446;

I let myself stumble back,
unwarranted,
into the colossal mess
that I swore to leave behind.
Just this once,
to succumb into the familiar emptiness
as the rays of the sun
peek from the horizon,
reminding me that the void
is still the reason why
I can’t get out of bed
on most mornings.

 

– 29/5/2015, “I have had better days, and I had worse.”

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”

Dad: “There is this champagne event tomorrow (Monday), do you wanna – ”
Me: “OKAY COUNT ME IN.”
Dad: “… come along. Okay I will get you an invitation.”

(Never turn down when your parents offer to bring you to such posh events, or you will be guaranteed to be missing out on a good eye-opening experience!)

The Veuve Clicquot Winemakers Degustation event was hosted at Maison Francaise in the heart of the city, with the notable French fine dining restaurant set up in white and orange decoration that compliments the colours of the champagne, with photos and brief descriptions of the history of Veuve Clicquot were displayed on the walls of the restaurant. It was an educating night of pairing different food with three champagnes from Veuve Clicquot. I really do appreciate the detailed explanation of each champagne given by the winemaker, Mr. Pierre Casanave, in his rather thick Southern France accent (which is brilliant, nonetheless, considering that I took notes throughout the dinner).

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Mr. Mathieu Duchemin, Managing Director (Directeur Général) at Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia & Singapore, giving his opening address to the degustation dinner.

[A little background to champagnes] Champagnes are known to have high levels of acidity and a relatively small amount of sugar and thus they compliment almost any food. I’d say that champagne is relatively easy to drink, probably because of its bubbly nature (which also gets people drunk more quickly, but note that researches differ from one another). Before the degustation event last night, champagnes were only known to me as celebratory drinks; little did I know that they are excellent with food, particularly seafood, salmon, mushroom, risotto and fruits of higher acidity like strawberry. (Well, this explains the choice of food in the 7-course menu for the degustation!)

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Foie gras ballotine, parmesan crumble and mango sphere, paired with the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label.

The Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label is a brut, driest in form and the most popular among champagnes. The Pinot Noir-based champagne is common and very food-friendly, therefore its crisp palate goes really well with almost any type of food.

Personal verdict: I love the forceful flavour and its racy acidity that hits my tastebuds, neutralising the savoury and creamy flavours of the foie gras.

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Creamy lobster bisque, oyster mushroom and fennel ravioli.

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Homemade smoked salmon, beetroot tartare, orange tuile with Meaux mustard cream, paired with the Veuve Clicquot Rosé.

Rosé champagnes are often deemed to be elegant and the colour ranges from baby pink to copper salmon. The Veuve Clicquot Rosé is dominated by the Pinot Noir, maintaining the intensity of the Clicquot roots. The Chardonnay and the Pinot Meunier are added to the blend, giving it elegance and rounding up the flavours respectively.

Personal verdict: I like the fruity taste that lingers behind the intense flavour. For me, the strawberry flavour was more powerful compared to the raspberry and cherry flavour (possibly due to the taste of the very ripe wild strawberries). Mum, on the other hand, tasted more of the raspberry.

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John dory fish, fennel risotto, carrots and coconuts foam, paired with the Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 2004.

The Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 2004 has more of the gold and amber colours in comparison to the Yellow Label. It is described to possess a chalky mineral component, finished with a fresh and generous fragrance and hints of a blend of fruits along with mixed spice.

Personal verdict: The La Grand Dame 2004 was my least favourite among the three champagnes, something that I did not quite appreciate. It is most likely due to the lack of a sophisticated palate of my tastebuds for finer champagnes with high complexities of flavours and substance. Nevertheless, it was worth a try; perhaps in time I’d learn to be appreciative of such a prestigious blend.

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Strawberry in mint infusion and kaffir leaf granite.

With Mr. Pierre Casanare, winemaker of Veuve Clicquot and Chef Thierry Le Baut of Maison Francaise.

With Mr. Pierre Casanave, winemaker of Veuve Clicquot and Chef Thierry Le Baut of Maison Francaise.

It was a very exquisite and fresh experience overall. I’d say that I had a good first degustation event with French fine dining cuisine, with first-hand knowledge from the winemaker himself. 🙂

A mandatory #OOTD shot, for it is a rare occasion when I dress up and be fancy.


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Nothing like a dose of inspiration from one of your idols :)

Nothing like a dose of inspiration from one of your idols 🙂

We have the tendency to forget of the little things that we already know of – after all, we are only human. I count myself really fortunate to have family and a bunch of good friends (and in today’s case, one of the people that I look up to!) who would remind me every now and then, reassuring me that we are all fighting the same battle at the end of the day.

Resolution, checked.

You know what they say about New Year’s resolution and how nobody sticks to fulfil them? Yeah, I am one of those people who makes resolutions in the first few minutes of the new year (whether tipsy or sober), but I barely check off my resolutions by the end of the year.

So I stopped making resolutions, because it dawned to me the only reasons that kept me in the loop to make resolutions are 1) to jump onto the bandwagon to ‘improve yourself by making a list of New Year resolutions’, sans the intention and effort to make them happen, and 2) because it sounds like I got my shit together.

The only resolution that remains is to be a better person. It’s the simplest yet the toughest resolution, one that has no prescribed timeframe to check off the list. I do see subtle changes in myself every year in different aspects: in the last year, I became more independent than before not because of the fact that I was living abroad, but because I see how important it is to be able to rely on yourself despite having people that you can count on.

I think I am seeing how I am trying (and succeeding!) to be better this year. It became apparent to me about how driven I have been this year, particularly in the last two months.

If you know me well enough, you’d know that I am the epitome of sloths; I’d not give two f*cks to do even the simplest of tasks. I’d justify with ten million reasons just so that I wouldn’t have to make my bed. I’d say “there is always tomorrow” and put off exercising.

Mum told me this one evening, when I was (reluctantly) helping her to cook dinner: “Jie, you are not so lazy since you got back from the UK. Very good, I like that.”

It then dawned to me how it is that simple to actually get things done: all you need is to put your mind to it with some conscious effort to get the work done. Simple. I fell into a routine (something that I have never done before, considering how utterly disorganised I am) of cooking meals instead of having takeouts, doing the laundry, studying and working out.

I like my new routine.
I like how motivated I’ve become.
I like this good feeling.

Who says that resolutions made at the beginning of every year would not work? They do, if you put the work to them. 🙂
Here’s to a good weekend!