A dinner with a Michelin starred Chef is (normally) something of an experience. When you put 12 of them together and add some great wines you prepare yourself for one of the meals of your life. That’s what happened last night and it blew me away.
The mood was set early. The 2nd day dinner of the International Gourmet Festival was going to be held at the Vila Joya’s fantastic restaurant room which sits just on top of a sandy beach and has a great sea view (where you can actually hear the waves).
Vila Joya is a highly respected 2 Michelin star restaurant located in heart of the Algarve in the south of Portugal. A cathedral of fine dining and number 37 in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.
Then, a line up of some of the best Chefs working in Portugal (or being Portuguese and working abroad) was nothing short of remarkable. The host Dieter Koschina and his right-hand men Matteo Ferrantino (in the picture) and a list of names that rarely get together in such an impressive setting: José Avillez, Ricardo Costa, Leonel Pereira, Vitor Matos, Benoît Sinthon, Hans Neuner, Albano Lourenço, Vincent Farges and George Mendes (who travelled all the way from NYC)!
And finally a wine list that included such stars as the fantastic Dom Pérignon Millésime 2004, the 2003 Pelada, the Niepoort Batuta 2010 or the Pintas Vintage Port 2007. The pairings would most probably make each of the night’s courses shine even more.
Expectation was at the highest possible level but what followed simply blew past it.
Cocktail First a premium Olive Oil tasting, with homemade grissini, salty focaccia and Oliveira da Serra’s brand new and truly delicious early harvested Portuguese olive oil. Then it was cocktail time! Grabbed a Port tonic and visited the very busy Vila Joya’s kitchen (with 12 Chefs and and their staff inside) preparing the 10-courses menu. Time for some interesting amuse bouche and we’re off for the dinner.
The Chef’s Table at Vila Joya. Available for sponsors and for those paying 600 € to attend the dinner.
The Portuguese Michelin Stars Dinner For 4 hours we indulged in a sequence of food masterpieces. Each of them paired with a specific wine and enjoyed with good conversation and even better company.
1. Fresh Gillardeau oysters. A great start to an amazing Michelin-starred dinner. Prepared by Chef Benoît Sinthon and produced since 1898 by the Gillardeau family and their small company near La Rochelle and the (gorgeous) Île d’Oléron in France. Brilliantly paired with a crispy and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Cortes de Cima.
3. Tuna Chūtoro, the tastiest fatty part of the tuna. Here cooked masterfully by Hans Neuner (Restaurant Ocean, Algarve). I’ve been transported to another dimension. Absolutely amazing!
4. Marinated Scottish salmon with Imperial Caviar by Henrique Leis. Paired very well with an oaky white from Herdade da Calada Reserva.
5. Red mullet, scallops and carpaccio by Ricardo Costa, the Michelin-starred Chef from @Theyeatman. A superb mix of amazing flavours.
6. Wild turbot & White truffles, a match made in heaven by Vincent Farge of Fortaleza do Guincho. Plus hazelnuts and Jerusalém artichokes (not really artichokes!). Totally blown away by the pairing with the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004
7. Black Truffle Cappuccino with chicken sot-l’y-laisse. Exciting textures and flavours in a dish created by Albano Lourenço. Also a great pairing for the Dom Pérignon. (no picture, sorry)
8. Roe Deer Back and Horseradish. Served early than what was listed one the menu because (they said) Chef Dieter Koschina thought the meat was perfectly cooked and ready to be served. A timely decision. The Roe Deer Back was one of the best meats I’ve had this year. Amazing balance in amazing dish. Dieter and Matteo (Ferrantino) rock as a team. Again a perfect pairing. The Niepoort Batuta 2010 is showing beautifully and together they are a match in heaven. Great stuff! (no picture, sorry).
9. Fois gras with onions and cauliflower. Beautifully presented but unfortunately the only uninteresting course of this otherwise great meal. After a set of quite amazing course this one lost its place. I’m sure that wasn’t intended. Maybe have it sooner next time?
10. Slow cooked hare, goose liver, white beans and mushrooms. A heavier but oh-so-delicious slow cooked dish. The sauce added extra thickness. Perfect pairing with the 100% Baga from Campolargo served in a Magnum bottle and also with the fantastic Álvaro de Castro Pelada 2003. Two great Portuguese red wines. Two of the best pairings of the night!
11. Wild berries, violets and grand cru chocolate. A surprisingly fresh dessert and actually the only way a dessert would fit in after 10 courses. The balance of ingredients was just perfect. The Wine & Soul Pintas Vintage Port from 2007 was fruity but elegant and powerful enough to pair with the last item on the menu. I was too busy with my Port to take a photo. After all a superb food night simply cannot end without a great Port Wine!
While slowly sipping through my glass of Port I remember thinking to myself that this was an one of the best food and wine experiences I’ve ever had. How wonderful of an opportunity to enjoy in one night the amazing food masterpieces created by some of the best food artists in the World. Thank you gentlemen. We’ll certainly meet again in the near future!
The 7th edition of the International Gourmet Festival continues this week with a fantastic programme that includes the likes of Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca), Nuno Mendes (Viajante), Quique Dacosta (Quique Dacosta) and many more Chefs.
I’m deeply excited about what I’ve been working on the past 12 months. After 6 exciting editions in Portugal, the first ever Adegga Wine Market outside Portugal will happen in Brussels on November 16th. A giant step for Adegga and a great opportunity to take a 7-year old wine business to a whole new level.
Brussels Wine Market 2013
We have carefully selected and invited 20 great wineries and winemakers from around Europe to present their best wines in the very informal Taste & Buy concept of the Adegga Wine Markets. To help consumers at the tasting we’ll once again present the innovative and successful Smart Wine Glass that allows wine consumers to seamlessly collect information about each of the wineries visited and wines tasted at the event.
The Port Experience
I believe in Port as one of the best wines in the world. I’m passionate about it and I’m crazy about the kind of experiences that Port can provide to wine lovers. We’ve had a special place for Port Wine since the first Adegga Wine Market. In Brussels we’re taking it one step further through an exclusive partnership with Niepoort, one of most respected Port Wine producers and home to extraordinary winemaker and Port evangelist Dirk Niepoort. Old and rare Port wines from 1952, 1977, 1981 and the now famous 2011 will be available to taste in this very special room. Unmissable.
Adegga Wine Market 2013
Before the year ends I’ll be back to Portugal for the 7th edition of the Adegga Wine Market, the Christmas wine event in Lisbon that is already considered one of the best in Portugal. The experience of a great team and a curated selection of great Portuguese wine producers will for sure make this Adegga Wine Market one of the best we’ve ever put together.
Plans & Ideas
Lots of planning for the next 2 years as we expand Adegga into Europe and at the same time prepare the launch of new set of Adegga services (news very soon) that will make many wine lovers very happy! Looking forward to what’s coming with many more wine events and the same goal of bringing wineries and wine consumers closer together. Hold on tight! It’s going to be an exciting ride!
Cadaqués is the type of village that I’m easily attracted to. A fishing port surrounded by small white houses with a kind of charming sunset colours that can make you fall in love at first sight. I was in Cadaqués to eat and eat well. My destination was a restaurant called Compartir.
Compartir is the Spanish word for sharing and that’s exactly what restaurant Compartir is all about. Dishes are specifically designed to be shared and to create conversation at the table. I was explained during lunch that in a table of 4 people a dish will always only include 3 or 5 units in an attempt to get people to discuss and enjoy together the moment of eating. I like it!
When I visit (and film) a wine region I want to know about the place, taste the wines and the local food but most of all I want to meet the people and the stories behind their wines.
Recently, invited by Jan Matthias Klein (winemaker at Staffelter Hof and Riesling enthusiast) I had the opportunity to do that in the Mosel valley, a gorgeous wine region where wine has been produced for many centuries and stories of wine overlap with stories of family.
Riesling is the main grape variety grown in the Mosel region. As you’ll see on the video vines are typically grow on steep slopes alongside the Mosel river and produce some of the most wonderful wines in the world.
It was a great trip to a great place and I’m definitely looking forward to come back soon.
Hope you enjoy the new video.
Olly Smith’s list of 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2013 has been released and is full of great value wines from Portugal.
The 50 Great Portuguese Wines is a Wines of Portugal initiative that happens every year in the UK and the US. For this year’s UK event, Olly Smith, a well known TV and wine personality, was selected to choose his list of 50 Great Portuguese Wines. Olly has decided to focus on finding the best value wines between £7 – £30.
Olly Smith was already the 9th expert to be selected for this initiative which has become an annual highlight for Portuguese wine and has helped raise awareness for the exciting diversity of what is being done in Portugal.
I’m a supporter of this initiative as I find that it works very well as a point of entry in the fantastic world of Portuguese wine for many wine lovers. Olly is a specially interesting selection for his ability to be consumer-focused and for his lively no-string-attached attitude towards wine.
Lots of good value options to choose from the 19 white wines, 27 red wines and 4 fortified wines. Here’s Olly Smith’s List of 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2013:
|1.||Vales de Ambrães – Avesso 2012||Vinho Verde||Where to buy|
|2.||Casa da Senra 2012||Vinho Verde||Where to buy|
|3.||Soalheiro 2012||Vinho Verde||Where to buy|
|4.||Alvarinho Solar de Serrade 2012||Vinho Verde||Where to buy|
|5.||FP 2012||Bairrada||Where to buy|
|6.||Quinta da Raza Arinto 2012||Vinho Verde||Where to buy|
|7.||Montes Ermos Reserva 2011||Douro||Where to buy|
|8.||Beyra Quartz 2011||Beira Interior||Where to buy|
|9.||Redoma 2011||Douro||Where to buy|
|10.||Quinta de la Rosa 2011||Douro||Where to buy|
|11.||Pato Frio Antão Vaz 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|12.||Vinhas do Lasso 2010||Lisboa||Where to buy|
|13.||Dona Ermelinda 2011||Península de Setubal||Where to buy|
|14.||Valle Pradinhos 2011||Tras-os-Montes||Where to buy|
|15.||Muros de Melgaço 2011||Vinho Verdes||Where to buy|
|16.||Quinta de Saes Encruzado 2011||Dão||Where to buy|
|17.||Quinta dos Roques Encruzado 2011||Dão||Where to buy|
|18.||Esporão Reserva 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|19.||Arenae 2010||Lisboa||Where to buy|
|20.||Marquês de Borba 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|21.||Almeida Garrett 2010||Beira Interior||Where to buy|
|22.||Sexy 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|23.||Zéfyro 2009||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|24.||Altano Quinta do Ataíde Reserva 2009||Douro||Where to buy|
|25.||PAPE 2010||Dão||Where to buy|
|26.||Claudia’s 2009||Douro||Where to buy|
|27.||Manoella Douro 2010||Douro||Where to buy|
|28.||Quinta Nova – Colheita 2010||Douro||Where to buy|
|29.||F’OZ 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|30.||Palpite 2010||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|31.||Poeira 2010||Douro||Where to buy|
|32.||Vertente 2009||Douro||Where to buy|
|33.||Trincadeira Vinhas Velhas 2009||Tejo||Where to buy|
|34.||Tinto da Ânfora 2010||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|35.||Duas Pedras 2011||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|36.||Crasto Superior 2010||Douro||Where to buy|
|37.||Quinta de Foz de Arouce 2009||Beiras||Where to buy|
|38.||Quinta dos Quatro Ventos 2009||Douro||Where to buy|
|39.||Aliança Bairrada Reserva 2011||Bairrada||Where to buy|
|40.||Quinta dos Roques 2010||Dão||Where to buy|
|41.||Esporão Reserva 2010||Alentejo||Where to buy|
|42.||Cedro do Noval 2009||Douro||Where to buy|
|43.||Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional 2009||Dão||Where to buy|
|44.||CH by Chocapalha 2009||Lisboa||Where to buy|
|45.||Quinta de la Rosa Reserve 2010||Douro||Where to buy|
|46.||Quinta do Sagrado Reserva 2007||Douro||Where to buy|
|Fortified (Port Madeira and Moscatel)|
|47||Verdelho 15 Years Old||Madeira||Where to buy|
|48||Moscatel de Favaios Colheita 1980||Douro||Where to buy|
|49||Família Horacio Simões Bastardo 2009||Península Setúbal||Where to buy|
|50||Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim Vintage Port||Douro||Where to buy|
More information about each wine and a list of places where to buy them (around the world) is available by clicking on each wine.
Finally, watch Olly selecting and explaining what he thinks about Portuguese Wine during his 50 Great Portuguese Wines tasting and selection:
I was recently in the Mosel wine region where, guided by a local winemaker, I discovered some of the exciting places shaping local food and wine culture. Die Graifen is one of those places. Part restaurant, part vintage furniture shop and part winery, this place has a special atmosphere to it that comes from their owners love for what they do.
After two visits and two delicious meals, Matthias Decker (the owner), invited me for an off-hours visit. On a Friday afternoon I joined him in the kitchen while he prepared some handmade tortellini for supper and explained the concept behind Die Graifen and their use of tasty international cuisine with local ingredients. I filmed Matthias making the tortellini and decided to make this the second episode of my food, wine and travel video series.
Restaurant: Die Graifen – graifen.de
Address: Wolfer Weg 11, Traben-Trarbach (Mosel), Germany.
Phone: (+49) 06541-811075
Spent 5 days in Hungary discovering its multicultural food and wine culture. Travelled to Tokaj to taste deliciously sweet wines and fresh white wines. Stopped in Eger to learn about Bikavér and meet a group of fantastic wine makers. Finally wandered around Budapest and visited the glorious food market.
I’ve been wanting to do videos of my food and wine discovery trips for a while. This is my first attempt at it. This time I’ve decided to take my DSLR camera to Hungary and film as much as I could. When I came back I edited the footage and this is the final result. Let me know what you think!