There are so many reasons (and excuses) to drop by the new Dean & Deluca store in the basement of Solaria Plaza in Tenjin, but the other night we found yet another! Once a month, Tokyo-based Joaquin Rodriguez, a sommelier with Dean & Deluca in Tokyo, flies down to Fukuoka to produce “Wine Experience” events, each with a different theme. As Joaquin points out, the purpose of the events is not only to learn about wines, but to learn how to integrate them with the diverse range of fine foods in the Dean & Deluca store.
The class takes places in open view of other shoppers at a table for six in the center of the wine section. Joaquin’s delivers his friendly lecture whilst standing, using two suspended iPads to display charts and photos of the vineyards and foods that illustrate his points. Guided by Joaquin, the participants enjoy tasting each of the four wines that were poured for them during the lecture. Just over half-way through the experience, a plate of exquisite foods is served, to be used for further “study”.
Last evening’s theme was “Sauces & Wines”. Joaquin began with the basic five mother sauces, and then progressed to discussing modern sauces. He pointed out that it is often the sauce that you want to match to, and not the ingredients, and then explained strategies for matching sauces to wines.
As there were just six at the table, it was not only fun and easy to interact with Joaquin, but we ended up making friends with the other participants. With all the sipping, chatting, and eating, I can’t remember ever having enjoyed school so much!
The first class starts at 6pm, and the second at 8pm, and Joaquin usually holds the classes over two consecutive days. The fee is ¥4,000 (plus tax) per person and includes a pamphlet with details on all the wines, and a special offer of 10% off any purchase, wine or food item, at Dean & Deluca on the day!
What did I learn? Lots, including that I’ll be serving a Zinfandel at my next barbecue, a Riesling when we fry up calamari, and a Chardonnay with our next cream sauce dish.
Check the Dean & Deluca website for information on the next “Wine Experience” event in Fukuoka. www.deandeluca.co.jp
B2F Solaria Plaza (2-2-43 Tenjin, Chuo-ku)