Misha shares the experience of being invited to one of the most glitzy black tie dinners of the year!
How often do you get invited to a black tie dinner in Hong Kong at the landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel with a wine selection that includes vintage Bollinger champagne plus selected vintages of Penfolds Grange, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Robert Mondavi Reserve, Frescobaldi, and Taylor’s Port? In fact on this special evening there were 10 wines selected to match a menu that was spectacular – both in taste and presentation! It was undoubtedly the most sublime evening of food and wine I’ve ever experienced in Asia!
The occasion was the 20th Anniversary of Jebsen Fine Wines – our distributor in both Hong Kong and China. Jebsen & Co is a private trade firm that was established in 1895 by a couple of Danish seafaring cousins who established trading routes between China and Europe. Over the years Jebsen has evolved into a diversified business coverings chemical, engineering, oil & gas, as well as metals & mining sectors and also become a sophisticated marketing, distribution and logistics company stewarding a portfolio of luxury yacht, camera and watch brands (including Raymond Weill) and even Porsche cars – a brand they have represented in Hong Kong for nearly 60 years and in China for the last 10 years! One of the newer divisions is the Fine Wine group but even that has twenty years of solid trading and has built an enviable reputation as one of the largest independent importer and distributors of premium wines and spirits in Greater China!
All 200 guests at this special dinner were individually welcomed by Chairman Hans Michael Jebsen, grandson of the founding partner who joined the company thirty years ago, and after a glass or two of Bolly we took our seats at the spectacularly dressed tables. There were many sublime food and wine matches but one of the most inspiring courses was served in a book! The waiting staff carried out piles of what appeared to be bound books which were presented to everyone. When the books were opened, they revealed a beautifully plated main course on a porcelain lined interior. Everyone reached for a camera or a mobile phone to capture the unique presentation of the course – in fact throughout the night it would have been hard to find someone who wasn’t taking photos of various courses! Even the San Pellegrino water (also a brand in the Jebsen portfolio) had special Bulgari packaging! The dessert course was also a very clever presentation as it looked exactly like a mango but was so much more than just a mango and the selection of cheeses on a two level glass platter also produced gasps of amazement. It was food presentation at its very finest but then we were at the glamorous Mandarin Oriental – a hotel which continues to be the vanguard of luxury with an enduring reputation for their legendary service.
Just over 40 principals from Jebsens’s wine brands attended the dinner, as well as the Jebsen Fine Wine team and over a hundred guests from Hong Kong’s top hotels and restaurants. Congratulations Jebsen Fine Wines – a fine achievement and a fine way to celebrate!