Sheraton and Freixenet

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France really does have itself on at times, and no more so than with ‘champagne’.  Claiming naming rights to the wines from the Champagne area was probably a great PR coup, but great ‘champagnes’, or as we are forced to say, sparkling wines made the same way, so they are wines ‘methode champenoise’ can be found in many countries, including Italy, America, Australia and Spain.

It was in the early 80’s when I first discovered Freixenet’s Cordon Negro.  Looking for a bubbly for a houseboat trip I found this bargain priced Spanish ‘champagne’ and bought a case.  I had been buying it by the case ever since, but could never find it in Thailand.  That is not surprising, as Freixenet has only been in Thailand six months, according to their representative Alison Harvey, a very knowledgeable lady spearheading the wine side of the Sheraton dinner.  Freixenet itself has been going since 1861.

The first course was called “Ham and Eggs” - glazed pork belly and Iberia ham and quail eggs.The first course was called “Ham and Eggs” – glazed pork belly and Iberia ham and quail eggs.

Other representatives of the wine side of the June 20 dinner were the very Spanish Joan (pronounced “Jo-an) Carrera, Brand Ambassador of Freixenet, Pongsak Tiamsuttikarn (World Class Wine Company, the importers) and Pichit Intraramand (World Class Wines Pattaya).

The food side of the evening was the province of the gregarious American Jack Yoss, Sheraton Pattaya Resort Director of Culinary & Service having replaced the sadly missed Spencer Kells a few months ago.  Jack’s forte, we were told, is to take seemingly ‘ordinary’ dishes and present them in a very different way.

Jack Yoss, director of culinary and service of the Sheraton Pattaya Resort welcomes guests to the event.Jack Yoss, director of culinary and service of the Sheraton Pattaya Resort welcomes guests to the event.

The reception wine was my favorite Cordon Negro, called a Spanish “cava” (which means cellared).  This is a very, very pleasant fizz and for the price a veritable bargain.  I have always described this wine as being almost as smooth as Veuve Clicquot, one of the premium French champagnes.

The first course was called “Ham and Eggs”, showing Chef Jack’s quirky humor, with the “ham” being glazed pork belly and Iberia ham and the “eggs” being quail eggs.  I really enjoyed this dish.

Alison Harvey of the Freixenet Wine speaks about the history of various wines that were available for the guests to taste.Alison Harvey of the Freixenet Wine speaks about the history of various wines that were available for the guests to taste.

The wine with it was a Freixenet Mia Blanco 2012, a sub-branch of Freixenet featuring a female winemaker.  A light and very easy to drink white.  Probably a ‘dangerous’ wine in the fact that it is so drinkable.

The second course was a “Surf and Turf” but Jack Yoss’s one had roasted snowfish sitting on braised wagyu beef cheek and saffron potatoes.  This was accompanied by another Mia, this time a red (Freixenet Mia Tinto 2012).  This was another good combination.

(L to R) Dr. Iain Corness chats with Pongsak Tiamsuttikarn, marketing & sales director of the World Class Wine Co., Ltd., and Joan Carreras, Brand Ambassador - Southeast Asia of Freixenet.(L to R) Dr. Iain Corness chats with Pongsak Tiamsuttikarn, marketing & sales director of the World Class Wine Co., Ltd., and Joan Carreras, Brand Ambassador – Southeast Asia of Freixenet.

The third course was a grilled, honey glazed squab on a barley “risotto” and root vegetables and chorizo vinaigrette.  The wine was a Solar Viejo Crianza 2010, and apparently a big mover in the western world, but to be honest, I preferred the Mia Tinto (but wine appreciation is always a very personal thing).

Tomo Kuriyama (left), general manager of the Sheraton Pattaya Resort, poses for a photo with guests before dinner.Tomo Kuriyama (left), general manager of the Sheraton Pattaya Resort, poses for a photo with guests before dinner.

The dessert was sensational – a goat cheese pannacotta with pineapple jam, black pepper honey and carta Nevada jelly.  10/10 for that one, Jack Yoss.  The dessert wine was the Freixenet Carta Nevada Semi-Seco which had 35 gm/L sugar added, according to Angela Harvey, a mine of information!

Guests are ready to indulge themselves in a culinary treat.Guests are ready to indulge themselves in a culinary treat.

This was another great event from the Sheraton Pattaya Resort with Tomo and his team (and the most elegant waitresses)!  We look forward to the next one, with Chef Jack suggesting November.  I suggest it should be a lot sooner.

Sheraton Pattaya Resort, 437 Pratamnak Road, Pattaya, telephone 038 259 888, fax 038 259 899.  Secure valet parking (and buggies to get you up and down to the various restaurants).