Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows 2014 at Danga Bay, Johor Bahru

Having read the many exciting stories about it, I had my maiden experience of theHennessy Appreciation Grows when docked at Danga Bay. It was an ultimate culinary experience of fine food paired with fine cognac...Hennessy of course! 

Love the attention to details and I mean fine details for the entire experience. From a culinary view point, we are definitely in the good hands of Chef Viet Pham. This brilliant (and friendly) chef is a three times James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef: Southwest and “Iron Chef Winner”. And if you are in Utah, then check out Chef Viet Pham's Forage Restaurant in Salt Lake City. 

And since this is a fine dinner with the world's first and oldest cognac, it is only right that we begin our gastronomic adventure with Hennessy XO cognac, hosted by a Moet Hennessy Spirits Ambassador. We are given a technical tasting run through of Hennessy XO. Each sip is smooth and velvety, fruity , oaky and slightly spicy on the palates. Then we are ushered into our respective seating amongst fellow media pals and the invited guests.

The  Spirit of Conquest brings us to 5 ports for dinner with the mood set with a 360 view of the land we sail to. To add to the experience,  there was live entertainment for each continent. Indeed an experience for all senses! 
Pardon the photos as no cameras were allowed during the dinner. But typically foodies, the handphone comes into play even in a less than optimum lighting conditions. To do justice to the beautifully plated dishes, I have included the pics taken by the professionals during dinner as well!

First port is Paris. And this is only right to give tribute to the birth place of the original XO in 1870. Eiffel extravagance with scallops roasted over embers with caramelised onion, and ‘almost burnt’ cream. The scallops were brilliant on its own. Undoubtedly only the freshest scallops were selected. The almost burnt cream is rather addictive in its own way and proves to be a perfect companion to the sweetness of the scallops. And taken with hennessy X.O cognac, its a luxurious experience of sorts for the taste buds. 
I close my eyes and honestly, I was lost in the pleasures of what I would consider my favourite dish for the night. And hopefully when I head in to Paris in 3 months, I will rekindle this joy.
 French Cabaret
Sweetness on Seine

We sail East for China with the next course Yellow River Richness. Love the idea of mushrooms and duck eggs, both which are typically "Chinese". A delightful poached duck eggs sits in a bath of smooth Shitake mushroom mousse with lil bites of toasted sprouts. A sip of Hennessy X.O now intensifies  the finishing of the cognac. 
Simple looking but its a well thought dish. Comforting to a large extent except that its probably a little too salty for my personal preference. But this is sorted out with a sip of Hennesy after every spoonful of the mousse. Its an experience for the palates with the luscious smoothness of Hennessy X.O.
China and its Shanghai Jazz!
Yellow River Richness

The Spirit of Conquest head on next to America. Arriving in a period of American history known as the Gilded Age, Hennessy X.O made its timely debut as an elegant and sophisticated luxury. The Mild Hudson plays tribute to the Great American Dream. Clean eating with sea bass wrapped with savoy cabbage and luxurious Osteria caviar. I am smitten with the pairing as it unveals the boldness and smoothness of the cognac.
Seabass wrapped in savoy cabbage and topped with Osetra Caviar
Jazz Quintet
The Mild Hudson

We sail to Italy and we are brought back to the days of 1893 when the Original X.O made its way there. Spicy Mediterranean took me by surprise with crispy chicken parmesan topped with tangy tomato and mushroom ragu. I am not much of a chicken breast and breaded chicken fan but the ragu was certainly comforting and welcoming as far as I am concerned. So I happily donated my chicken and enjoyed my ragu which brought out the earthiness of the Hennessy X.O. And interesting experince of its own!
I found comfort and joy in the homely tomato and mushroom ragu. Had it been chicken thigh, this would have been my second favourite dish for the night.
Opera perfomance
Spicy Mediterranean

Last course for the night and we set forth for Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. Osaka Bay Freshness is a cold dessert of Japanese umeboshi sorbet and Yuzu mousse. A delightful salty, citrussy and definitely refreshing end to dinner. Pretty little that smoothen our palates for the night and its an elegant pairing that brings out the balance of fruits and acidity of Hennessy X.O. Accompanying this last dish is energetic and spectacular Japanese drum performance by the Wadaiko Syo troupe. 
Osaka Bay Freshness: Japanese umeboshi sorbet and Yuzu mousse
Japanese drum performance by the Wadaiko Syo troupe
Osaka Bay Freshness

Sailing through 5 ports on a gastronomic adventure with Hennessy X.O is perhaps my best experience this year. It was an extravagant indulgence of fine food by Chef Viet Pham and fine Hennessy X.O cognac for my 5 senses. And all this is made possible thanx to the folks at Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia (and Geometry Global). Definitely a night to remember as we mingled among fellow bloggers, media and the distinguished guests.

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Full set of pictures: Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows @ Danga BayDo head on over to the following channels to stalk me (and show some love too)!