background on the vineyards).

Pairings with wines - it's nice to see the actual bottles instead of boring directory. You can view these by wine colour, country brand, grapes, tastes, and awards. Or unfilter them to browse everything.

Pairings with food - scroll through pages of real dishes (photos by restaurants) from 12 countries (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines). You can also check dishes by ingredients (pork, chicken, beef, fish, noodles, vegetables, etc) and flavours (sweet, sour, salty, spicy, savoury).

So you can look up what goes best with chili crab, nasi lemak, roast goose, satay, char kway teow, bak kut teh, three-cup chicken, KL-style Hokkien mee, Thai green curry, Vietnamese pho, Korean grilled beef, murgh khushk pardah, adobo, and so forth.

The individual pages on wines show you notes on the wine, recommended dishes, tasting notes, vineyards, ratings and reviews.

The individual page on food dish gives you a short description of the food and the recommended wines (you can click through the wine bottle to access more info on the wine itself). Not all the pages have been populated, but the app will be continuously updated. So I hope to see the full descriptions added soon.

There is also a map feature that shows you the location of the participating restaurants and wine outlets in each country. Right now the dishes have not been linked to the restaurant, but that info is in the physical book (more on that later).

You can bookmark your favourites or check the history to go back to a certain page. The top navigation (purple icons) let you access the different sections, no matter where you are in the app.

Go download it now on the App Store! It's free!

Right now it's only for the iPad, but if demand is good, there will be iPhone and Android versions.

How to pair wines with Asian food
Yes, I mentioned a book. The book "The Flavours of Asia" came first - a full-colour delight showing all the information above in even greater detail.

Recommendations in the book
Wines and food pairing recommendations. Here's chicken rice with pairing suggestions of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and Verve Clicquot Yellow Label.

The wines of course are from Moët Hennessy's stable of many brands. But you can get a general idea of what wine types goes with what food. Still, feel free to experiment, as different ways of preparing the same dish might mean other wines pair better.

Now, thanks to the folks at Moët Hennessy, I have four copies of this book to give away!

All you have to do is:

1) Download the iPad app, and email me (camemberu @ with the subject header FLAVOURS ASIA, and tell me one wine and food pairing listed within (obviously the ones shown here don't qualify). You get 10 chances of winning.

and/or (if you don't have an iPad)

2) Share this post with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc, and send me the URLs of the share (usually the timestamp link). Or blog about this post and send me the link. Each link gives you one extra chance.

The four with most chances win, of course. Deadline for emailing me is: noon, 8 December 2011. I will notify winners by email, and arrange for prize collection.

If any of you are interested in purchasing the book from Moët Hennessy, I can pass you the contact. It's about HK$250 including shipping, if I remember correctly.


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