Last night I had the incredible pleasure and honour of being amongst 30 guests who were invited to attend the 3rd edition of the Culinary Experience South Africa at the Happy Hippo hosted by Chef Scoff in association with Remy Martin. Nestled in the silhouette of the new moon, the five-course rooftop spectacle started off with warm up Remy Martin cocktails served with an array of canapés topped with a selection of delicious toppings on baguette slices. As the balance of the guests arrived, the procession moved into the main indoor dining area where we were welcomed with a few warm words by the chef as well as the Costal Remy Martin Brand Ambassador Minenhle Kunene who shared a bit about the brand and how the cognac tasting part for the evening would proceed. He also explained to us that there would be a competition running throughout the night where guests stood a chance to win a premium bottle of Remy Martin V.S.O.P and all we needed to do to stand a chance to win was post pictures throughout the night on social media and use the official hashtag #TheCulinaryExperienceSA. In the end, the coveted price went to a lovely lady by the name of Zuzile Mkhize.
Once everyone was settled in their seats, the starters were served: handmade tortellini pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese, spinach and mushroom filling, with a cream and parmesan sauce ̶ paired with a Remy Martin drink of course. Following which, a puréed pineapple-lemon pallet cleanser shot garnished with mint. Then began the tasting part of the evening.
Minenhle expanded on the production process and distinctions between the different kinds of cognac produced by the brand; the various flavour notes infused and how they were developed. He then lead us through the two stages of tasting: the sensual tasting using sight and smell which if done right heightened the experience when we eventually got to the second stage of the physical tasting because it allowed us to experience the taste of the spirit in its purest form without the harsh burn of its gases.
Thereafter, the first main was served followed by the second and finally -easily my favourite part of the evening- dessert.
The next one promises to be even better with talks of a themed culinary experience featuring an even more adventurous menu. Overall it was a wonderful evening of fine dining with a backdrop of smooth contemporary jazz sounds in the company of some great people. Pretty much all my favourite things at once. Chef Scott is an internationally travelled chef who frequently hosts dining experiences, such as The Culinary Experience as well as Shisanyama Shandis. He also does private catering. For bookings and more information on the kind of work he does: