Romain Olivier is a tall, dark and handsome Frenchman with a penchant for cheeses. He is the third generation of the family that not only makes cheeses, but also represents many small artisanal cheesemakers in France, and is now bringing them to Hong Kong -- specifically Wineroom on the top floor of the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers every Friday evening from May 13.
The Wineroom is a cozy intimate space, decorated with wine bottles of course, but also comfortable seating and views of Victoria Harbour and Nathan Road. The highlight of course is the large marble table that is generously covered -- in cheese.
Olivier, who was visiting Hong Kong, explains Philippe Olivier, named after Romain's father, sells over 300 cheeses, and 20 are chosen for the Wineroom. They will be changed periodically, but basically there are selections of soft, semi-hard and pungent blue cheeses to choose from. The aim is to mix and match them with Champagnes, red and white wines and even beers and port.
The personable Olivier junior advises to start with the soft cheeses with Champagnes, and this includes goat cheese and brie, before moving onto semi hard cheeses with wines. One of the cheeses, Langres has its rind washed in Champagne which sounds pretty rich. Towards the end of the table are the blue cheeses, one of which is so creamy, one person remarked it was like ice cream which was a good observation.
You can either eat all the cheese you like with wild abandon, or be a cheese snob and clean your palate with chopped fresh fig, apricot, candied walnuts or spread the cheese on breads and crackers.
Olivier gets really excited talking about cheeses. His family's company helps small producers to sell their cheeses all over the world, including Japan, Singapore and Dubai.
"I talked to one of my producers and told them that I was going to be up in the Wineroom of the Sheraton where they have an amazing view and that I was going to present one of his cheeses," Olivier said. "The producer who lives in a country area in France was so excited to hear his cheeses were going to be sampled all the way in Hong Kong."
That's gourmet globalization.
The cheese tasting is available every Friday from 6:30-8:30pm at HK$248 + 10% per person. Wines, ciders, beers and port wines are available to pair with the cheeses.
18/F, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
20 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui