Marrying food with wine

It’s ironic how invitations to dine come pouring in when you finally decide to go on a strict diet….. because the doctor told me so. Thus, I will not (read: cannot) be derailed by by any tempting dish that will be dangled on my face, lest I drizzle a little more plaque on my blood channels by the day. Not a pretty picture.

Polo Bistro at the Marco Polo Davao Hotel hosted a wine pairing dinner

What is pretty though is the spread presented at Polo Bistro, Marco Polo Hotel’s poolside restaurant, on the hotel’s recent wine pairing event co-hosted by Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. The hotel chef whips up the menu plus the sommelier’s wine suggestion to match each course equals one fabulous evening. 

The menu

The appetizer of Variety of Air Dried Meats was paired with the Natalie Sweet Chardonnay, a wine in pale yellow color with green hints, with notes of zest of citrus fruits, white fruits and aromatic herbs, and a very well integrated acidity-sweetness. “It’s a good selection for those who are starting to enjoy wines,” said Joe Meneses from Titania.

Air Dried Meats paired with Natalie Sweet Chardonnay

For the amazingly good Tomato Soup with Seafood Dumplings (I wish Polo Bistro have this on their regular menu), Meneses suggested the Bella Mia Blanco, a golden yellow wine born under the warm Sicilian sun that has a blend of Cataratto, Insolia and Chardonnay grapes, with intense exotic fruit flavor yet delicate from start to finish. According to Meneses, this wine was blended for the Asian market whose preference leans toward the sweet-tasting blend. 

Roasted Tomato Soup with Cajun Spiced Prawn, Sour cream and Cinnamon Crisp

Made from a selection of only the best Tempranillo grapes, aged for twelve months in oak barrels and rested in bottles for a couple or more years to ensure a complete harmonized maturation, the award-winning Viña Albali Reserva was paired with the entrée, the US Angus Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Potato.

Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Fejoiada Completa, Tobacco Onions &
Southwest Stuffed Baked Potatoes paired with Vina Albali Reserva

Finally, for the dessert of Swiss Chocolate Mouse was served with the Beelgara Late Harvest Reisling 2011 to match. The chilled wine that’s abundant in fruit and natural grape sweetness balanced with fresh acidity paired wonderfully with the meal ender.

Chocolate Mouse paired with Beelgara Estate Late Harvest Riesling 2011

And where does my diet fit in all these? Well, as much as would love to feast on the offerings of the chef, I made a polite request if it’s possible to make a couple of changes on the menu. I had to forego on the meats and asked for all veggies and perhaps fish, grilled or baked, no oil or butter, which MPD’s Media Communications Officer, Patty Tan, agreed to arrange for me.

Marco Polo Davao's Food and Beverage Enrique Rodriguez, Kenneth Ong
& Marco Polo Davao Media Communications Officer Patty Tan

Marco Polo Davao's General Manager Anthony Tan

Thus, I paired the Titania-suggested wines for the appetizer and entrée with the salad and baked salmon. A healthier choice, wasn’t it? For me, at least.

My mixed greens with Salmon 

No meat for me but Polo Bistro prepared this Baked Salmon

Then I was asked (via a Facebook post) why I was pairing the red wine with the fish I was having, clearly pertaining to the “meat is to red wine, fish is to white wine” rule. I am no sommelier, but according to one. “The last time this expression held true, Nixon was still in the White House. Everything is up for grabs these days, except for the supremacy of Riesling."

Titania Wine Cellar's President & CEO Joe Meneses talks about the featured wines

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 01, 2013.