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HONG KONG CELEBRATES THE COOLER DAYS OF AUTUMN WITH THE WINE AND DINE FESTIVAL

By Karisa Lui

Hong Kong is a city that loves its food in all seasons, whether it be from a roadside stall or in a bustling local restaurant or in a serene, elegant fine-dining establishment. But it is in autumn, when chillier weather sharpens the appetite, that food tantalises people's senses and so it is in this season that the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival takes place.

 

This festival, the city's biggest annual culinary event, is a month-long celebration of fine food and wine. It is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and title-sponsored by China Construction Bank (Asia) (CCB) and the festivities are launched with a four-day party, due to take place this year from 30 October to 2 November.

A grand party requires a great location, and this year's opening events will be held next to Hong Kong's newest landmark, the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, situated on the runway of the former Hong Kong International Airport. Offering over 1,000 culinary items, including wine selected by certified sommeliers, award-winning Chinese dishes and creations by Michelin-starred chefs, the event promises to be a sumptuous feast. For the first time, a "Country Pavilion" zone will take partygoers on a global wine journey. Participants will explore different parts of the world as they stroll along various themed streets and villages, including a village dedicated to the wines of Bordeaux, an izakaya street, a Latin-American street showcasing wines from Argentina and Chile, and streets celebrating France, Italy and other European wine-producing countries.

HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam says: "The opening party at Kai Tak will be the curtain raiser for this year's CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival. The HKTB has specially designed and decorated the new party venue to represent a delightful urban garden, so that guests can enjoy world-class cuisine and wines in a relaxing environment right next to the iconic Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. And to add to the excitement, Kai Tak will be welcoming a cruise liner during the festival period, and we will encourage the passengers to join our party."

The celebration then continues city-wide until 30 November with food and wine promotions and special dining offers, international wine events featuring the latest wines and wine trends from around the world, wine appreciation seminars, master chef classes, themed tours, carnivals and other exciting events.

In recent years, Hong Kong has been attracting chefs from around the world. They have joined masters from the local, traditional culinary scene to create a tantalising cuisine that is truly new and different. They are combining some of the world's greatest delicacies - rare white truffles from Northern Italy, for example - with unique local foods from the land and the sea, some of which are only available in autumn. No wonder these experts can excite the taste buds of even the most jaded travelling gourmet.

So vibrant has Hong Kong's culinary scene become that the region is now home to a variety of prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants. And there are other accolades: for example, Amber Restaurant has been ranked fourth on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 list. Forbes Travel has named the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival one of the top 10 International Food and Wine Festivals. Its prestige and popularity increases year by year, but - as always - all visitors need is an appreciation for the fine things in life ... along with a good appetite!

Adding to the wine-and-dine experience this year will be the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show, a sensational 3D mapping show featuring the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Clock Tower. This exciting new event is due to take place from 29 October to 16 November. It promises to be a feast for the eyes!