Cover La Taula founder Kanch Porta Panjabi (left) and her kimchi dumplings (right). Photos courtesy of Relish

The food and drink happenings that you should know about this week

This September, there is plenty to explore and plan ahead as the weather begins to cool. Here are our picks of the highlights, from homegrown delicacies and a new hotpot restaurant, to fine Australian wines and champagne-like sparkling tea. Let's get indulging!

See also: Julien Royer Is Asia's Best Chef, According To Best Chef Awards 2021

City'super And Feather & Bone Spotlight Homegrown F&B Brands

While we're all stuck in Hong Kong, there's no better time to get acquainted with the up-and-coming brands innovating in the F&B space right in our own backyard. Two of the city's biggest premium grocers, City'super and Feather & Bone, are highlighting local brands this season through collaborations and various initiatives.

At City'super, the supermarket chain is celebrating its 25th anniversary by debuting its own special edition peach-infused Helles lager. Developed in house using premium Yamanashi peaches from Naito Farm, the beer (HK$45 each) is sold in a custom-designed can featuring Chef Polar, a new character from the Manual Factory Bear brand created just for this product. Hong Kong-based N.I.P. Gin was also invited by City'super to create a limited-edition peach gin, this time using peaches from Nogawa Farm in Yamagata Prefecture; the gin will be sold from late September onwards.

Meanwhile at Feather & Bone, grassroots producers get pride of place. Hong Kong Raw Honey, which produces organic honey in Lantau and Yuen Long, will be hosting guided honey tastings at Feather & Bone locations every Sunday in October. Other local brands featured prominently within their retail outlets include Lantau Jerky, Schragels, Fok Hing Gin, XTC Gelato, and Young Master, who collaborated with Feather & Bone on a house beer called Three Butchers. The grocer is also working with local charity Harmony House for the month of September, to whom HK$5 from every beef burger sold is donated to support people facing financial difficulties. Find out more

Liu's Chong Qing Hot Pot Opens In Festival Walk

First launched in December 2000 as a small Chongqing street-side eatery, Liu's Chong Qing Hot Pot is making its Hong Kong debut on its 20th anniversary with the opening of its 1,265th location globally.

Taking design inspiration from Chongqing's historic Hongyadong riverside street as well as traditional Sichuan opera outfits, the brightly-coloured restaurant serves its signature mala spicy broth alongside other options like fish maw and sea conch soup, plus a soy milk broth for skincare fanatics. Meats like Kagoshima A4 wagyu chuck rib, USDA Prime short rib, Chongqing beef tripe and fresh seafood are dipped into these broths for an enlivening meal, all of which can be washed down with a selection of nourishing herbal tea drinks or shaved ice desserts.

The restaurant also offers lunch sets that include Yuchuan-style sashimi rice bowls, Chongqing spicy noodles and more for a quick dose of spice to get you through the day. Give the restaurant a visit only at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong.

Liu’s Chong Qing Hot Pot, Units UG-37 & 38, Level UG, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong; +852 2628 9891

Related: A Humble History Of The Hotpot, And Where To Eat It In Hong Kong

Accolade Wines Announces 2021 Australian Vintage Release

Although the Australian wine industry has had a tough time of it lately—what with the effects of the pandemic and regional geopolitical tensions—the country's wineries are nevertheless ploughing ahead with a brave face. Australian wine distributor Accolade Wines presents this year's release of vintages from some of the finest Australian vineyards, such as House of Arras, Grant Burge, St. Hallet, and Hardy's.

With an emphasis on the long ageing potential of Australian wines, some of this year's most promising expressions include the remarkably complex yet bright 2019 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay with its five to 15 years of potential ageing; Grant Burge's 2018 Abednego, a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvèdre varietals that features a peak drinking period from the year 2031 onwards; and the 2017 Old Block Shiraz from St. Hallet in the Barossa Valley, featuring vines with an average age of 100 years. 

Look for these vintages to become available from October 7 onwards at retailers like Watson's Wine, Enoteca, and Jebsen Fine Wines.

See also: Expert Advice: The Dos And Don'ts Of Collecting Wine

Relish Partners With La Taula For Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner

Wong Chuk Hang private kitchen Relish will be marking the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a one-night-only dinner with artisanal vegan cheese brand La Taula on October 8. Priced at HK$980 per person, the six-course menu is conceived in collaboration with La Taula founder and raw plant-based chef Kanch Porta Panjabi, from which 40 percent of profits will be donated to the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation. A free-flow package of hangover-free organic wines will also be on offer for an additional HK$350 per person.

"I love what Kanch brings to the table and can’t wait to unveil what else we have up our sleeves on the night," says Relish owner Abby Cadman. “I always want to make sure that when guests come to Relish, they feel they have had an experiential evening that is different to being in a restaurant.” Book your spot online now.

Relish, 22D Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong; relish.com.hk

Saicho Officially Launches Sparkling Tea In Hong Kong

You might have spotted intriguing bottles of Saicho's champagne-like sparkling tea at establishments like The Peninsula, Ritz-Carlton, and Mandarin Oriental in recent months. Now, you can bring home this fizzy, alcohol-free alternative as the beverage brand launches to the public for the very first time.

Founded by Hong Kong-born and bred Natalie Winkworth-Smith and husband Charlie, Saicho has been steadily gaining a fanbase in the UK over the past two years for its range of single-origin Fujianese jasmine, Darjeeling and Shizuoka hojicha sparkling teas. Served in champagne flutes, these teas are advertised as an alternative to conventional alcoholic options, with a complexity of flavour that merits its inclusion in food pairings too.

The teas are made by cold-brewing tea leaves for 24 hours to avoid the bitterness and astringency that normally comes with steeping in boiling water. Imparting bouquets of aromas in a svelte format, Saicho taps into a growing demand among increasingly health-conscious consumers for low- and no-ABV spirits and mixers, in the same vein as pioneering brands like Seedlip and Lyre's.

Saicho sparkling teas are sold in 24-bottle cases of 200ml bottles for HK$980, or six-bottle cases of 750ml bottles for HK$1,100 at stockists like HK Liquor Store

Related: 8 Of The Healthiest Cocktails In Hong Kong