Thursday, April 18, 2013

Savouring "Game of Thrones" Treats at HBO Asia's Season 3 Premiere Party

HBO Asia is definitely swaying towards the side of evil these days. Especially when it comes to the insanely popular TV series "Game of Thrones".

Would decent folks marry geekery, gourmet food and yummy eye candy together? No! 'Coz that's a downright evil thing to do!

Red Dot Diva could imagine a huddle of HBO Asia executives scheming over how they could make the premiere launch as enticing as possible. Let's screen the opening episode of Season 3 "Game of Thrones" surrounded by lots of good food, they must have determined.

And that's how a bunch of hapless invited guests, including Red Dot Diva, ended up at Savour 2013 one fateful evening of March 12th for HBO Asia's "Game of Thrones" Season 3 premiere launch party.

As its name suggests, Savour 2013 is Red Dot Island's largest gourmet food festival. The event is held at F1 Pit Building and Paddock, just beside the Singapore Flyer. There were little white tents, stylish lighted orange balloon lamps and even a performance stage. Argh. Even the venue was pretty!

March 12th turned out to be a yucky, muggy day. Despite of that, Red Dot Diva managed to arrive at the venue only half-melted from the unrelenting heat. She immediately sought refuge at Lounge 2 where HBO Asia was holding court. Ahhh... Air-conditioner. Ooohh... Chilled white wine. Mmm.... Jon Snow media tag.

There was some time before the next activity, so after she had quenched her thirst, she decided to take a look at the Gourmet Market located at the F1 Pit Building opposite. Jason's Supermarket was one of the more prominent exhibitors. There were also others, which ranged from distributors of fruits and wines to meats and pastas. There was also a rather impressive cheese section.

After wandering around for awhile, Red Dot Diva was undecided about what to buy from the Gourmet Market. There was still time to shop later, so she returned to join the others just in time for a cooking demonstration of cuisines from the land of Westeros!

A young lad led the group back across the paddock to the Gourmet Market Demo Kitchen at Level 2, where a cute, cheery chef with nommy tattooed arms was waiting to begin his demonstration.

At first, Red Dot Diva could not place his accent, which was almost French but not. She later found out that chef's name is Claudio Sandri (see? this is why Red Dot Diva is not a food blogger!), a Swiss native with a long list of culinary achievements and also owns a restaurant called Spathe Public House.

Chef Claudio began by introducing the ingredients for Sansa Stark's favourite dish - Lemon Cakes! He started off by demonstrating how to prepare chopped lemon zest, and it was interesting to note that cloves and saffron were added to the mix for that extra kick. The oven at the kitchen studio was taking its time, but there were Lemon Cakes (two versions of them!) ready on the table. Everyone was invited to sample a piece or two. Red Dot Diva thought it tasted more like lemon cookies.

The next dish Chef Claudio demonstrated was a hearty meal of Mereneese lamb with Carrots and Raisins. There was no grill at the venue, unfortunately. So, the lamb - marinated with honey and vinegar - was prepared in a pan over a hot electric stove. The chunks of carrots were mixed and cooked with raisins with dashes of cumin, honey and vinegar and later added to the lamb. There was only one piece of lamb available for each person, and it left Red Dot Diva wanting for more. The dish had a nice zing to it. There was a lovely sweetness from the meat and raisins, followed by an interesting after taste of spicy vinegar.

Red Dot Diva with the cute Chef Claudio Sandri!

The entertaining cooking demonstration took just over 45 minutes. Rubbing their hands with glee and fully aware that their nefarious plans to whet their guests' appetites have been successful, HBO Asia's "Game of Thrones" screening of the S3 premiere episode could now begin. Lounge 2 was quite crowded by then, as more guests had arrived, chatting and tasting the gourmet wares from the various chef booths along the food row.

Red Dot Diva settled for an Arancini - or Sicilian fried/ stuffed rice ball. Even though it looked humble and so un-gourmet-like, the palm-sized offering (by Chef Lino Sauro of Gattopardo) filled with meat, peas and some mozzarella cheese was surprisingly tasty. And quite filling too!

Plus, the Arancini was an enjoyable oral accompaniment while watching the first episode "Valar Dohaeris" on a big screen. Hellooooo.... Jon Snow *in* snow within the first few minutes!!! And woohoo! The episode was uncensored! (Ser Bronn, you naughty naughty man!)

Red Dot Diva is pretty sure that some bits (*ahem*) might end up on the cutting floor when HBO Asia premieres "Game of Thrones" S3 on April 20th, 9pm Singapore time. But, there is no denying that the series is still so beautiful to watch and continues to weave wondrous tales of power, love and loss.

The main beef Red Dot Diva has about "Game of Thrones" episodes: they always seem to end faster than she expects! Before the launch party wrapped up, everyone was invited for a try at the lucky dip. Red Dot Diva got away with a GOT water bottle :D

There was some time before the fair closed at 11 pm and she still had $26 worth of vouchers to spend, so Red Dot Diva trooped back up to the Gourmet Market.

She took a good look at all the fine wines and different kind of cheeses, then finally decided to grab two packets of chips, a pack of dark plums for Dad and a bag of biscotti for Mom.

Not a bad haul for a night which was all about geeky and delicious things. Red Dot Diva certainly has no complaints!


Here's another trailer for "Game of Thrones" Season 3. Don't forget to tune in this Saturday!


Special thanks to HBO Asia for the diabolical invite. (Lovely to see you all - Karen, Angela and Zee!)

For more Westeros-y food recipes, check out The Inn At the Crossroads - an official "Game of Thrones" food blog!

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