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Korean New Year Feast and Chamlija Wine Tasting

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I’m back home after finishing the three-day Korean New Year Feast event and spending extra days catching up on personal affairs in Istanbul. The event was great, especially the part of meeting new amazing people, which is why I love what I do. Here I’ll share the atmosphere and delicious foods we ate and the special wines we drank for those who couldn’t join us.

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Photo Credit: Ozkan Uner

As promised, I presented 4 good wines from Chamlija (Papaskarasi is missing in the photo). Many thanks to Ozkan Uner from A2A Photography for excellent photos. He’s a very talented and respected photographer and, though his expertise is in aviation photography, he takes great food photos as well.

By sheer coincidence, two chefs were in matching red to celebrate the year of Rooster. Really, I didn’t think of it when I decided to put on my red skirt. Anyway, since it’s a special day, for one of the starters, I offered a royal dish, which goes by the name of ‘Gujeolpan – Nine Delicacies‘.

We started with the colourfully arranged little delicacies with seasonal vegetables and home-smoked trout and tasted Chamlija Blanc de Noir. It’s a white wine made from a indigenous red grape called Papaskarasi and it’s a very refreshing wine with supple citrus and a touch of stone fruit and floral aromas, and a salty mineral undertone ending with an effervescent finish. Just perfect with salty smoked trout!

It was the most popular wine during the events and went down the quickest.

Next came the delicious Kimchi Arancini with special creamy tahini mint sauce. Crispy home-made panko bread crumbs, spicy rice mixture, and hot melting cheese …. They were so popular and guests demanded for more but I told them that there were still so much food to eat and they wouldn’t want to get full on arancini. Though, truth to be told, I wouldn’t have minded it personally because they were so yummy!

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Photo Credit: Ozkan Uner

By this point, I poured Chamlija Albarino 2015, which is a full bodied, intensely fragrant with citrus, lime, peach, apricot, tropical fruit, and a bouquet of lemongrass and orange blossom. Complex, huh? Yes, it’s a very expressive wine and also lightly oaked wine with tiny residual sugar, which differentiates it from Spanish and Portuguese style Albarino.

glass noodles

Photo Credit: Ozkan Uner

It paired well with a rather complicated dish with a umami bomb, black trumpet & oyster mushrooms, soy sauce, black bean and lime sauce. It was my twist of traditional dish, Japchae noodles.

There happened to be a Portuguese guest on the last day and I asked how she thought of the Chamlija’s Albarino, and she said it was different but good.

We had 8 nationalities at one dinner and one even flew over from Antalya for the event, which made me feel rather flattered.

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Look at the succulent Slow-cooked Beef Brisket! It was so delicious with tender meat and aromatic marinade. Some of them had a previous experience with the Korean lettuce-wrapping meal, Bo Ssam, and some didn’t. I chose this menu due to the them of the event, which was about sharing and experiencing the true spirit of Korean cuisine. It was accompanied by hot pot bibimbap and soft tofu soup with clams.

For the main, I offered light red, Chamlija Papaskarasi 2014 and Pinot Noir 2013. Papaskarasi is a signature grape for Chamlija Winery (you can read about this interesting local grape here) and it’s a reminiscent of Pinot Noir but with more forest fruits, high acid and less tannins. It’s a food-friendly wine and I couldn’t think of a better wine for a Korean or Asian feast, and the terroir and climate of Chamlija vineyards best expresses the grape variety.

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Chamlija’s Pinot Noir is completely another style, dark coloured and full bodied with high abv of 15% and supple tannins, which might come from a very tiny amount of Cab Sauv added or the whole bunch fermentation(I haven’t verified the latter yet). Anyway, because of its sweet fruit flavours and acidity, it coped well with the brisket and the spicy Korean BBQ sauce, plus the pleasure of hot alcohol and chili burn. It’s definitely a food wine and will improve greatly over another 3 years. Please check The Winehouse Warwick if you’re based in the UK.

Now let me introduce you to the most famous traditional Korean dessert, Pumpkin Cheesecake ta-da!

pumpkin cheesecake

Well, I had initially put rice cake on the menu and then changed my mind because there’s a lot of rice dishes already. Seckin, the other chef, specialises in patisserie and he makes some decadent delicious cakes. The first night we had Chocolate Cheesecake, which was divine, and this pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce was also a guilty pleasure.

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What a series of delicious nights with wonderful people! People from all walks of life, whose paths are unlikely to cross in normal life, get together around food and wine, sharing their stories and expertise. Isn’t it just fantastic?

Also, the fact that we eat in the most relaxing setting helps us to open up and be free in my opinion. 70% of the guests had never had Korean food before and I’m so glad to have given them the chance to taste it. Thank you all again for joining us and I hope to see you again soon at another event, which won’t be Korean! I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough of Korean for the past few months 😉 Please follow my Facebook page for upcoming events.

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