March 20, 2010

The dessert of Can Roca

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A bunch of foodies gathered at the Mandarin Grill tonight for a dinner featuring the cuisine of El Celler de Can Roca, the Michelin three-star restaurant in Girona, Spain.  Jordi Roca was here and presided over a very special menu, and I also took the wine pairing.

We were fortunate to have extra special service tonight, thanks to Antoine and Pierre.  This would probably be the last time I see Pierre at the Mandarin, and I'm a little sad.  But then again, hopefully I'll end up seeing him a little more now that he's no longer tied to a job as the sommelier...

Ostra al cava (cava sólid agusti torelló i mata) - this is an interesting interpretation of cava... it's oysters with oyster leaf (which tastes just like an oyster), candied citrus rind with the taste of preserved orange rind (陳皮), cava caviar (molecular), and a bit of a particular cava that was made in conjunction with Can Roca that is especially viscous - thanks to the addition of gelatin.  Very nice.

2004 Augusti Torelló Cava Kripta Gran Reserva - very refreshing, with notes of pear.  Became more acidic and the toasty oak more prominent with the oysters.  A little ripe on the palate.

Parmentier de calamar - with squid caparccio, potato mash with paprika made from pimentón de la vera, and foam from the broth that the squid was cooked in.  Very nice.  The baby squids were a little bland, and was much better with a pinch of sea salt.

2007 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño - I really like Albariño from Rias's always so exotic!  The first whiff produced nose of ripe cheese like Manchego, giving way to minerals, ripe and oxidized pear, sugar cane and tropical fruits.  Acidic and alcoholic on the palate.

Lenguado Mediterráneo - this was pretty special... filet of sole with 5 different sauces, representing 5 different shades of the Mediterranean sun.  Dill: not bad; Bergamot: a little tart unless you chew on the flower; Orange: my favorite of the 5, with sweet caramel; Pine nut: nice and toasty, with the full flavors of the nutty oil; Olive: very much the green olive flavor.  At the end we also mixed the 5 sauces together, which was not bad.

2008 Torres Fransola - made from old Sauvignon Blanc vines, this was my favorite white of the evening.  Nose was really tropical fruit, with telltale muscat, minerals as well as floral notes.  You can definitely smell the toasty oak barrels.

Cochinillo ibérico - Spanish piglets which weigh only around 4kg... slow cooked for more than 12 hours.  Nice layer of full-flavored fat underneath a layer of skin that was paper-thin.  The meat wasn't as flavorful, but I thought the skin and the fat kinda made up for it. The shallots were soooo nice...

2003 Alion - wow!  I was so surprised by this second wine from Vega Sicilia... Nose was really open and beautiful, with lots of sweet fruit and a bit of forest.  It's from a very hot and ripe vintage, but it was so well-balanced that I didn't really feel the alcohol.

Adaptación del perfume; Terre de Hermes - this was a chocolate dessert made with patchouli ice cream.  But in reality I did not detect any trace of the mossy, musky fragrance of the plant.  Instead I picked up the clear orange flavor (like Grand Marnier) which is another component of the perfume.  The crumbs around the dessert was meant to represent flavors of the earth, of which there was a little bit...  But I think the chocolate was just a little overpowering.

1969 Mas Amiel Maury - nice to be able to drink a sweet wine from this vintage.  It is clearly an oxidized wine, with nose of caramel, raisins, roasted coffee beans in addition to the sharp alcohol.

Postre láctico : leche de oveja ripollesa - Wow!  This dessert got everybody excited.  Jordi created this dessert after being inspired by his baby nephew, who always smelled of milk.  It consists of 4 different forms of sheep's milk: caramelized milk, mousse, ice cream and yogurt.  The whole thing was covered in cotton candy, and paired with guava sauce.  The first bite produced clear flavors of sheep's milk, but it wasn't overpowering.  Everyone's favorite dessert of the evening.

Emilio Lustau Moscatel Reserve - very nice... Notes of forest, pine needle, mint, walnuts and a little bit of smoke.  I kept refilling my glass at the end of the meal...

This was certainly a very good meal.  I am really happy that the Mandarin managed to get Jordi here, and I definitely want to go visit these guys in Girona on my next trip to Spain!

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