The Kigali Marriott invited me to try their Wine Down Wednesday event last week and I was intrigued! Knowing the weekly event is held at their beautiful Italian restaurant, Cucina, I was very eager to give it a try. I’ve had many a good meal at Cucinia but I’ve never ventured too far into exploring their wines, so I was excited to see what was on offer.
Truth be told, I’m not much of a wine connoisseur. I’m definitely the type to order a house red or white here in Kigali and, unless I happen to be at one of the nicer places in town, it always comes out of a box. Things have certainly improved in the wine department over the years, but I’m definitely not cultured when it comes to such things and I was curious to explore some of Cucina’s vast wine list.
From the welcome (or ‘Welco’… is that what the kids are saying these days?) sign upon entry, through to the characteristic quality service at Cucina, my friend and I really felt like we were well taken care of. The idea for the evening is to sample four different wines along with four paired ‘bites’ for Rwf 18,000. Both the pours of wine and the snacks were quite substantial and we certainly saw the value for money. When you consider this event is at the nicest hotel in Kigali, comes with four large samplings of wine, four high-quality snacks, and costs around $20 at the current exchange rate, I think it’s a crazy good deal.
The wines rotate on a weekly basis with some of the most popular ones making regular appearances. As mentioned, I’m not averse to drinking from any manner of dodgy boxed wine, so it was a real treat to get away from the usual house boxes of red or white and actually drink some proper stuff out of an actual bottle. I’m classy, I am!
The four wines were laid out in front of us and arranged so that we knew where to start, the progression, and which wine went with each snack. Hooked around the stem of each glass was a small tag telling the name of the wine, a few more details about what to expect, and then a description of the snack it was paired with. We were treated to Signore Giuseppe Prosecco (Italy) with a seafood ravioli to start, a Montmeyrac Rose (France) with a Caprese skewer for out second pairing, next up was the Villa Cardini Lambrusco (Italy) with a mini pizza, and last we had Villa Cardini Sangiovese (Italy) with bruschetta with prosciutto.
I appreciated the descriptions of each wine and the manager of food and beverage was on hand to give us some information on the wine and to answer any questions. My friend and I were especially surprised that that Lambrusco was both of our favourite. It was described as a slightly sweet red and, despite not liking sweet wine, we both loved it. The pairings all seemed perfect to me and were surprisingly filling. If you ask for a bread basket or finish with dessert, you’ll definitely leave feeling full. It’s a tasting but it could also be a light meal in itself.
Wine Down Wednesday is on every Wednesday (funny, that!) between 5 and 11pm at Cucina restaurant inside the KigalI Marriott. The restaurant is worth a visit anytime for it’s beautiful decor, excellent service, and refined Italian food, but on Wednesdays I’d say it’s better to stick to wine and snacks to get to sample a few different things to see what Cucina is all about.
Hours: Wednesdays 5pm – 11pm
Phone: +250 222 111 111