A Cheese Affair at Shangri-La Colombo

May 02 2024.

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Meet Olivier Poulard as he delves deep into his plans for Colombo’s cheese connoisseurs and culinary enthusiasts during the much-anticipated French Cheese Week, hosted exclusively by Shangri-La Colombo from May 13th to 19th. Prepare to be enchanted by the grandeur of the largest cheese display ever assembled on Sri Lankan soil, boasting more than 60 tantalizing varieties, including rare artisanal selections never before seen in the country. Guiding this epicurean journey is Olivier Poulard, a luminary in the world of French cheese, whose passion and expertise promise an unforgettable exploration of France’s rich cheese heritage.

Paired with the expertise of Barton & Guestier’s esteemed French wine Sommelier, visiting from France, each tasting experience promises to be a harmonious fusion of flavour and finesse. With limited seats available, seize the opportunity to indulge in this culinary celebration, as Olivier Poulard invites you to indulge in the essence of French cheese culture like never before.

Q AS PART OF ‘A CHEESE AFFAIR’, AT SHANGRI-LA COLOMBO, WHAT CAN GUESTS EXPECT FROM YOUR CHEESECENTRIC PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS? ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS THEY CAN LOOK FORWARD TO? Guests will have the opportunity to explore the cheese culture of France and experience the richness of its products. With the largest variety of cheeses to be displayed and explored, they’ll discover the spectrum of flavours from sweet to robust. There will be surprises featuring exceptional products with fascinating histories, some of which date back to the Middle Ages!

Q HOW WILL THE COLLABORATION WITH BARTON & GUESTIER ENHANCE THE CHEESE-TASTING EXPERIENCE? The collaboration with Barton & Guestier adds an extra layer of sophistication to the tasting experience. The synergy between wine and cheese is impeccable, thanks to the shared fermentation techniques and complementary flavours.

Q COULD YOU SHARE INSIGHTS ON THE SELECTION PROCESS OF THE FRENCH CHEESES PRESENTED DURING THE CHEESE WEEK? I have curated a selection of 60 cheese varieties based on seasonal variations, akin to the fashion industry’s collections. The taste of cheese varies depending on the season due to differences in animal feed, resulting in distinct flavour profiles. It’s all about offering guests a diverse and authentic experience.

Q AS AN AMBASSADOR OF FRENCH CHEESE CULTURE, YOU MUST HAVE HAD A REMARKABLE CULINARY JOURNEY. COULD YOU SHARE SOME PIVOTAL MOMENTS OR EXPERIENCES THAT FUELED YOUR PASSION FOR CHEESE? From a young age, I accompanied my father on journeys across France, exploring small farms and restaurants, and discovering various culinary delights. Working in cheese factories and restaurants worldwide further solidified my passion, as these experiences were pivotal in sharing the rich culture of cheese.

Q GROWING UP IN FRANCE, SURROUNDED BY DIVERSE CHEESE VARIETIES, HOW DID YOUR CHILDHOOD, FAMILY, AND EDUCATION INFLUENCE YOUR PROFOUND CONNECTION TO CHEESE AND FRENCH CULINARY TRADITIONS? My father, a connoisseur himself, introduced me to cheese at an early age, igniting a lifelong pursuit of taste exploration. Geography lessons involved studying France’s cheese map, and the cheese platter became a staple at every meal, fostering a deep appreciation for French culinary traditions.

Q HOW DOES FRENCH CHEESE DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM CHEESE FROM OTHER REGIONS, AND WHAT MAKES IT TRULY UNIQUE? French cheese boasts a rich history rooted in preserving milk on farms and providing sustenance during lean periods. The use of raw milk from diverse animal breeds imparts distinct flavours, coupled with ancient manufacturing techniques and unique maturation processes, setting French cheese apart.

Q CAN YOU SHED LIGHT ON THE ART AND CRAFT INVOLVED IN FRENCH CHEESE PRODUCTION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO THE COUNTRY’S CULINARY HERITAGE? French cheese production involves meticulous craftsmanship, often by small-scale producers with generations-old techniques. From daily milk transformation to secret ageing processes in caves, each step contributes to the rich culinary heritage, offering unique tastes that reflect centuries of tradition.

Q WITH YOUR EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FRENCH CHEESE, AND HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THEM? Misconceptions often arise from a lack of understanding about the cheese-making process and ingredients. I clarify that cheese is solely derived from cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk, dispelling any notions of additional ingredients. By educating guests about the simplicity of cheese production, we bridge the knowledge gap.

Q HOW DO YOU EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT THE DIVERSE RANGE OF FRENCH CHEESES AND THE ART OF PAIRING THEM WITH DIFFERENT ACCOMPANIMENTS? I offer a comprehensive cheese discovery tour, showcasing cheeses from various regions and types. By exploring textures and flavours, guests gain insights into the vast cheese culture. Pairing sessions demonstrate the versatility of cheese, from soft to pressed varieties, enriching the tasting experience.

Q WHAT SETS FRENCH CHEESE CULTURE APART, AND HOW DOES IT CONTRIBUTE TO THE GLOBAL CULINARY SCENE? The diversity and richness of French cheese culture provide a unique playground for culinary experimentation. Its influence extends beyond borders, inspiring chefs worldwide to incorporate cheese into diverse dishes, from appetizers to desserts, enriching the global culinary landscape with endless possibilities.

Cheese Tasting at Tiki Bar with Live Entertainment    

  • May 13th-15th, 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm
  • Starting from LKR 12,500++

French Cheese Platter at Capital Bar & Grill and Sapphyr Lounge

  • May 13th-19th, 5.00 pm to 12.30 am
  • Starting from LKR 5,900++

6 Course Cheese Inspired Menu at Capital Bar and Grill  

  • May 16th-18th, 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm  
  • Starting from LKR 22,000++  

Cheese Trolley at the Sapphyr Lounge  

  • May 19th, 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm
  • Starting from LKR 6,500++   For more info please contact the hotel.


Pix courtesy Shangri La


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