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ISSUE No: 8

September 2017

Delicious Autumn Edition

SHADES OF

AUTUMN Delicious

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Editorial ISSUE No: 8

Food For Thought

September 2017

Delicious

A

Autumn Edition

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SHADES OF

AUTUMN 04/09/2017 4:48 PM

Printing & Publishing: Union Print Co. Ltd, A41, Marsa industrial Estate, Marsa, MRS 3000 +356 25900200 Editor: Omar Vella delicious@unionprint.com.mt

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower Albert Camus

Design: Ryan Bezzina design@unionprint.com.mt Front image: Courtesy of Delia Group Index: Courtesy of Peter Bo¨linger Photos: We thank all contributers for providing photos and images Recipes: We thank all contributers for the recipes provided Advertising: Marthese Cauchi mcauchi@unionprint.com.mt +356 79829831 Darren Borg darrenborg@unionprint.com.mt +356 99878715

This magazine is distributed for free with it-Torça. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form without the prior consent of Union Print Co. Ltd. While we make every effort to make sure that the content of Delicious is correct, we cannot take any responsibility nor be held accountable for any factual errors printed.

utumn is at the doorstep eagerly waiting to take the scene and bring along the distinctive features that make it stand out from the rest. The bright summer colours are overshadowed by earth colours which dominate the countryside, fashion outlets as well as our kitchens. Indeed, the food industry experiences a dramatic metamorphosis where gazpachos, cold pastas and ice-creams make their way for more heavy food. Autumn is a time we associate with game and orange colours which inspire the brains of local and foreign chefs who opt for pies, casseroles and roasts prepared with amazing ingredients such as pumpkin, squash, and a vast range of meats. The game season is a serious matter in a number of European countries such as Sweden where we had the opportunity to interview Chef Daniel Berlin who shared with us the importance of the hunting season and how autumn changes his mood in the kitchen. Although Malta does not have a strong game season, the local kitchen exalts itself during this period by the availability of lampuki, calamari, quail and other autumn ingredients with which chefs prepare amazing pies, soups and other great dishes. We had the opportunity to discuss the autumn season with several Maltese chefs operating in Malta and abroad. It is impressive how such a season exalts their talent. Autumn does not only have an impact on food but also on sweets. Pastry Chefs use their talent to prepare cakes and pies which accentuate the distinct taste of oranges, pears, apples and berries. Autumn is such a great season which has so much to offer to all those who love food. The autumn edition seeks to bring together the views of various local and foreign chefs on the autumn season. Above all, this edition aims to further highlight the talent Malta offers in the food industry which in the years to come can see our country develop into a centre of food excellence. I wish you all a pleasant read!

Omar Delicious

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Fabrice Vulin

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Gordon Galea Michel Willaume Michael Sultana Carl Zahra Peter Bรถlinger Shane Delia Mauro Colagreco Jerome Landrieu Lena & Nicolas Tetsu Yahagi Malcolm Bartolo Daniel Berlin Simone Padoan Damian Ciappara Hany Harb Dr. Z. Teebi Reno Spiteri


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MONDAYS 08:00 - 20.00 TUESDAYS 08:00 - 20.00 WEDNESDAYS 08:00 - 20.00

Psaila Street, Santa Venera t. 2148 0807

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P A R K I N G

THURSDAYS FRIDAYS SATURDAYS SUNDAYS

Gorg Borg Olivier Street, St Julian’s t. 2137 8520

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The Native from the East

Originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). The ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. In India, it has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient in innumerable recipes, and forms the basis of many other spice blends. Cumin was also introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Several different types of cumin are known, but the most famous ones are black and green cumin, both of which are used in Persian cuisine. Today, the plant is mostly grown in Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Mexico, Chile, and China. Since cumin is often used as part of birdseed and exported to many countries, the plant can occur as an introduced species in many territories. Its flowers are small and can be either white or pink in colour. The plant produces a tiny, compressed fruit containing a single seed similar to fennel, but smaller in size and slightly darker in colour. Cumin is a drought-tolerant, tropical, or subtropical crop. It has a growth season of 100 – 120 days. The optimum growth temperature ranges are between 25 and 30° C. The Mediterranean climate is most suitable for its growth. Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of three to four months. At low temperatures, leaf colour changes from green to purple. High temperature might reduce growth period and induce early ripening. In India, cumin is sown from October until the beginning of December, and harvesting starts in February. In Syria and Iran, cumin is sown from mid-November until mid-December

CUMIN is a flowering plant that has been in use since ancient times. Seeds excavated at the Syrian site Tell ed-Der have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites. In the ancient Egyptian civilization, cumin was used as spice and as preservative in mummification.

(extensions up to mid-January are possible) and harvested in June/July. As a spice, cumin has a distinctive aroma that is used to add flavour and to compliment the natural sweetness of a food or dish. Although it's sometimes used in North African, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisine, the spice is most common in Indian and Mexican cuisine. Cumin can be found in some cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often TexMex or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat. In South Asian cooking, it is often combined with coriander seeds in a powdered mixture called dhana jeera. Cumin can also be used ground or as whole seeds. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies such as curry and chili. It is also used as an ingredient in some pickles and pastries. Cumin also offers several health benefits. It is a good source of energy, vitamin A, C, E & B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin, and minerals like iron, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. It is also rich in protein and amino acids, carbohydrates, dietary fibre and a reasonable amount of fats & fatty acids. Consuming about one teaspoon of cumin daily can help you meet your daily nutrient requirements. Cumin is such an amazing spice with so many culinary and health benefits which make it worth having a small jar in your cupboard. Next time you are at the supermarket do pay a visit to the spice section. A small jar of cumin will definitely fit somewhere in your kitchen.

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Discovering the

Path for Perfection Interview with Executive Chef

Fabrice Vulin C

hef Fabrice Vulin is considered as one of the major exponents of French cuisine. His career is impressive, hailing several prestigious awards and a vast experience in leading Michelin-starred kitchens across France and beyond. Originating from Brian∑on in France, Vulin has spent the majority of his career in his homeland with additional tenures in Geneva, Morocco and Hong Kong. Indeed, his most recent residency was at the Michelin two-star Caprice Restaurant within the luxurious Four Season Hotel in Hong Kong. He recently moved to Macau where he entertains clients at the two starred Tasting Room. Chef Vulin took us through his amazing culinary career and shared with us his views on the food industry. He also discussed with us his interpretation and constant quest for perfection.

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Your motto is “details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail�. How does such principle transpose itself in your work? Detail and perfection are constantly in my team’s head and mine. They are two essential ingredients in our daily work which ensure the continuous satisfaction of our guests. From the purchasing process up to the actual creation of the dish we need to keep an eye on detail which help us stand out of the crowd. There is an increasing trend favouring the concept of simplicity. How does simplicity find itself in your work? Simplicity is a rather challenging goal to achieve. In my work, simplicity means choosing the best products (which is not so simple!), respecting the right techniques to preserve the genuine flavour and texture, and then use your knowledge to combine all the ingredients in order to enhance every single ingredient. How has your father influenced your drive towards perfection? My father was a French champion of military skiing from whom I learnt a lot. Every weekend I would see him leave home and return with trophies after trophies. That ingrained in me the desire to participate in competitions. Moreover, I learnt that thanks to hard work, perseverance, and consistency one could achieve perfection.

photos by Conrad Forbes

Why do you constantly seek the guidance of the Michelin Guide in your culinary work? Although it often comes under attack, its references points have adapted to the evolution of representations. It is not a guide in which you move up or down the ranking over-night or in two days. For me Michelin guide with its 100 years of history represents French culture. It has its own method of marking, applying a rigid scrutiny on a vast number of things, for example, what the clients want, how the service is, the consistency of the dishes and so on.

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What role does aesthetics play in your work? Aesthetic is the first thing that guests see, so they can already “eat with their eyes”, and bring their body to pleasure, just only with their mind. Aesthetic helps to “raise” your mood!

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How does a French chef stand out in the busy urban environment of Hong Kong? A French Chef has a nice family with 2 kids, we spent our days in nature which helped us live a healthy life and refill our energies!

chef in Paris, I worked with well known French chefs, who cooked venison perfectly! In France, it is an appreciated time between chefs and clients, because venison recipes are often prepared at home, so they like to come in my kitchen and taste recipes that they ate when they were children. We have an expression for this in France: “la Madeleine de Proust”. It means that what you are doing or experiencing reminds you of a sweet moment you had earlier on in life. It is also a nice story from Marcel Proust’s seven volume novel “À la recherche du temps perdu” which I recommend!

How does autumn fit into your kitchen? What ingredient would you associate with the autumn season? Autumn is venison time, everywhere in the world. Every single chef will present a venison menu, as it is a “sine qua non” element in this period! As a young

Your culinary journey took you from your hometown in Brian∑on to Geneva, Morocco and Hong Kong. Any plans for your next culinary destination? I feel happy in The Tasting Room and I love everything here of my present destination Macau!

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FABRICE VULIN

Every single chef will present a venison menu, as it is a "sine qua non"

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From

West to East Interview with

Gordon Galea Pastry Chef at ANdAZ Delhi, India

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he local food industry is experiencing an unprecedented growth of talent some of which is also making its impact beyond our shores. Indeed, several Maltese chefs are spearheading key food outlets in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Georgia and the UAE. This is a clear proof that notwithstanding the size of our country and its limitations, our major strength lies in our human talent. This sense of pride is further accentuated when local talent is at the helm of key kitchens situated in distant places such as New Delhi. Hidden behind the load of pots and pans of the ANdAZ Delhi kitchen lies the story of pastry Chef Gordon Galea. Notwithstanding his relatively young age, his curriculum is impressive. His culinary journey took him through various leading hotels in Malta, Dubai and recently in India. His pastry work is amazing and reflects his creative flair and eye for detail. Chef Galea, took us through his journey in the food industry and shared with us his views on the constant developments in the pastry world.

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Today, experimentation and innovation has reached a new level thanks to culinary

When and how did you fall in love with the world of pastry? advancements When I was a child, my mother used to send me to a local bakery to buy bread, back home in Malta. More often than not, I found myself lost in the smell of fresh breads and pastries, asking the bakers various questions and carefully noticing their craft. This mesmerizing experience at the local bakery used to make me forget what I actually came for – buying the bread! It was then when I realized my love for pastries. What encouraged you to develop your profession abroad? In a bid to attain a global experience, I decided to step out of Malta and explore the world! Why did you go for New Delhi for your next pastry challenge? India is increasingly becoming the up and coming urban gateway, offering a lot of diverse experiences. Also, this wonderful country has a spectrum of local ingredients to experiment with which is why I decided to come here for my next culinary adventure. How do your Maltese origins fit into your work? I take a bit of Malta everywhere I go as everyone loves a loaf or two of Maltese bread and sinizza, a local Maltese dessert. In what way do you believe the local pastry industry has developed over the past years? There has been immense development in the world of pastry thanks to technology. Today, experimentation and innovation has reached a new level thanks to culinary advancements – something that wasn’t possible a few years ago.

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There seems to be an increasing number of local chefs pursuing their career abroad. To what extent do you feel such trend can help develop further the local food and pastry industry? Globalization and the era of the internet have made the world a smaller place. This has exposed people to new cultures and people are willing to experience it in their own way. This is great as everyone gets to experience each other’s world of pastry and enhance their experience by learning different techniques and playing with new flavours – picking the best out of each place and creating a unique creative identity. How does the autumn season influence your work in the kitchen? Autumn is great for playing around with sugar. For instance, the finishing on chocolates comes out great since the weather is pleasant and humidity levels decreases. Is there any ingredient you associate with the season and why? This season makes me inclined towards berries in general but more specifically, raspberry desserts are a personal favourite! Your pastry career saw you move east; from Malta to Dubai and later to New Delhi. What is your next step? My next step, easy – Singapore! Any word of advise for local prospective pastry chefs? My advice for all the people out there who are willing or thinking of engaging themselves with this lifestyle is one - NOT EASY BUT BELIEVE ME IT’S WORTH IT…… but if you don’t have the desire to do it, don’t even start to go through all the sacrifices, because life is not that easy.

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Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com


Pastry on my

Mind Interview with Pastry Chef

Michel Willaume

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here is something particular in the relationship between Chef Michel Willaume and the world of pastry. It is deep, intense and longstanding. In a recent interview he noted that “pastry is another way to invent and express myself.” Indeed, Chef Willaume’s creative philosophy revolves around the concept of, “Think Pastry”. His love for pastry took him to every corner of the planet where he came across different techniques and schools of thought which helped him develop further his own style. World Champion in 2001 in Lyon with the North American team, his CV is rich and extensive. He was a professional in France, U.S.A., Spain, Italy and most recently, Russia, but above all, Holland. After two decades in the pastry industry, Chef Willaume is regarded as one of the best pastry chefs in the World and is now working both as an international consultant and as an ambassador chef for the chocolate firm, Dobla. Chef Willaume shared with us his love for pastry and took us through the key stages in his career.

What triggered your drive to become a pastry chef? I just love sweets since I was a little boy with good appetite for pastry. At 13 years old I said to my parents that I want to do pastry as a profession. Your philosophy revolves around the principle of “think pastry”. Can you elaborate on it? It’s like anything we try to do; without studying and learning, the way something works and why it works in that manner, you will go nowhere. To study well and learn any subject is to learn how to think with discipline within that subject. It is to learn to think within its logic. I have my own way to teach. I like to explain technically all recipes, all ingredients, all methods and process. I like to make students think by themselves. Sometimes when they ask me a question I don’t answer directly, I ask them to Think Pastry, because if they learn how to think they will learn the logic of pastry and they will understand; most of the time, they all ready know the answer.

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MICHEL WILLAUME Madonna, Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson? For me it means the same. It doesn’t matter if I serve a personality or a non-famous person, I’ll always try to give my best no matter what. But having the chance to talk to some of them can make you better understand how they really are. What is your favourite ingredient to work with? Difficult to choose….. all are so interesting and different! But chocolate has been for years my favourite! What is the most challenging ingredient to work with? It’s not about a challenging ingredient, it’s about techniques. It’s about learning technology!! Because without technical knowledge, it is very difficult to understand HOW the technique work and WHY you do it this way. It’s also QUALITY versus QUANTITY. When students choose to come to my masterclasses I have to honour them by giving more that expected. And to do that, it’s to give them what I know with the right information in a just proportion that they can easily understand and continue to assimilate. I don’t repeat pastries by doing the same techniques again and again; each pastry will be different by taste, textures, techniques, architecture, presentation and decorations. There is no need to make 18 or 20 different cakes in order to learn more. I offer also my knowledge through companies who hire my services for my pastry knowledge, my expertise and experiences. So Think Pastry is about Creativity, Expertise, Teaching, Transmitting, Accomplishment, Performance, Improving, Resolving, Coaching and Training. Who has been an influence or a source of inspiration to you? My determination for excellence, knowledge and challenge has always influenced my ways as a pastry chef. What does it mean for a pastry chef to have entertained key personalities like Jacques Chirac,

You have travelled extensively to all corners of the World. How has travel influenced your work? Travelling influence my WORK, my LIFE, MYSELF. It’s a privilege! Travelling is a universe of discoveries that will become an ocean of memories!! Travelling is the most wonderful way to discover who you are through all experiences you live in the real world! Memories of a captivating fragrance, of products with suggestive taste, the birth of an idea, my mind wanders, taking notes for future use. How has the pastry world changed over the past years? Pastry has become more fashionable, more designable but at the end, the basics are still there. Our ancestors invented pastry so long ago. What does the Willaume? THINK PASTRY ;)

future

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Michel

A word of advice to prospective pastry chefs? Study, study and more study!

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The Art of

Simplicity Interview with

Michael Sultana Executive Chef at Tarragon Restaurant 18

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urnosky once stated that “in cooking, as in all arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.” There is no better way to define the work of Chef Michael Sultana at Tarragon. Each plate is impressive and conveys Michael’s obsessive eye for detail and his emphasis on simple fresh produce. Every item is an explosion of colours and flavours which accentuate the richness of natural ingredients. Tarragon is his workshop where he constantly dares take his work to the limit. Notwithstanding the complexity of flavours, there is a predominant sense of simplicity in the layout of his work which further highlights his amazing talent. It is with no coincidence that Tarragon has earned a reputation as one of the leading restaurants on the island. Chef Michael shared with us his experience in the food industry and the key factors which make Tarragon stand out of the crowd.

How did you get into cooking? I`ve always loved the hospitality industry. Ever since my secondary school took us for a day to see the Institute of Tourism Studies, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Originally, I studied hotel management and graduated with a higher diploma from ITS. Part of the course of ITS was working as work placement in Malta`s hotels. I was always a hard worker, so I always looked for something extra to earn some pocket money. Most of the times, the only place available was either as a waiter or as a commis chef. Don’t ask me why, but I always chose to work in the kitchen. Nowadays it’s my passion and I wouldn’t do anything else.

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MICHAEL SULTANA

What makes Tarragon restaurant stand out of the crowd? Simple food with loads of WOW factor. Tarragon has always been about the dining experience. The restaurant has a very cosy and homely feeling. We try to create that WOW factor throughout the whole experience. Some of the dishes remind us of home cooking. Tarragon also likes to do classical dishes but our way.

Where does your inspiration come from when drawing up new menus? I like to travel a lot. And whenever I`m abroad I always make it a point to go to the best restaurants. Nowadays, internet browsing helps a lot also. What are the fundamental elements always present in every plate you prepare? Fresh ingredients of the highest quality. If the produce is fresh, you can`t go wrong. Simple but very good food. Are there any chefs that have shaped your career or inspired you in any way? As stated before, we have been to some of the best restaurants in the world. I must say that the best place to eat, and the most creative chefs are the Spanish. Tapas food, or food to share, inspires us a lot. That is, small portions with amazing flavours. Wolfgang Puck once noted that “a chef is a mixture maybe of artistry and craft. You have to learn the craft really to get there.” To what extent do you agree? Tricks of the trade are the most important thing. To be a good chef, one must know his ingredients well, see what is available on the market, and see that what he creates is accepted by his clients. This is not something that is taught at school, or available for viewing over the internet. It takes a lot of years of experience.

How do you balance running such a demanding kitchen and having a personal life? Personal life?!?! Who said I have one!. It`s very hard unfortunately. The restaurant takes out a big chunk of my time. Thank God that my wife is very understanding! The only free time I get is when we are abroad. It’s a holiday from the kitchen, but my phone will still be on and I`ll go through emails whenever I get access to check for any problems or special requests. How does autumn fit into the Tarragon kitchen? Seasonal changes make us do different things in the kitchen. Summer is light and fresh, while Autumn brings back the comfort food like soups, risotto, etc. What ingredients do you associate with the season? Autumn hopefully brings in cooler weather. Fresh vegetables such as fennel and pomegranate are in season. We also use fresh local seafood such as grilled calamari and lampuki. What should a prospective chef keep in mind when considering a career in the culinary world? The culinary world requires a lot of sacrifices. Long hours, working in very hot conditions and under loads of pressure. It is also working when most of your friends are enjoying themselves. It`s a very hard life, but job satisfaction is instantaneous once you get to see your guests smiling at every bite they eat.

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CISK PILSNER WORLD’S BEST CZECH STYLE PALE LAGER Cisk Pilsner has been awarded the prestigious Worldʼs Best Czech Style Pale Lager in the 2017 World Beer Awards held in London this month. Competing in the highly coveted category of Czech Style Pale Lagers, Cisk Pilsner successfully topped all entries and winners from 18 countries including the Czech Republic itself. This World Beer Award for Cisk Pilsner, proudly launched by Farsons Brewery in mid-2016, closely follows the silver award achieved at the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards.

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Brewed with the finest quality Pilsen malt and Noble hops of the Saaz variety, Cisk Pilsner is brewed to an alcohol content of 5.5% to deliver a finely balanced, cool and crisp finish, celebrating the Farsonsʼ tradition of brewing excellence and innovation. A truly significant and major achievement for Cisk Pilsner and another wonderful tribute to the Farsonsʼ brewing team.


Cisk Pilsner voted World’s Best in World Beer Awards 2017 C

isk Pilsner, brewed by the Farsons brewery, has been voted the World’s Best Czech Style Pale Lager in the World Beer Awards 2017 at a judging event held in London last month. In winning this prestigious award, Cisk Pilsner beat 18 other countries, including the Czech Republic itself. Originally brewed by Farsons Brewery in the late 1940s, Cisk Pilsner was relaunched just last year and has already garnered a number of international

awards in just 12 months. Cisk Pilsner is a premium Pilsner combining a tradition of brewing excellence and passion with the finest quality Pilsen malt and Noble hops of the Saaz variety. Cool, crisp and immensely satisfying, with an alcohol content of 5.5%, Cisk Pilsner offers the discerning beer connoisseur a remarkably crisp and well-hopped flavour with a rich white head, a delicate bitterness and a superior aroma originating from the rich essential oils present in the Noble hops.


A Fork in the

Road Interview with

Carl Zahra

Chef Patron The Fork and Cork

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was always intrigued by the restaurants situated on the Saqqajja Hill in Rabat. The steps, the doors and the design of the small outlets have such a distinct character which makes them stand out notwithstanding the traffic in the area. Amongst the several doors along the steps lies a small outlet with a very curious name of The Fork and Cork. Whilst trying to get my breath back I came across chef patron Carl Zahra who had earlier gladly accepted without much fanfare my request to interview him. Initial fears on his intimidating figure are quickly brushed away thanks to his calm and very welcoming approach. As soon as I sat down we immediately struck a chord and found that we had a lot in common especially when touching on the role of family in his everyday life and his passion for fresh local products. 24

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His love towards the culinary world was evident in the very few words he utters where he takes me through the various corners of his outlet. The Fork and Cork is a small restaurant yet with such a homely setting which makes you quickly feel at home. Every table has a peep towards the main door which offers such a breathtaking view. I ask Chef Zahra what lies behind the name “The Fork and Cork” which he quickly replies that it essential defines what the outlet specializes in. He explains to me his style which he admits has changed and adapted itself to recent trends. Notwithstanding some adaptations to his style, the essence of his work remains intact and still stresses on local produce which is cooked and presented in a simple manner so as to give due merit to the natural flavours of every component present in his plates. “I source my products from a very close circle of reliable suppliers who offer me the possibility to work with genuine local fresh produce.“ He also adds that much of his inspiration is derived from his regular travel and reading of culinary books. “I get a lot of ideas when I read and travel. What I then do is to try to work to simplify my dishes as much as possible.” He strongly believes that the simplicity factor is what helps him stand out of the crowd. Whilst describing his style he quickly rushes to the kitchen to provide me with some coarse sea salt which he sources from Gozo. He invites me to taste the unique flavour of such salt and proudly explains that much of his quality dishes are due to such genuine ingredients. He also passionately talks about his local pork and fish suppliers who offer him the possibility to prepare his signature dishes which include pork cheeks, sea bass pavé and pork fillet. He stresses on his choice for small suppliers which allow him to develop a personal relationship based on trust. He points out that his relationship with key suppliers is so strong that they form part of his extended family. Chef Zahra notes that every dish is not only dependant on the main product but also to other key ingredients which accentuate the flavour and presentation. “We do invest heavily in high quality ingredients such as mustard, local

extra virgin oil, wines and spices. We are also very picky on our choice of herbs and vegetables which are essential to balance taste and colour of every dish.” Chef Zahra also adds that “the local element in every dish which can be either in the use of specific oil or in the garnish added to the plate are essential to provide that particular local taste.” Our discussion shifts to his personal life where he notes that The Fork and Cork is a commitment which demands sacrifices. It also calls him to be away from his wife and child. “I wish to have more time to dedicate to my wife and son yet running your own business calls for sacrifices. I try to catch up with my family on Sundays where I dedicate all my attention wholly and exclusively to my family.” He admits that Sundays are a real boost of energy which helps him challenge the demanding week ahead. The family factor was also at the heart of his decision to take over a neighbouring outlet. “My intial idea was to keep the current outlet and take over another restaurant situated two doors down yet after deep consideration, I felt such decision would have hindered my family time which is something I am never ready to bargain on.” Based on such decision, Chef Zahra will move to a bigger restaurant further down and will let go his current outlet. He admits that his new project is the cause of many sleepless nights yet points out that he is very excited and looking forward. We conclude our conversation with a word of advise to prospective chefs where he stresses on the need for them to consolidate their acumen of classic food. “I strongly believe that that learning the basics is fundamental to develop further.” He concludes by referring to a saying which was pointed out to him earlier in his career namely; “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.” The clock hanging close to the bar area indicates to me it is time to say goodbye and walk to my next interview. It was indeed an amazing experience meeting up with one of the best local talents on the island. My short interview fills me with so much hope that our island can one day turn into a centre of culinary excellence.

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The Organic

View Interview with Organic Food Photographer

Peter Bo¨linger

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he world of food is changing and shifting towards the need for a healthy diet. The concerning increase in food related diseases has induced the end consumer to favour a much more balanced diet which includes the consumption of organic products. Nutritionists, chefs, farmers as well as politicians have embarked on a campaign to increase awareness on organic food benefits. The slogan touted by those favouring the organic way reads, “Let things taste the way they are.” However, living organic is easier said than done. It calls for a real adjustment to how we eat, shop, and think. Added costs, longer hunts, somewhat shorter shelf lives, and a few other concerns can be enough to hinder such increase in trend. Notwithstanding the challenges to live organic, the movement favouring such trend is on the increase. Eliot Coleman, pioneer organic farmer, author of The New Organic Grower and Four-Season Farm recently stated that, “Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature’s pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end.” Some people see teaching the organic way as a mission which can only be accomplished by placing organic food under the lens. Peter Bo¨linger is a major exponent of organic food who has resorted to his lens to highlight the benefits of such products. His approach is unique and often includes images exposing the very heart of fruit and vegetables. Detail is accentuated by means of bright colours which are often set on a black or white background. His images are simple yet at the same time striking and focussed on detail. They highlight the purity, clarity and genuineness of organic produce by focussing on the seeds which are the essence of every produce. The seeds he claims “symbolise life and fertility and are the main compenents that distinguish organic food from the rest. Peter shared with us his views on organic food, his passion for organic food photography and his unique approach to present such produce.

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PETER BÖLINGER

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How has your passion towards organic food developed? Through the cooperation of a cookbook, whilst working as a cook. What is organic food photography and how does it distinguish itself from other forms of photography? I take my pictures only in the dark, using different lights. I do not use photoshop composings. How has the food photography landscape changed for you with the recent rise of food culture? There is no limitation, everything is possible to live out my creativity. What message do you want to convey through your work about food? I want to show, how to make something special out of something trivial. What are your initial thoughts when you are conceptualizing an image?  Can you describe what you’re trying to capture when you take a food photo?  In front of photographing, I have no consideration. I take suprise in myself, what`s getting out.

Your work tends to accentuate the detail of food by means of very strong bright colours often set on a black or white backdrop? Can you tell us more about your style? I want to do something different than the others. Because of that I like to work in the dark, as it is a mysterious style. I like to take dark pictures of objects surrounded by smoke. What is your favourite food to photograph? I would say that every element which forms part of nature is worth to photograph. What do you think sets you apart from other food photographers? What’s your unique take? I do no mainstream. I try to be loyal to my own style and don`t let myself be influenced by others. What are some of your favourite food shots? Why? This is a pretty challenging question! I like all of them! Every picture tells its own story and has its own charm. Any word of advice to prospective food photographers? Practice the camera technique. Once that is accomplished, unleash your imagination and let the sky be your limit.

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Stuffed Fresh Calamari

RODNEY CAUCHI

INGREDIENTS 2 Calamari 50 grams Risotto rice 1 Onion 2Garlic cloves 1 Canned tuna 200grams Mixed seafood 6 Sundried tomatoes Lemon juice Chilli flakes Pepper 2 tablespoons Sunflower oil Canned tomato polpa

METHOD ď Ž Clean the calamari and wash them well. Bring the water to the boil and boil the risotto rice. In a pan add sunflower oil, onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Add the calamari heads and the mixed seafood and cook for about 2 minutes. After the rice is boiled and the fried mixture is cooked let the ingredients cool down, then add the canned tuna, sundried tomatoes and a dash of lemon juice and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together. Stuff the calamari and close the top using a toothpick. Heat some sunflower oil and garlic, seal them in a pot for 5 minutes on both sides, add the canned tomato and let them slow cook for 10 minutes in the oven. Enjoy.

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RODNEY CAUCHI

Octopus Stew

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

1 onion finely diced

 Clean the octopus or tell your fishmonger to do it for you as it saves you doing it at home.  In a heavy based dish, fry the onions on low heat for ten minutes.  Add the tomato paste and fry for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute.  Fry the octopus for ten minutes and stir continuously.  Add the tomatoes and cook for ten minutes.  Add the olives, capers, wine, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, and the herbs.  Simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.  Add the potatoes half an hour after the stew is simmering.  After simmering the stew for 45 minutes add the peas.  Simmer for a further 15 minutes without the lid on.  Serve as a stew or with Taglierini Genovesi.  Garnish with some chopped herbs and lemon zest.

1 tablespoon tomato paste 3 garlic cloves crushed and chopped 1 kg octopus chopped into 5 cm pieces 4 tomatoes chopped 10 black olives 2 tablespoons capers 150ml red wine lemon zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice Tablespoon each of marjoram,mint, basil and parsley 3 potatoes peeled and quartered 50g peas 1 tablespoon Olive oil for frying Salt and pepper

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A Family

photos by Delia Group

Matter Interview with Chef & Restaurateur

Shane Delia

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T

he concept of family is so central in the life of Chef Shane Delia. Every element that pertains to his world is in one way or another connected to his family or origins. Indeed, Shane has the word ‘Fortis et Hospitalis’, or ‘Strength and Hospitality’ tattooed on his arm which rekindles the Delia family motto, brought to Australia by his father who migrated there from Malta in 1970. Moreover his award-winning restaurant in Melbourne is named after his wife, ‘Maha’. However it is in the food he constantly experiments on, that brings together the different cultures which lie at the basis of his family. Shane Delia spends hours in his kitchen experimenting on new food concepts which combine the Maltese culinary experience passed on to him by his own family with the complex Lebanese cuisine taught to him by his wife’s parents, together with other Middle Eastern Cuisines he came across during the famous TV series “Shane Delia’s Spice Journey.” All these worlds are brought together in one pan and are reinvented thanks to his highly idiosyncratic flair. Shane shares with us his connection with Malta, his passion for Middle Eastern food and his entrepreneurial vision.

When and how did your food journey start? To be honest, it was when I was 14 and my father took the whole family on a 3 month holiday to Malta. It opened my eyes to real hospitality and the role food and food culture play in the community.   How has your spice journey enhanced your food experience?  When I started my first Spice Journey in 2012 I was a boy who loved food and thought he could cook. I had no real appreciation or respect for what food really meant and how important it was to the fabric of a person’s identity and history. I now have a greater understanding of what makes food so special, why people hold their food traditions in such high esteem and I now have a broader global view on people, culture and humanity.   Which country impressed you most for its food culture? That is an impossible question to answer. Each country has so many beautiful aspects; it would be like asking me which one of my children I love more. Is there any Maltese imprint in your work? There will always be a little Maltese DNA in what I do, but the Malta I draw from is not the Malta many, especially today’s Maltese, consider to be Maltese. To me, today’s Maltese food is a mix of Italian, British and a broader Mediterranean cuisine. I think the real beauty of Maltese food is a lot older than that, the food of our Arabic influence, simple peasant dishes and classics, which can be traced back to Arab trade. How does Maha stand out of the crowd? I suppose the main difference Maha has from other restaurants cooking “Middle Eastern” food is that we don’t really cook Middle Eastern food. By that I mean I think Middle Eastern food in it’s purest form is beautiful so I don’t mess with that, but for whatever reason it may be, social, political, historical, religion or war, Middle Eastern food is one of the few world’s great cuisines that has yet to evolve, unless it is

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We pride ourselves on being able to capture the best produce that is available.

unshackled and given room to breath and develop in an unrestricted forum it will always be good, but never great. I am simply giving it some room to be free, develop and dare to wonder what it could be. I’m not doing anything new, weird or ground breaking. I’m just using the aspects of Middle Eastern food, products, flavour and history and letting the food to the rest. In a world that likes to give everything a label or a category we have had to define our food by a title, modern Middle Eastern is tacky, fusion can become confusion so if we are forced to label it we call it “Unrestricted Middle Eastern”. I recently read that you tend to effect random calls to clients who visit your restaurant. In what way have such random checks helped your business develop? In every way; customer satisfaction is what we are all about. We need to be continually improving and  providing our guests with the best possible experience we can. What better way to do that then to ask them straight up what they liked, didn’t like or what they would like to see at Maha or at any of our brands.    What should we expect in your latest book “East/West: A Culinary Journey Through Malta, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and Andalucía”? Basically it is an overview of the past three seasons of Spice Journey. Beautiful places, pictures, recipes and little insights from me about what makes the places we have visited so special.   36

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Does autumn fit in any way in your kitchen? All the seasons play a part in our kitchens. We pride ourselves on being able to capture the best produce that is available. Being based in Melbourne gives us so much variety, we are truly spoiled.  Whilst reading through your food career, I noted a strong emphasis on your family. Why are they so fundamental and how do you balance family and work? My family give me more than support, they keep me grounded, give me purpose and humility and the fire in my belly to succeed. My father left Malta at the age of 17 to travel to Australia in the hope that one day he would meet a woman have a family and give that family all the opportunities he hadn’t been blessed with. My dad has lived his life selflessly to achieve his goals which are embodied by my brother, sister and myself. How can I possibly sit on my butt and take each day as it comes and be lazy? Too many people have given too much for me to have the opportunities I have. There is no way I am going to let them down.    Do you have culinary projects in the pipeline? There are always things on the horizon. We are constantly approached by groups abroad to bring Maha to their establishments in the UAE, USA and Europe, but we haven’t yet found the right offer or partner to do so with. So we are focusing on Melbourne.  I am not a greedy person, money isn’t my motivator. I am more driven by excitement and challenges, relationships and experience. Don’t get me wrong, I have a business to run and bills to pay but if it’s just purely about money then I’m not interested.  My brand Biggie Smalls is doing extremely well and we are about to open our fourth venue. Maha is on the eve of its 10 year anniversary and we are in the middle of negotiating a cocktail bar venue to enhance the dining experience at Maha, so there is a lot going on. I also have a new TV show about to air in Australia called ‘Recipe for Life’, so I guess you would say we are quite busy.


SHANE DELIA

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FARFALLE with Fresh Salmon INGREDIENTS 300g Pasta Farfalle or Penne 200g Cooked Fresh Salmon 1 Garlic Clove, crushed Juice of ½ Lemon 150ml Cream 4tbsp Brandy (optional) Salt and Pepper 1 tbsp Butter 1 tbsp Caviar Fresh Parsley to garnish

METHOD Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the garlic. Flake the salmon and add to the garlic together with the lemon juice. Gently fry for 4 minutes. Add the cream and brandy (optional), season with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer very gently. In the meantime cook the pasta till al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stirring gently over low heat for a minute or so. Serve and garnish with some parsley.

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MUSSELS GRATIN INGREDIENTS 150ml Dry White Wine 1 Leek, Finely Chopped 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed 3 Kg Fresh Mussels 300ml Fresh Cream A handful of chopped parsley 40g Fresh Breadcrumbs 40g Butter melted Lemon Wedges, to serve

METHOD Pour the white wine in a saucepan, add the leeks and garlic, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer gently for 2 minutes. Add the mussels, and cover with the lid. Shake the pan frequently, and cook for at least 6 minutes until the mussels open. Discard any that do not open. Transfer the open mussels into a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, simmer until reduced to around 4 tbsp. Add the cream and heat through. Stir in half of the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the top shell of each mussel and discard. Arrange the mussels in their bottom shell, on a large flame proof serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the mussels and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and melted butter. Cook under a hot grill, for around 5 minutes or until they turn golden. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com

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AZZOPARDI FISHERIES

SEAFOOD LASAGNA METHOD

INGREDIENTS Lasagne Sheets Filling 1 Ltr Milk 1 Good Pinch of Saffron 100g Unsalted Butter 75g Plain flour 75g Parmesan Cheese, grated 250g Mussels Meat 400g Cod Fillets, Fresh 300g Salmon Fillets, Fresh 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

 For the béchamel sauce, place the milk and saffron in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Melt 75g of butter in a pan, stir in the flour to make a paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the hot milk to the pan, a ladleful at a time, whisking as you go. Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Stir in most of the parmesan and season well. Cut the fresh cod and the salmon fillets into either cubes or lengthwise. Melt the butter in a large pan, fry the garlic, until it starts to turn golden. Add the rosemary sprigs to the pan. Add the mussels, shake the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the béchamel sauce and turn off the heat. Stir well.  Start layering the lasagna. First start by spreading the seafood mixture on the bottom of a dish. Add a layer of lasagna sheets, and alternate. Finish off the lasagna by placing the prawns on the top of the lasagna and add some more of the seafood mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Leave to set for around 15 minutes, then bake for another 30 minutes at 180degrees.

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A Matter of Convenience Interview with

Andrew Attard

Group Operations Manager, The Convenience Shop, Malta

C

onvenience stores are an essential part of the fabric of everyday life across every country. Their core offer of convenience continues to resonate with customers as they work around their time and needs. The successful growth of The Convenience Shop in Malta is a proof of such phenomenon. Over the past years The Convenience Shop has become present nearly in every village across Malta and Gozo making it one of the most successful Maltese owned chains on the island. We recently met Andrew Attard, Group Operations Manager, The Convenience Shop, Malta, with whom we discussed the growth of the company and the challenges The Convenience Shop faces to constantly work in line with the changing needs of the end consumer.

What lies behind the choice of the name? Give customers what they want, when and where they want it – this is what lies behind the name The Convenience Shop. Our chain is known and loved across Malta and although we have grown significantly over the years, our focus stays fixed on making life easier for customers. I was struck by a sentence in your Facebook in which it states that "your outlets create a sense of excitement and fun to shopping for groceries & goods". Can you elaborate further? Convenience may be our focus, but serving is our business. Many retailers take pride in their customer service. In turn, customers have expectations about the service they’ll receive when shopping. To compete, we emphasize customer service at a level that will match or exceed that of rival supermarkets and other retailers. There is an emphasis by the company on quality standards. How has the implementation

of rigorous quality standards ensure a healthy growth for the company? We are completely redefining Convenience and improving our standards. To meet the need for improved competencies in customer service training we have launched a first of its kind training centre aimed at front-line staff, managers and leaders within the Group’s network of outlets. This Centre is providing a much needed link between what customers want and what employers can offer their staff. Running a shop is like running your own business, so being a good shop manager is about knowing your customers, your community and your colleagues. This new training facility will now boost and support those skills with detailed management expertise, to go even further to help our colleagues run our shops and power our convenience growth on the island. What are the company's plans for the future? The Convenience Shop takes its experience in running quality food shops to a new level with the opening of its recent outlets. For the health-minded generation we are ensuring a healthier selection of products. We are involving ourselves in the community in which we operate. We are keeping an open communication with our customers. We are bringing an in-shop experience to life needs to be at the heart of every brand’s strategy. We know that in the minds of people, shopping will always come down to two things: convenience and leisure. We at The Convenience Shops are ‘doing shopping’ even more convenient, and ‘going shopping’ even more enjoyable within our outlets.

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Tango at

Mirazur Interview with Chef

Mauro Colagreco O

n the French side of the Riviera just a few moments away from the Italian border lies the famous restaurant, Mirazur. Spearheaded by the talented chef Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur was awarded several international recognitions over the past decade including two Michelin Stars, 4 toques by Gault & Millau and has recently placed in 4th position in the S. Pellegrino list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Chef Colagreco is renowned for both innovation and simplicity. His food philosophy is all about freshness, balance of colour and bringing out the true flavour of the ingredients. His work also creates the perfect fusion between tastes of France, Italy and Argentina which are brought together on the artfully presented plates of Mirazur. Chef Colagreco has guided us through the salient stages in his culinary journey and has shared with us his experience and interpretation of food.

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photos by Restaurant Mirazur

Your culinary epiphany came at a late stage in your life. What made you change track from studying economics to food? It happened out of an extremely hard time, which became a blessing and led me towards a great opportunity! In fact earlier on in life, when I had to decide what I want to be, I was confused and I couldn’t find my way. I tried to follow in my father’s footsteps as an accountant, but as with every job you must find passion in what you do and this wasn’t the case here. I also tried to pursue a literary career, but that wasn’t for me either. It was my sister who reminded me of the pleasure and happiness I used to feel when as a child, I used to cook with my grandmother. That memory turned out to be a real journey back to rediscovering myself and my true passion. Cooking is what I am; I could not be anything else.

What impact did leading chefs like Alain Ducasse and Guy Martin have on your culinary career? Chefs like Alain and Guy have influenced me hugely, and I’ve learnt a lot from their way around in the kitchen. I hope that Mirazur reflects the way I’ve developed as a chef under their guidance and the way I am carving out my own path presently. You tend to combine the simplicity of homegrown products with very sophisticated dishes. How do you create a happy marriage between the two elements? For me the greatest lesson in cooking is about this marriage; the finest quality ingredients which taste of the

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sunshine and the minerals and are fresh from my garden and the market, and then taking this to the next level with interesting flavour combinations and culinary techniques. It’s important never to mask the delicious natural flavours of produce with too much cooking and rich sauces and too many different stages – our ingredients speak for themselves and starting with such high quality produce is at the core of what we do. Of course as a chef I’m always playful and want to develop flavours to their full potential too. In a recent interview you noted that Argentine cuisine is a rough diamond. Can you elaborate further? The country of Argentina and their cuisine is incredibly close to my heart, but yes, it is a rough diamond in some respects. I grew up enjoying the flavours of Argentina and have many good memories, but there is still progress to be made there. We don’t yet have a good transport system to transport ingredients quickly and keep it fresh, so a lot of things like fish end up being frozen, which makes me sad. I guess that’s part 46

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MAURO COLAGRECO

of the challenge, to polish the raw potential of Argentinian food and create something beautiful. Here in Mirazur I’m lucky to have access to such great ingredients on my doorstep, so I take some inspiration from Argentina but make it my own. Can you tell us the message behind your dish, the chicken that has lost its head? Sure… the idea for this dish came to me a while ago as a reaction to the global meat industry and how detached we all are from local farming and the origin of what we eat. Most children have never seen a chicken running in a field, they don’t understand the connection from the live bird to the drumsticks or chicken nuggets they see on their plate. To take an animal’s life is a sacrifice and the bird should be respected and appreciated, which is what I am trying to show here. How do you feel about Mirazur being labelled as the fourth best restaurant in the World? This amazing acknowledgement was unexpected, it is flattering and a responsibility too - we still are overwhelmed by joy, I can’t hide it. Actually, I am convinced that working in harmony with nature, using the

finest quality seasonal ingredients from the earth and sea is of the utmost importance. That, along with hard work and passion of course. What is so special about your restaurant’s location? Mirazur is set on the Italian-French border, and the location is like nowhere else in the world. Behind us we have mountains and in front of us is the Mediterranean Sea. Our cuisine is about that, about borders, about capturing the best of each culture and element. Anyway, cooking is also about reflecting the people of the regions, so here in Menton I created a dessert that merges French and Argentinian culture: a macaron with maté. Do you have any projects planned for this year? With Mirazur there’s always something to be done, projects going on and new ideas being developed, which keeps me busy! I’ll be doing a 6 hands dinner with my friends Virgilio Martinez [Executive Chef at Lima, London] and Julien Royer in Singapore this October, and will also be doing a project with my friend Jorge Vallejo in Mexico at the end of November.

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A Chocolate

Experience Interview with Chef

Jerome Landrieu

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photos by Paul Strabbing

N

otwithstanding the fact that his parents ran a pastry shop in their town in Southern France, Chef Jerome Landrieu’s impact with the world of pastry was not one of love at first sight. Nevertheless, at one point in his life, he decided to give it a shot and found out a wonderful world, hidden to his eyes until then. Today, he does not see a life without chocolate. His world revolves around this amazing ingredient where he directs the Barry Callebaut’s Chocolate Academy in Chicago, and feels “completely humbled by chocolate” while constantly learning and trying to improve day by day. Chef Jerome Landrieu took us through the wonderful world of chocolate and shared with us why such an ingredient is so special to him.

What encouraged you to become a Pastry Chef? I actually did start pastry at a young age: 16. My parents ran a bakery and as a child, I was not interested in a career in pastry but as I grew into a teenager and realized what I was good at and other certain facts of approaching adulthood, I pursued pastry little by little until my life revolved around it. I understand you are inspired by a John Collins quote which states “You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know for the rest of your life.” Can you elaborate? This is a quote from an Iron Man Legend.   I personally love to challenge myself both in and out the kitchen. This year I have committed to my first Iron Man. Most people who are not familiar with it only see the tip of the iceberg which is the race itself (around 6 hours) but in reality, the most challenging and difficult part of it is the training prior the race. Between 6-12 months, 5-6 days a week, 6 to 10 hours a week. With this volume of training for such a long period of time I guaranteed you there is days when you just want to give up because it’s difficult mentally, physically and also put a big strain on the family. “So if you quit at this point no one will care but you”. I believe this applies not only for triathlon or Iron Man but for everything you commit to in life.

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JEROME LANDRIEU

you walk into the school you see that we have the most state of the art equipment, tons of space and more ingredients and supplies than I ever wished for. We opened in 2008 with our goal set high: to be the top destination for Chocolate education in North America. We continue to focus on building a solid foundation with chocolate through our core classes. Every year we continue to refine and improve them, to keep pushing the bar higher. We are also offering advanced specialty classes courses with acclaimed Chefs from all around the world. We have a very talented and hungry team – everyone pushes themselves to improve and learn new techniques to pass along to our students.

How does chocolate exalt your creativity? The possibility to transform it or to use it in its basic form is what makes chocolate so fascinating for me. Chocolate has so many different personalities which provides me endless possibilities for creativity. You are the director of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy Center in Chicago. In what way do such entities ensure continuous chocolate education and appreciation?   We are certainly set up for success. Immediately when

How do you create a harmonious balance between taste and presentation? First of all I truly believe that you can’t succeed if you don’t have solid foundation. Taste and presentation are equally important. The most difficult exercise is not to disconnect them. Visual will set customer expectation so taste should only be as nice as the presentation or even better. In my opinion, the visual product must be appealing but minimalist. Every component of the decoration should complement in any shape or form the tasting: it should have a purpose. Each element of the look of a product should also reflects the flavours of the dessert. I edit my work to ensure the fluidity of both taste and presentation to ensure I don’t “overdo” it on either end. In a recent interview, you noted that celery is your favourite vegetable. Can you explain why celery is so distinct? The flavour, aroma and texture of celery is so unique and so recognizable. If you take a bit of celery blindfolded, you will not be mistaken. Celery loves to play with other ingredients, it is not selfish. I also love it because it is such a global product and speaks to a plethora of different cultures. Plus, it’s healthy!

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JEROME LANDRIEU

Can you tell us more about sweet tacos? A taco is a traditional savoury Mexican dish that is very popular in the USA. It is composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco is generally eaten casually, without utensils and often accompanied by garnishes.  I have never tried a dessert taco so my idea was to keep the essence of the original taco: shape, texture and components intermingling. My dessert taco was born: Celery Gavotte/Celery white Chocolate cremeux/Oat Crumble/Celery and Grenn apple sorbet/Lemon air / Vanilla Fromage blanc Siphon/Compressed Green apple. Where is pastry heading for? What are the future trends? With communication moving at such a rapid pace these days, there is no way to even guess what the next trend will be. I think there are three things to keep in mind when it comes to trends: anything is possible (for example – nobody would have thought up a cronut and then BOOM), the world is changing and people are hungry for new concepts. But Trends are just trendy. Most of the time they will not last if you do not diversified your offers, have solid foundation and a solid tasting. What projects do you have in store for the future? I have many exciting projects with the Cacao Barry global marketing team lined up for the future. One project is targeted towards creating recipes for ALL to enjoy, even those with dietary restrictions. We want to adapt our recipes to meet the needs of all consumers.

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A POINT OF

VIEW Interview with

Lena & Nicolas

Cuisine Studio Food Fashion Photographie

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ena and Nicholas are a duet of artist photographers whose roots are embedded in the fashion and the glamour world. At one point in their career, they decided to join forces and create LenaKa, a food fashion photographic studio specifically dedicated to the art of cooking. Photography is their life through which they capture amazing images which spell out the beauty of food. Their images are not static but rather present food in motion. Indeed, food is presented in squared size under acrylic block 33 mm in thickness giving a rare depth to every image displayed. Lena and Nicholas gave us a peep into the world of food photography. They shared with us their photographic journey and highlighted the rewarding experiences it offers.

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LENA & NICOLAS What attracted you towards food photography? It was 4 years ago. Lena loved to cook and took photos of her creations so as to have a souvenir of the recipes and their presentation. When I saw her pictures I strongly advised her to start culinary photography because she has a unique eye to showcase food in all its forms. I gave her photo material for her training and for 6 months she did a lot of tests and achievements. After, she did a website: www.lenaka.net and it was then when we started working together. We were seeking some clients and our first one was Benoit Violier of the Hotel de Ville de Crissier, who is considered as one of the best chef in the world. Then the doors opened on many other customers who became great friends. Which photographers, if any, have most influenced your work? No photographer in particular. How does food photography differ from other forms of photography? It is a style of photography very difficult to achieve as like the photography of watches. It requires high accuracy and specific lighting effects to make you happy and be hungry when you look at the picture. It requires creativity and a lot of speed to keep the product fresh. What’s your favourite food to photograph? We do not have preferences; we love all the dishes and foods with all their particularities. I was intrigued by your photos set on a black backdrop. The products seem to come to life. Can you tell us more about this style? This is our favourite style because the black background brings out the bright colours of food and gives them a powerful contrast. This is always classy and stylish.

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LENA & NICOLAS

Water is also a predominant feature in your work. What impact does water have on a photo? We love water because it is synonymous with life, freshness and dynamism. It is an essential part of our planet. There is also an element of action in your food photography. What message do you want to convey with movement? Quite often we see culinary pictures shot like still life, and we like to be innovative not copy others. Therefore, we find that giving movement to this photographic style gives life, power and holds the gaze.

What food do you associate with the autumn season? For the autumn season we love mushrooms and squash. What food features do you look for to convey autumn in your photography? The bright colours, especially red as this gets us as close to nature as possible with gaiety. What advice would you give to anyone wishing to pursue a commercial photography career? To believe in what you do, to make frequent tests, and to love this work above all as this is in fact a passion.

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Tomato and

Bacon Soup INGREDIENTS 1 kg fresh tomatoes chopped and seeded 1 onion chopped 1 stick celery chopped 2 rashers smoked bacon 1 potato chopped 300mls vegetable stock Sour cream Chives Seasoning salt and pepper

METHOD  Lightly fry onion and bacon, then add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes and celery are tender.  Put in 1 spoon sour cream and blend until smooth consistency is obtained.  Serve with sour cream and chives together with crispy bacon on top.  A

great

Recipe by Chef:

Michael Depasquale photos by Alan Saliba

accompaniment

with fresh Maltese bread.

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INGREDIENTS 33g flour 33g butter 3 egg yolks 3 egg whites 75g chèvre goat cheese 135ml milk 5g fine salt

METHOD  Very important to butter soufflé cups.  Warm the milk on low heat.  On a separate saucepan melt the butter, then add flour and stir well.  Add the milk gradually.  When the milk is added leave the mixture to cool for a while.  Until you wait for the

mixture to cool, whisk the egg whites till stiff peak.  When the mixture is slightly cooled add the egg yolks and goat cheese and stir well.  Fold the egg white in the mixture gradually and mix well.  Fill the soufflé cups and cook the soufflé for 20minutes (temperatures 180 degrees)  When cooked leave them to cool.  Remove from cup.  When serving re bake soufflé in oven at a high temperature for 10 /13 minutes.  Ideally served with local salad leafs

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SERVES

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Chef Carl Zahra


GREAT DANE RESTAURANT

INGREDIENTS Weiner Schnitzel 4 thin slices of Veal Topside 100gr Flour seasoned with lemon pepper and salt 3 Eggs and 1 cup Milk beaten 2 cups white Bread Crumbs

Weiner Schnitzel with Warm Potato Salad

Vegetable oil Butter Potato Salad 4 whole Potatoes peeled and cubed 3cm 100 mls Ale Beer 1 finely diced Shallot 2 spoons Mayonnaise 50 gr chopped Parsley Salt and pepper to season

METHOD  Crumb the Schnitzels in flour, then in egg and finally in bread crumbs.

Recipes by Chef:

Michael Depasquale

 Heat frying pan with oil and butter.  Fry evenly both sides until golden brown.  For the potato salad simply boil potatoes. Once ready, drain and toss in beer until the potatoes absorb it then add the remaining ingredients.  Traditionally served with fresh lemon boiled egg and anchovy.

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we use the freshest of ingredients for our

SUNDAY BUFFET LUNCH ADULTS €35 INCLUDING FOOD AND 1 COFFEE KIDS 6-12 €10 FOOD ONLY KIDS UNDER 6 FREE FOOD ONLY

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For more information and bookings, visit our website www.excelsior.com.mt or contact us directly on 2125 0520


GREAT DANE RESTAURANT

Crispy Fried lampuki with

Cherry Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 Whole Lampuki cut into even sections Flour Salt and Pepper Curry Powder Sauce Cherry Tomato’s halved Fresh Garlic Fresh Mint Olives pitted Capers Fresh Basil to serve

METHOD  Heat olive oil and a touch of butter in non-stick fry pan.  Fry seasoned lampuki chunks evenly until skin is crispy and lower heat cooking for a further 3 mins each side.  Lightly fry garlic in olive oil, sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and cook for approximately 5 - 6 minutes.  Sprinkle with torn basil before serving.

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B

urgers are usually viewed as a casual meal however they don’t always have to be. While Hard Rock Cafe Malta is all about being casual, they put some love into their burgers like you’ve never seen before, enough to make crave these burgers every other week. The burgers are handcrafted in a way that each burger can make a headline, because each and every one of them is a unique dish. The recipes are not your usual run of the mill list of burgers that you will find at any restaurant, but rather bold dares that challenge what we know. Take the Java Lava burger for example. It is enhanced with an espresso rub, and topped with a house-made lava sauce, crunchy java onions, Cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, crisp lettuce and vine-ripened tomato, and served with a spicy jalapeño on top. For those who are a bit more adventurous, Hard Rock serves them a spicy Atomic Burger, which comes along with not just one jalapeño, but with two! Topped with spicy fried onions and graced with pepperjack cheese, and sriracha mayo. It’s that kind of burger. For those in higher spirits, Hard Rock boast the Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger, served with none other than the famous Irish stout, and a Jameson Bacon

Jam. Delicious. Finally, Hard Rock Cafe Malta are also graced by the Cauliflower burger in their menu, a delicate touch which will make everybody crave a patty made out of this versatile vegetable and garlic, egg, goat’s cheese and breadcrumbs, within the Hard Rock’s kitchen. It is then topped with zucchini, squash and Monterey Jack cheese. Although this is a vegetarian option, we’ve already seen strict meat lovers go crazy for this one! The new items will also be joined by Artisan Fries – either Chili Spiced, Parmesan Romano or Herb & Garlic. Hard Rock Cafe Malta also included three new cocktails, especially the nicest Mai Tai you will find in the area. These burgers are part of the new menu that Hard Rock Cafe Malta launched around a month ago. Together with new dishes such as a mouthwatering cut of sirloin, these complement the original mainstays, especially the Original Legendary Burger, and the world famous fall-off-the-bone pork Hickory Smoked Ribs that no one else can do better. All of this, together with the merchandise, memorabilia, music experience (including live acts) and with the most rocking staff, makes Hard Rock Cafe the best place to eat, drink, and live.

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The

Puck Factor

Interview with Spago Restaurant Chef de Cuisine,

Tetsu Yahagi 68

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photo by Will Blunt


I

t all started in a bookstore in California where Chef Tetsu Yahagi came across a cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Adventures in The Kitchen cookbook. He was struck by the content which to his surprise included recipes for sashimi tuna and uni sauce and references to ingredients that were familiar to his early years in Japan. Page by page Tetsu taught himself the ways of California cuisine, and years later before his family moved him back to Japan, his only wish was to dine at the original Spago in West Hollywood. His wish was granted and during the meal Tetsu had the opportunity to meet Wolfgang in person, and have him sign his beloved cookbook. The connection with Wolfgang Puck never faded and in 2004 Tetsu was selected by Wolfgang Puck as an opening Sous Chef for the former Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Tokyo. Later, Tetsu joined the Spago Beverly Hills team where today he is Chef de Cuisine.  As Chef de Cuisine, Tetsu strives to keep the history and traditions of Spago Beverly Hills vibrant; bringing his Japanese influence and sense of refinement to the cuisine. Chef Tetsu Yahagi takes us through his culinary journey and the impact of Wolfgang Puck on his career in the food industry.

Your food career is a journey through languages, countries, and cuisines. Can you tell us more about your culinary experience? I spent my 7th-12th grade years in Los Angeles, and then I moved back to Japan to attend culinary school. After graduating, I moved to France and worked at Hotel Lameloise in Burgundy (3-star Michelin). I then went back to Japan to work in several French restaurants and joined Wolfgang Puck Japan when chef opened his first restaurant in Tokyo. After five years with WP Japan, I moved to Los Angeles to join the mother ship Spago Beverly Hills, where I became sous chef, then a few years later was promoted to my current role of Chef de Cuisine.    You first came across Chef Puck at a bookstore in his cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Adventures in the kitchen. What attracted you towards his work? I came across this book almost 22 years ago and read chef Wolfgang’s recipe for, “Tempura Sashimi with Uni Sauce.”  It was during a time that uni was frequently consumed in Japan but was yet to be considered a consumable ingredient across the Los Angeles restaurant culture. It was amazing to discover that the most wellknown chef in the U.S. was using uni and seaweed to create a dish. It made me feel very proud of Japanese culture and lead me to respect Wolfgang Puck for having an open mind and creative vision for cooking.    You recently noted that there is very little difference between cooking with my mother and cooking with Wolfgang Puck. Can you elaborate on that?  What I meant was that no matter who you are cooking for or with, the fundamental approach and emotions that go into the process are very much the same. At the restaurant we often go over the top for our guests with truffles, caviar, and other luxury ingredients and techniques, and I’m a believer that the love and care that goes into this process should be no less or

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Book the malta

2017 8-12 November mediterranean Conference Centre, valletta www.ktieb.org.mt

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TETSU YAHAGI more than if you were preparing a simple salad or roast chicken at home.

How has your Japanese origins effected your style of cooking at Spago? I feel very lucky to be a Japanese, French-trained chef working in the United States. A lot of Japanese chefs outside of Japan only cook Japanese food, and while I have the basic knowledge of Japanese food and culture, my training in French cuisine has allowed me to be creative and work with techniques and ingredients outside of the more traditional Japanese styles of cooking and presentation. You do give a lot of importance to plating. What role does plating play in the final product presented at the table? Plating is important because in most cases, every guest sees the plated dish before it is consumed. So, I take the process of plating very seriously. That being said, I work hard to not overcomplicate the plating of any dish as I believe the true beauty of a dish is showcased through the ingredients and how they’ve been prepared. Sometimes food that has been too articulated can seem overly manipulated and that is not an honest representation of my style. I see flavour as the most important component in cooking and the visual becomes a supporting player that helps tell the story, and complete the overall experience of the dish.

signature dish is executed perfectly every day. How does autumn fit into your dishes? I like autumn because cooler weather stimulates our appetite for more hearty food. We begin to see more game birds, earthy mushrooms, nuts; I could go on! It is definitely one of my favourite times of year to adjust our menus and create new dishes. What projects (if any) do you have in store for the future? We hope to begin changing our California Tasting menu more frequently. I have great talents that work with me whom I need to extract more from. I am looking forward to seeing what my sous chefs/cooks can bring to the table. Young creative minds are always inspiring to work with.  

A key characteristic of your work is the use of fresh farmers’ market ingredients. In what way does such produce help your dishes stand out? The flavours and aroma of these fresh ingredients often set our dishes apart from other. Sometimes even the colours. When we start with amazing ingredients that are fully in season, we don’t need to do much to them. Keep it simple and cook it right, voilà, you have an amazing dish! Can you take us through the famous dish, spicy tuna tartar in a sesame miso cone? The Spicy Tuna Tartar is actually my mentor Chef Lee Hefter’s signature dish. My job is to make sure his

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A Baker's Tale Interview with

George Mifsud Owner of Gormina

H

idden behind the packed bread shelves of Gormina lies the Mifsud’s family traditions in the bread making industry. The busy corridors packed with clients selecting all sorts of bread and other products highlight the outlet’s popularity among local consumers and its reputation as one of the leading bakers in Malta. Much of the success earned over the past two decades lies in the vision and determination of George Mifsud who was crucial in the outlet’s growth and reputation on the Maltese market. George took us through the origins of Gormina, the family’s long standing bakery traditions and their recent launch of a pastizzerija. What lies behind the name Gormina? There is a very simple story behind the name. It is a combination of my name, George and my wife’s name, Romina. M.F.K. Fisher once stated that "breadmaking is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony." Can you share with us your family's deep relationship with bakery? My family has a longstanding relationship with the bread making industry which lies in my parents childhood in the “village of bakers” and in their decision way back in the mid twentieth century to open a bakery in Sliema. The profession was passed over to me and my brothers who at a very young age helped out in the bakery. Following my father’s demise, we followed on his footsteps and continued our family’s baking tradition in various locations in Malta until we opened our outlet in St Paul’s Bay. Notwithstanding changing consumer needs and new techniques, our love, passion and commitment towards bread making remains strong and we are determined to further consolidate our family’s name and reputation on the island.

What makes Gormina so sought after on the island? We pride ourselves of high quality bread amongst which the traditional local bread which is sought after by clients from all across the island. Moreover, we also ensure the market is constantly supplied with genuine products which are available in hours which accommodate the changing needs of our clients. Does Malta have a bread culture?  Bread is a staple of Maltese diet. It is embedded in our food culture and plays a major role in our traditions. Locals as well as tourists seek the unique taste of a local ftira. It is also present in every home. Indeed, every lunch or dinner includes a piece of local bread. Our children’s diet is also based on bread. Many share a sandwich or bun with their school mates during lunch break. The introduction of a wider range of bread as well as gluten free and low salt bread has made the product more popular on the island. It is a common scene in every bakery on Sunday afternoon to find their bread shelves empty due to a high demand. Can you share with us your Guinness Book of Records accomplishments? It was indeed an honour and such an achievement for our bakery to be named twice in the Guinness book of Records; once for the longest garlic baguette ever prepared and also for the biggest bread ever baked. The bread weighed over 700kg! Your "ftajjar" are also very much sought after. What is the secret ingredient? The secret of such product lies in its pastry which requires good hands, time and a lot of patience. They are also popular amongst our clients for their genuine ingredients. What projects do you have in the pipeline?  We have recently celebrated our twentieth anniversary a feat we are proud to have accomplished and which we seek to see further develop in the years to come. As part of our market strategy we want to ensure further visibility and on the market through various mediums including social media. Moreover, we are now investing our energies on our new pastizzerja project.

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Braised

Lamb Shanks L

ong, slow cooked, braised Lamb Shanks are the perfect comfort food and so welcome on a chilly autumn or cold winters day.

Once cooked, long and slow you will find the meat will quite literally, fall from the bone.

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 Preheat the oven to 160C/320 F/Gas 2.  Sprinkle a chopping board with salt and freshly ground pepper, then quickly roll each lamb shank over the board to cover lightly with seasoning.  In a large ovenproof casserole heat the oil, once hot, brown the lamb shanks, two at a time.  Remove the lamb shanks and put a side.  Pour in the red wine, bring to a gentle boil, leave to simmer until reduced by half. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and finally the lamb shanks.  Pour in enough beef stock to cover the meat, don't worry if the bones are sticking out, this is fine, and it is also fine if you have stock left over, you may need this to top the shanks up from time to time.

Another favourite time to eat this dish is an alternative to a traditional Sunday lunch. It is not that every Sunday you want a full Sunday roast. You will find many, recipes for Braised Lamb Shanks but this is one of my all time favourites. The lamb shank is cooked very slowly in a good red wine (I emphasise good, never cook with wine you would not drink). The wine tenderises the meat and also adds flavour to the gravy.

METHOD

Keith Farrugia THE MEAT SHOP

INGREDIENTS 6 lamb shanks 2 tablespoon olive oil 500ml (16fl oz ) good red wine 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped 1 garlic bulb, cut in half cross-wise 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 1.5 litre (3 pints) beef stock 55g (2 oz) ice cold butter Salt and ground black pepper

 Bring back to a simmer then cover the dish and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking from time to time that the meat is covered in stock and top up as necessary and also occasionally turn the shanks.  Once cooked, remove the shanks and keep warm.  Place the casserole on the hob and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cold butter to create a glossy sauce. Check the seasoning then strain the sauce.  Serve a lamb shank per person on a large, warm dinner plate with creamy mashed potatoes with lots of sauce poured over.  The lamb shanks are also good left to cool and then the next day warmed through and eaten. Eating the next day means the flavours have lots of time to develop. Delicious!


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It's all in the

name Interview with

Malcolm Bartolo Chef Owner of Townhouse No. 3

I

recently came across a review of a restaurant which struck me by the name, Townhouse No. 3. I quickly called the owner and asked to meet for a chat. He gladly accepted to meet on a Saturday afternoon. The restaurant is at the very heart of Rabat, in a quiet pedestrian path away from the busy Rabat centre. The houses and shops around the outlet set the scene of a traditional local core village setting. 76

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I was quickly welcomed by chef patron Malcolm Bartolo who invited me to sit outside for a coffee. With a calm and very composed voice, he introduced me to his outlet where he proudly explained to me what lies behind the name Townhouse No. 3. “I felt a name should reflect the outlet’s character and above all my own personality which revolves around the concept of simplicity. Actually, the name is derived from the street number of my shop. What can be simpler than that?” He points that apart from simplicity, the outlet itself and his own cuisine focuses on fresh local produce. “The local element is visible across the outlet. The wooden chairs and tables as well as the majority of the produce I use, are all local. We need to be proud of what our island offers.” He admits that local produce is not always easy to handle in the kitchen especially for a small sized entrepreneur whose bargain power on the market is limited. Nevertheless, he believes that the abilities of a chef are spelt out in his way to work around such limitations and offer an excellent product to clients. The concept of simplicity takes our discussion to his past experience in lavish kitchens in Malta and abroad including the Jar Restaurant (Admiral House) at the Isle of Man, Palazzo Castelletti in Rabat and at Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar. The concept of food in such outlets is very much in contrast with his current cuisine at Townhouse No. 3 which induces me to ask him what led to such change in approach. “The food I was exposed to in such kitchens was amazing. Tartufo, poulet de bresse, fois gras and other fine produce were the norm rather than the exception to the rule in such outlets. It is a unique experience to work with such fine products however, something in me made feel I did not pertain to such world.” He adds that he felt a deep sense of nostalgia towards a more simple cuisine. Moreover “I felt it was time for me to run my own project where I could take my own decisions and were I could exalt the beauty of fresh local produce.” He explains that his menu is seasonal and based on the products available during specific time of the year. Moreover, his selection of food is sourced from a very small circle of suppliers who share his same vision and who focus on local products. “I visit the Farmers


Market in Ta’ Qali every Saturday where I source all my stock of vegetables for the week. I am not really picky on aesthetics and often opt for a tomato which might not be perfect or a potato which might be too small or large. Ultimately it is the taste and the way it is presented at the table which really matters.” He also proudly stresses on the chemistry he developed with his fish, meat and poultry suppliers which might not be large distributors yet offer him a genuine product and above all do not treat him like a number. Our discussion on fresh produce takes us to the autumn season where he admits that contrary to other seasons it is quite challenging in view of the selection of products available. “Malta’s game season is very limited as well as the selection of orange products. Nevertheless it still offers an interesting selection of fresh produce with which one can create amazing dishes.” He notes that autumn is the times for soups, casseroles and the introduction of some heavy plates which are sought after by the majority of his clients. The concept of local fresh produce is very much at heart to him and he stresses the need for local food

and catering education institutions to stress on the use of such ingredients. “Local fresh produce is ultimately what distinguishes our dishes from other continental cuisines. The moment we do not use such products, our kitchens will lose their local character.” He also stresses on the need for authorities to recognise and award food outlets which focus on local produce. It is time for me to conclude my interview yet before calling it a day, I felt the need to ask him a final question regarding his future plans. “I need to ensure the sustainability of my outlet. Notwithstanding the relatively young age of the outlet and market’s challenges, we are gradually increasing in numbers which encourages me to work harder and insist on the use of fresh local produce.” It is indeed amazing what hidden gems one can come across on such a small island. It is such a pleasure to see local talent investing their time and energy on such projects which focus on our fresh local produce.

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THE

NATURAL WAY Interview with

Daniel Berlin

Chef Patron of Daniel Berlin Krog

A

t the southern tip of Sweden in the truly small town of Skåne-Tranås lies the Daniel Berlin Krog 14-cover restaurant which many believe is one of Sweden's best eateries. The restaurant's recognition lies manly in Chef Daniel Berlin's ability to juggle natural ingredients to create amazing dishes. Indeed, Chef Berlin is considered to be one of Sweden's most highly rated chefs, with his unique ability to pack his dishes with natural flavours, often dramatically simplistic in their construction and yet full of surprises and clever twists – that’s his signature. He has often been described as a genius by restaurant critics, but despite all the praise he remains a very modest man. Daniel's success stems from his dedication. He is totally committed to producing what he considers to be the best food that he can create. Notwithstanding his very busy agenda, Chef Berlin accepted my request for an interview where he discussed the story that lies behind the opening of Daniel Berlin Krog, his vision of food and his special connection with nature. 78

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photos by David Magnusson

When did your interest in the culinary world start? I believe it was during my second year of chef school when I started working at restaurants with people who were really committed to food and were dedicated to teaching the skills of the trade. I was also impressed by the fact that a kitchen creates an equal platform where it does not matter if you’re black, white, old, or young. All that really matters is how good you are and how interested to learn more. I really liked that. It was also at that time when I started to work at a restaurant in Lund called Petri Pumpa with a guy called Thomas Drejing. He was the first guy in Sweden who did not freeze anything, who used whole animals and caught live fish every morning. He taught me so much. Everything started there. At a certain point in your career you decided to take a drastic decision which eventually led to the opening of your own restaurant. What triggered you to take such decision? I was the head chef at a really big restaurant in Malmo¨. I was quite young, like 26, and the restaurant was too big – it was more about dealing with staff problems than food. So I quit: I said I don’t want to be a chef anymore, this is not for me. But after six months of doing nothing I realised that cooking was the only thing I could do. I didn’t have any money to start my own place but with the help of my parents, who remortgaged their house I managed to fund my ambition. What does working at Daniel Berlin Krog look like? The place is different from any other food establishment. You have to like to work, here. When you work in my kitchen, it could be working two hours in our garden, or painting the roof, or butchering a whole deer on a hunt. You have to be open to everything. Daniel Berlin Krog is a culinary playground where we experiment with food which mainly consists of produce we grow, forages, and hunts.

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At times it was really hard because they felt they couldn't match my standards

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What type of food should one expect at Daniel Berlin Krog? We are inspired by our surroundings. Our observations shape the way we express ourselves. We want to convey an experience that is created thoughtfully, consciously and joyfully. In our dining room, guests can enjoy a menu that interprets time and our location as it is right now. Every plate presented includes ingredients that speak of our surrounding. If you travel to my restaurant, I want you to feel that you are in the south of Sweden. For me, that’s really big. If I travel to you, I want to eat what you have. I think that’s interesting. Our menu will never include products our region is not strong in such as truffle or scallops. If some ingredients are not of a certain standard just avoid to include them. What’s it like working with your parents? I must admit that initially there were some issues. At times it was really hard because they felt they couldn’t match my standards. However, after discussing the key issues, we learnt to really communicate better and respect each other’s space. I think we are doing a better service now because we have taken away so many rules. They have life experience and they can talk about how we painted the roof or the snails in the garden and that’s more important I think. Can you share with us your special relationship with local producers? Primary products are fundamental for the development of any plate. They determine the culinary experience of every client. Thus we do give a lot of importance to the development of solid relationships with our producers. We discuss with them and also invest in them. When we come across a producer who wants to do something ambitious we can give them money to try to make it happen. This gives us the possibility to source consistent high quality products and to experiment on new tastes. This is a restaurant where an onion is as important as a piece of beef. How does Autumn influence your kitchen? Autumn is the wild game season so our menu is focussed on specific animals like moose, wild birds, deer and

wild boar. Durng this season, I close the restaurant one extra day so we can hunt a lot and try to provide the restaurant with everything. Can you tell us more about you blackened celeriac signature dish? It is usually brought to the table with its skin gently smouldering. The flesh is scooped out and laid on a bowl of sago grains before being drizzled with local aged cheese sauce. All this is the result of cooking the celeriac for 8-10 hours, by which time it turns quite meaty and earthy. Nothing is wasted and from the burnt shell we make a bread, from the leftovers we make a sauce and from the green part we make an oil A final word of advise to prospective chefs? Follow your dreams and never give up. Learn the basics and always try to use natural ingredients which your surroundings offer. Try to keep it your work as simple as possible. Beauty often lies in simple things.

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Salt and

Sweet Interview with

Simone Padoan Pizzaiolo and Owner of I Tigli

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n San Bonifacio, near Verona lies a redefined concept of what we traditionally associate with a pizzeria. The place is modern, lavish and resembles more a haute cuisine oulet. No corner at I Tigli is left unattened to and every table, chair or bench is symetrically in line with the rest. The place has a unique character which reflects that of its owner, Simone Padoan. Simone is considered to be one of the best pizzaiolo in Italy and is also regarded as the father of the gourmet pizza concept or as he prefers to define it, degustation or sharing pizza. His relationship with natural leavening is intense and in time led him to redefine his work and to cross the fine line which divides salt and sweet. Moreover, his journey into the natural leavening process has led him to reinterpret his definition of pizza. Indeed, Simone is a strong believer of pizza being a social platform that brings together families, friends and work mates. Simone took us through the various key stages in his career and shared with us his reinterpretation of the pizza concept.

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We can say that 1999 marked a new chapter in your career. What happened during that year? For five years, I Tigli focussed on the traditional pizza with minimal variations. Notwithstanding our quality, we lacked the necessary pinch to stand out of the crowd. In 1999, I felt it was time to change our course of action and provide a new concept of pizza with my very own imprint. Before your change in course of action, you fell into a professional impasse. How did you come out of it? I studied on the use of high quality primary products, on new cooking techniques, and yeast raising methods. This study phase in my life gave me the opportunity to find a compromise between the traditional pizza and haute cuisine. What concept of pizza does I Tigli promote? The core theme that spells out once you enter I Tigli pizzeria is the absolute focus on natural yeast and the game between salt and sweet. Every product prepared seeks to highlight my strong relationship with nature, my respect for traditions and my emphasis on manual work. The predominant theme of my pizzas is our return to the origins. You are regarded as the undisputable patriarch of the gourmet pizza. Can you elaborate further on this concept? I am not too fond of the word “gourmet�; I would prefer the term degustation pizza or sharing pizza. Every pizza is served in eight portions so as to promote the concept of sharing among family, friends or colleagues. With this concept in mind, our pizza serves as a platform for food and opinion sharing. Can you tell us more about your special relationship with natural leavening? In 2000, we started experimenting with natural leavening and gradually understood the potential of such process and obtained a better command of the key techniques. Our better understanding of natural leavening helped us earn more confidence in the

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SIMONE PADOAN

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SIMONE PADOAN

process and gradually started experimenting with salt and sweet. We also understood that every product we create out of the natural leavening process has a soul and its very own character which demands to be treated with love and passion, respecting the necessary maturity time, the selection of quality ingredients and the correct balance of other ingredients in line with the set objectives. I was struck by a statement on your website where you state that “natural yeast tells the story of who we are”. Why? Yeast is a living matter and thus reflects the environment in which it is set which includes the flour used, the temperature of the place and the method of how it is worked. It also reflects the character and personality of the person handling it. In what way has I Tigli crossed the line between salt and sweet? Italy boasts one of the best leavened pastry traditions in the world. It is a very old culture which in time has offered our country the possibility to develop unique products. At I Tigli we seek to follow such traditions and take it a step further by giving it a modern slang.

Such approach enabled us to develop products like the “Pan Dolce” and the “Focaccia Veneta." Is there any pizza you would associate with the autumn season? During the autumn season, we opt more for earthy products such as mushrooms, pumpkin and tubers. We also use more slow cooking meats such as pork cheeks. In what way does autumn change the mood at I Tigli? Autumn comes after the season where the sun and the heat reign. During the autumn season colours change and there is a shift towards red, orange and yellow colours. It is also a calmer period and the more we get to the heart of autumn, it gets more gloomy. Our kitchen adapts to such change which is reflected in the colours and products used. Any plans for the future? Our profession is made of very weird persons with a very particular style of life and abnormal working hours. Our mind never stops dreaming. The future is a closed book, let’s see what it will offer us.

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Autumn

on my mind Interview with

Damian Ciappara Chef Patron of Commando Restaurant

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Photos by Roger Azzopardi

A

utumn is a very special season for Chef Damian Ciappara. It is that time of the year when his brain is back to creative mode and starts to develop amazing recipes. The change in weather together with the distinct colour of autumn food change his mood and induce him to exalt the warm flavours of pumpkin, squash, orange and game. The distinct colour and flavour of autumn food is expressed in casseroles, soups and other dishes which are so sought after by his clients. Autumn is also a family matter which brings back to mind his family kitchen which was always busy during this time of the year preparing pies and other simple recipes. I met Damian on a very busy Monday at his Commando restaurant surrounded with pumpkins, oranges and boxes of wine. During our chat he shared his family autumn memoirs and why the fall season is so special to him.

How does autumn exalt your creativity in the kitchen? Autumn is that special time of the year which exalts our creativity in the kitchen. The unbearable local summer heat starts to calm down and makes our kitchen a better place to work in. Moreover, autumn is a time when we are blessed with amazing products which enable us to be creative in our menu selection. As a matter of fact, during this time of the year, we bring back to our menu soups, heavier risottos and pastas, cooked salads, braised meats and warmer deeper desserts. What is your favourite ingredient for this time of the year? Definitely pumpkin. It is such a versatile product which can be used in and adapted to so many recipes. It also has that distinct orange colour which symbolizes the autumn season. What challenges and opportunities does autumn offer to your kitchen? I believe autumn offers more opportunities rather than challenges. It definitely offers me the possibility to work with my favourite ingredients-pumpkin. It is such an interesting and tasteful ingredient. Its secret lies in keeping it simple and extracting the maximum flavour

to create amazing dishes such as risottos, soups and even cakes. How did the Ciappara kitchen look like during the autumn season? Autumn was a very special time of the year for the Ciappara family. As the summer season came to an end we celebrated the change in weather and the first drops of rain. The drop in temperatures and the smell of wet grass and stone reenergized our body and revitalized our creativity in the kitchen. We fondly waited for farmers to bring over autumn vegetables with which we prepared tasty and colourful soups and stews often shared with a piece of local bread. Is there any childhood autumn family recipe you are still fond of? I do recollect my grandma’s amazing pumpkin pies! The filling was very particular and consisted of roasted pumpkin, black olives, rice and sometimes anchovies. At face value, the combination does not sound like a good combination, but believe me, it does! Remembering these pies brings to my mind a sense of nostalgia and a sense of guilt for failing to bring these ingredients back together. Maybe this interview served as a good reminder and it is time for me to take my old recipes out of my office drawer. I really miss those pies. What do we expect to find on your autumn menu? Definitely risottos, creamy pastas, braised meats or game and some warm saucy desserts!

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ÂŽ

Natural living is opening soon in San Gwann At Good Earth, our passion is for food, people, the earth we share and the air we breathe. We are committed to sourcing and providing unrefined, natural and organic food products, nutritional supplements, cruelty free toiletries and eco-friendly household products. We encourage you to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle and to become more aware of our planet’s well-being and sustainability. Our portfolio spans all 5 continents of the world allowing us to carry hundreds of healthy, natural and organic products.

Good Earth Natural Living Vjal Ir Rihan, San Gwann

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COMMANDO RESTAURANT

Pumpkin risotto finished with a walnut pesto PESTO INGREDIENTS 125g fesh basil leaves 175g chopped roasted walnuts 4 cloves garlic,peeled 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan 250 ml olive oil salt and pepper to taste

METHOD  In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper.

RISOTTO INGREDIENTS 1.75l chicken stock 400g pumpkin flesh, cubed 125g butter 150ml white wine 1 small onions, finely chopped 350g arborio or risotto rice 3 good handfuls of grated Parmesan Salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD  Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bring the chicken stock to preboil and gently simmer.  Wrap 300g of the pumpkin cubes in foil, then place them in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until very soft. The rest of the pumpkin cubes simply roast with some olive oil for 15 minutes to serve on the risotto as a garnish.  Purée pumpkin (the one cooked in foil) in a food processor until

very smooth.  Over a low to medium heat, warm half of the butter in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes, deglaze with two ladles of stock and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and enough stock to cover all.  As the stock reduces, gradually add more while stirring all the time, until the rice is tender but still has a little bite (this will take around 10 minutes).  Halfway through adding the stock, stir in the saffron.  When the rice is cooked, remove from heat, add the remaining butter and the Parmesan, cover and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. Season to taste.  To serve, place in deep bowls, top with the roasted pumpkin and drizzle some of the walnut pesto.

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A Lebanese

FCulture ood 90

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Interview with

Hany Harb Chef Patron of Ali Baba

A

fter several attempts to find a parking space, I finally succeed to find a slot in a corner where I quickly head towards Ali Baba. There is something special with the place which makes it an eventful experience each time I visit the outlet. The walls, the tables and the kitchen are an amazing fusion between the western high end restaurant philosophy and the key elements which form the basis of a traditional Lebanese food outlet. Part of this positive vibe is definitely due to the humble character of Chef Hany Harb. Busy in his kitchen preparing Friday lunch for his guests he peeps his head from behind a heap of pots and pens and invites me to grab a chair. He greets me with his traditional smile and brings over to the table coffee and baklava. Notwithstanding the early time of the day, I could not resist to take a bite into his delicious baklava. They are so rich in flavour and spell out the genuine taste of pure pistachios and honey.

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ALI BABA

We quickly turn into interview mode and our conversation focuses on Lebanese food culture which he defines as “rich and longstanding. The Lebanese cuisine is an ancient one and part of the Levantine cuisine. Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back thousands of years to eras of Roman and Phoenician rule.”  He adds that, “Our diet includes an abundance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starches, fresh fish and seafood. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. Consumption of red meat is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice. Also, there is a large amount of chickpeas in our diet.” Lebanese meals also include a selection of sweets such as the famous baklava, Ka'ak, Sfouf and Maamoul. I ask Hany about food habits in Lebanon which he describes as “unique and with such a distinct character”. He notes that there is an age-old tradition of warm hospitality that exists in Lebanese culture. Lebanese hosts will never believe you don't have just a bit more room for something utterly delicious that's been prepared with love. In a Lebanese household, food is life and sharing it is one of the great joys of being alive. He stresses on the characteristic street food activity where “you may hear the distinct sound of a kaak vendor’s horn interrupt Beirut’s morning traffic beeps. Attached to his bicycle or laid out on his cart are rows of delicious, sesame-dotted 92

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bread rings, fresh and ready to be eaten. Complementing these sounds is the “klak klak” of small porcelain cups that a nearby coffee vendor plays against each other like castanets.” Hany adds that it is common to find people gathering at the hummus and ful shops around the corner, or outside the mana’eesh bakeries down the street, where the smell of earthy zaatar awakens the appetite. For those whose palates crave sweeter delicacies, one can opt for the knefeh makers. Food in Lebanon is also a social experience when families talk, laugh, and discuss the previous their daily endeavours or plan out the day ahead. Hany adds that Lebanese meals are also rooted in tradition, history, and fond memories. Markouk (type of unleavened Arabic flat bread), tannour (Lebanese flat bread), olives, labneh, fresh cheese, pickles, seasonal vegetables (usually cucumber and tomatoes) served with sumac and olive oil are the traditional features of a typical Lebanese breakfast table which are always accompanied by tea, coffee, lemonade or juice to drink. Hany notes that for those who prefer a heartier breakfast, one can opt for mana’eesh, fatayer (meat pie, which can also be vegetarian with spinach filling), cheese rolls, yogurt fatteh with chickpeas, pine nuts and butter, shanklish (a goat’s cheese that gets fried up with onion and tomato), ful moudammas, and a variety of egg dishes. On the other hand any notes that Lebanese meals are characterised by food which is generally grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw, pickled or cooked. Herbs and spices are used frequently and in large quantities. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons and what is available. Lebanese cuisine also varies by region. “Every meal generally consists of a variety of dishes on the table, the meal starting with small portions known as mezza, which centre around dips and salads." As well as having great variety, Lebanese food is one of the freshest and most delicious on the planet. Lamb is the meat of choice and appears in many dishes, including kafta, in which minced lamb is rolled into sausage shapes and cooked on the barbecue or in the oven.


Lebanese desserts are pure artwork, as a visit to one of the palaces of Lebanese sweets will attest – there are many variations of filo pastry, combined with nuts and syrup; there are creamy sweets filled with a clotted cream called ashta; plus melting shortbread sometimes filled with a date paste or nuts; and much more. Sweets are generally served separately to a meal with black coffee or tea. Our conversation focuses once again on the Ali Baba kitchen where I ask him how he manages to bring such a rich culinary diet under one roof. Hany notes that his selection of food tries to offer a full specrum of Lebanese culinary food. "Our menu touches on the salient dishes which charaterise Lebanese food identity. We also work on specialities which offer us the possibility to dig deeper into the vast range of Lebanese recipes.” He stresses that he wants his outlet to be a showcase of Lebanese culinary excellence and thus also promote Lebanese wine as well and Lebanese beer. He also adds that “my outlet also serves as a showcase of Lebanese culture as well as my family traditions which are envisaged in the walls and photos displayed in the restaurant.” Notwithstanding the very interesting conversation, I do realize that Hany has still a lot of work to do to finish his lunch preparations and thus ask him a final question on what are his plans for the future. With a smile he notes to me that he is planning some exciting changes to his current menu which will definitely amaze his clients and will continue to promote his Lebanese origins. We wait impatiently for the novelties which I am sure will continue to see Ali Baba as one of the best food outlets on the island.

Lentil and Green Collard Soup 4

SERVES

INGREDIENTS 1 1 1 1 6 2 1

tablespoon olive oil large onion, chopped tablespoon salt cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained cups water tablespoons olive oil bunch collard greens - rinsed, stemmed and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 /3 cup lemon juice

METHOD  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stir in onion and salt; cook until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in lentils, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in water, then bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add collard greens, and cook until wilted, about 10 minutes. When the lentils are tender, stir in the collard greens and season with cumin, cinnamon, and garlic; allow to simmer 10 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice before serving.

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Muhammara ALI BABA

(Roasted Pepper & Walnut Spread)

6

SERVES

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

 Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook and stir frequently until walnuts smell toasted and are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer walnuts to a plate to cool. Reserve 2 or 3 to coarsely chop and use for garnish.

1 1/4 cups raw walnut halves /3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1

1 cup fire-roasted red bell peppers - peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses 1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes or other red pepper flakes, plus a pinch or so for garnish / teaspoon cumin

1 2

/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley for garnish 94

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 Place the skillet over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle in the breadcrumbs; cook and stir frequently until crumbs turn golden brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle onto plate with walnuts.  Place peppers in bowl of a food

processor. Add walnuts, toasted bread crumbs, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, salt, paprika, Aleppo pepper flakes, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Pulse on and off, scraping mixture down occasionally, until mixture is fairly fine and smooth. Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.  Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to swirl indentations on the surface to capture the garnishes. Garnish with reserved chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, pepper flakes, and chopped parsley.


Red Bean

Stew

6

SERVES

INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and leaves minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 /2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 /2 teaspoon ground coriander 1 /2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (15 ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed salt and ground black pepper to taste

METHOD ď Ž Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions; cook and stir until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin; cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low; simmer sauce until flavors combine, about 10 minutes. ď Ž Stir beans into sauce. Cover skillet and simmer until beans are heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

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ALI BABA

INGREDIENTS

a

1 cup whole brown lentils, sorted and rinsed

a j u M dar

¼ cup canola oil 4 cups diced yellow onion (½-inch) 1 cup long grain rice OR coarse cracked wheat (#3 grade) salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil For fried onion garnish (optional):

1 large onion cut in very thin rings canola oil for frying

METHOD  Place lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are parcooked, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook here; the idea is to par-cook the lentils.  In a large, heavy sauté or sauce pan (with a lid), heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt as the onions cook.  Remove the onions from the heat and add 2 cups of water. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. The liquid will take on the deep golden color of the onions and the onions will continue to soften.

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6

SERVES

 Add the rice and par-cooked lentils (and their liquid) to the onion mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked through. The texture of the rice and lentils is somewhat al dente. Take care not to overcook or the mixture will become mushy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature drizzled with olive oil.

 For fried onion garnish, heat canola oil over high heat in a small saucepan (the small saucepan reduces the amount of oil needed for depth). When a small piece of onion dropped into the oil floats to the top and bubbles vigorously, the oil is ready. Fry the onion rings in batches until golden brown, reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Remove and drain on paper towel. Place the onions on top of the mujadara on a serving platter or individual plates.


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Digestive Myths / Did you know 98

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Myth: Spicy Foods Cause Ulcers People used to think that too much spicy food would give you an ulcer. But we now know that most of these sores in your stomach lining happen because of an infection with bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)Â or because of pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Foods with a lot of heat may make ulcers worse for some people, but they don't cause them. Myth: Nuts Lead to Diverticulitis Diverticulitis means pouches in the wall of the colon get inflamed and infected. In the past, doctors used to tell people with this condition to avoid nuts, corn, popcorn, and food with small seeds, like strawberries. The fear was that pieces of these foods would lodge in the pouches and cause pain. But recent studies suggest the opposite -- that people who eat a high-fiber diet have a lower risk of the


disease. Myth: Lactose Intolerant people cannot have dairy products People with lactose intolerance differ in how much dairy they can handle. While one person may get symptoms from one glass of milk, others may be able to drink up to two. Some people can enjoy yogurt or ice cream, but never straight milk. Even certain cheeses can be consumed. It's usually a matter of trial and error to find out which dairy foods -- and how much -- are "safe" for you. Myth: Smoking Relieves Heartburn Smoking may actually make heartburn worse. Nicotine can cause the muscle (valve) at the top of your stomach to become more lax. This will allow acid from the stomach to splash back (reflux) into your esophagus (food pipe) which means more heartburn. Myth: Aging Causes Constipation People are more likely to have constipation as they get older, but that’s not because of aging itself. It is known in general that older adults maybe taking more medications that can make the digestive tract sluggish. They're also less likely to get enough exercise, eat well, and drink enough fluids, all of which help keep the intestines working smoothly. Myth: Fibre Does not help with Diarrhoea This might not make sense that fibre, which is so wellknown for improving constipation, could also aid with diarrhoea. But actually it does. The nutrient helps keep the stool from being too hard or too loose. It works by either pulling more water from the colon to loosen stools (for constipation) or absorbing some of the fluid in the intestine to firm them up in case of diarrhoea. Myth: IBS Is All About Your Diet IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms Although certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms, however, changes to the diet are generally not enough to improve or cure the condition. Sometimes just eating certain foods can trigger the pain, tummy cramps,

Dr. Z. Teebi is a Medical Consultant with a special interest in Allergy. Hu studied and graduated from the Imperial College London (UK). zteebi@gmail.com

bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation. Stress and anxiety can add to the problem, too. A food and symptom diary can help you identify your specific triggers. Otherwise a food intolerance test can give you a guide. Myth: Stress Causes IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) While stress can make many health conditions worse, the cause of IBD is still unknown. This includes both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, conditions in which the lining of the small or large intestines gets inflamed. There seems to be a genetic factor involved as do changes in the body's immune system, possibly from bacteria or a virus.

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Photos by Sean Mallia

A New

Chapter Interview with

Ryan Marmara' Executive Chef at Villa Arrigo Boutique Events

Byron Saliba

Executive Pastry Chef at Villa Arrigo Boutique Events

&

T

here are a few changes going on at Villa Arrigo Boutique Events. The company has recently hired Chef Ryan Marmara' and Chef Byron Saliba who are considered two of the major exponents of the local food industry. The kitchen at Villa Arrigo is busy preparing new sweet and savoury concepts which will see the brand move a step further in its glorious history. Both Ryan and Byron found some time to share with us how two old friends found themselves working under the same roof once again together with what we should expect from Villa Arrigo.

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Villa Arrigo is celebrating thirty-one years of events. What should we expect in the years to come? RM Villa Arrigo is a one of a kind company. It’s a personalised events caterer that gives their customers the chance to make their dreams come true. The future looks very bright and positive, a lot of projects in the pipe line. We as a team will keep working together to keep improving on what we have already. BS After all the success Villa Arrigo acquired through these years we are working together with a good team to continue enhancing the best from the traditional recipes and methodology to reinvigorate classics and come up with new ideas, concepts, and new menus with sophisticated touch that attire new business to the market. How do you strike a balance between the company's food traditions and the introduction of novelties? RM It’s very easy for me since the company’s reputation is very strong and I believe that you shouldn’t change something that is working and is what people love. Regarding introduction of new trends I’ll always keep in mind the identity of the property and not to create something that can totally change this identity. However, on the other hand I’m very lucky to have understandable owners who always give me the go ahead to express myself as a chef and cook my own recipes and ideas. BS Traditions are also memories of familiar aromas and flavours so I like to incorporate them well into the menus to give that feeling of comfort. I stick to the basics and find that to achieve a perfect symphony when introducing new concepts, I use traditional ingredients but giving them a modern twist. Blending of flavours and styles gives a whole exquisite look to each petite-gâteau so that it not only looks delicious but also tastes so. 102 September 2017

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VILLA ARRIGO

The company's tag line is contemporary cuisine. Can you elaborate further? RM Contemporary cuisine is about the unexpected. It seeks innovation in taste, texture and presentation. Modernized cooking predominantly served at upscale fine food has become the hallmark of the villa. New menus are catered on modernized cooking to stay competitive and one of Malta’s leading venue and boutique caterers BS Contemporary cuisine is a blend of tastes, textures and unique presentation, sophisticated compositions and how tastes can combine in order to create that sense of flavours. It is also artistic design with shapes and colours that marry perfectly in a pictorially harmonious design. Beyond the professional relationship, lies a very deep friendship between both of you. In what way does your friendship ensure the perfect synergy between the salt and sweet menus? RM Our friendship goes way back. We’ve been working together for almost six years now. We clicked straight away when we started talking about food. Our style is very similar so it’s very easy for us to keep moving forward to create new things and concept. Sometimes we sketch a menu separate and when we talk about it we agree on it straight away. The synergy between us is very strong because we’re always honest to ourselves and to one another. BS Our friendship is on a high note. Where it comes to our synergy it is always about discussion and research to find the best ideas to build our menus. We try to be always innovative and artistic in what we do. We share ideas and logistics on how we can be different from others. We try to balance our food through tastes and modern execution but still keeping that cutting– edge mode of décor to it.

How do you create the perfect marriage between taste and aesthetics in every new concept created? RM For me the most important thing in food is the taste, but having said that, the aesthetic still has a very important role, because it’s the first impression that really counts in food. So I stick to seasons and local produce to maximize the taste as much as possible and always inspire myself to create something new and what the guest wants to create a memory. BS The key is planning and research. Every concept or dessert that I do I try to have a good blend and composition to it. First I draw the idea, think of the flavours that might go into this new recipe. Then after that I will do experiments to see the right balance together with a good sense of taste. I will produce a recipe to what I agree on and then I will execute the final product with a good detail to it to always have that WOW FACTOR. What makes your products stand out of the crowd? RM We always try to keep focused and competitive in whatever we do. This we do it by research, studies and creating new trends and styles. We always buy top quality ingredients and when doing menus we keep in mind the seasonality of the product to use them at their best. Villa Arrigo’s commitment to quality and innovation is guaranteed through the owner Mrs Veronica Zammit Tabona’s personal attention and dedication, which keeps us focused and motivated on daily basis. This keeps the company always moving forward and stays one of the leading destination for boutique events. BS We do care about our products and it distinguishes differently through our extra effort and discipline that we show through it. We always try to be exquisite and innovative with good quality ingredients and passion towards what we produce.

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INGREDIENTS: Avocado and mango salsa 100g Avocado 1 /2 tsp Chipotle chilli pepper, ground 150g Mango 2 Red onion 200g Tomato Wash, clean and chop all ingredients in small cubes and mix all together. Season and set aside. Bread & baked goods 6 small soft Tortillas

RYAN MARMARA'

Sweet spiced

salmon tacos with avocado and mango salsa

Condiments for the salmon and cooking method 2 tbsp Lime juice 3 tsp Maple syrup, pure Sweet paprika Sumac 1 Black pepper 1 Kosher salt 1 /2 tsp Paprika 1 tsp Cumin, ground 1 side Salmon

METHOD:  Mix everything together and pour over the salmon and let it marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.  Heat up a non stick pan, pour a little oil and seal off the salmon until nice and golden brown from each side for about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then, put in the oven at 180 degrees for 8 minutes or to liking.

TO SERVE:  Get the tortilla soft taco, heat it up slightly on both sides on a flat top of grill, place the side salmon and pour the avocado and mango salsa on top. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side.

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Black Sesame Cake with Yuzu Parfait, Mandarin Cremeux, Orange Blossom & Mandarin Gel

Black Sesame Cake 90ml egg whites 110g sugar 43g almond flour 65g melted butter 85g flour 40g black sesame paste Whip the whites together with the sugar for a cold meringue. Combine together the almond flour and the flour to avoid lumps. Melt the butter until all is melted. When you have a steady peak fold in the dry ingredients 106 September 2017

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and then the butter and black sesame paste. Gently fold the mix very delicate. Mandarin Cream 100g mandarin purée 40g sugar 80g whole eggs 60g butter 1 gelatine leave In a pot put the purée and sugar. Melt the ingredients and when it is going to boil temper the eggs and pour into the

mixture. Keep stiring and cook to 81°. When temperature is reached add the gelatine and stir so it is completly melted. Leave to cool to a room temperature and add the butter. Blend with a hand blender until all the butter is incorporated. Fill the desire shapes. Mandarin & Orange Blossom Gel 100ml mandarin purée 18g sugar 30ml water 10ml orange blossom water 23g agar agar


In a pot put the water, purée, sugar and the orange blossom water. Leave them to melt and sprinkle the agar agar to avoid lumps. Mix it very well and leave it to boil until the agar make the reaction. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate. Blend in a blender to obtain a good shiny consistency and pipeable. Yuzu Parfait 4 egg yolks 50g glucose 125g sugar 750g cream 35% 250ml yuzu purée 300g soft peak cream Whip the yolks. Meanwhile cook the sugar and glucose to 121 degrees celsius. When temperature is reached pour slowly the cooked sugar and leave it to cool before use. Mix the cream and yuzu together and pour into the cold pâte à bombe. Whip the other cream to soft peak and fold in the ingredients. Fill in the desired shapes and refrigerate or deep freezer Sesame Croquant 75g white sesame 50g butter 1tblspn orange juice 25g glucose 25g flour 75g icing sugar Combine the icing sugar and flour together. Melt the glucose and orange juice and combine the dry ingredients and at last the melted butter. Roll dough and refrigerate. Cook to 165 degrees celcius until golden. Leave it to cool before use.

Espresso & Lime Parfait

Espresso Parfait 100g espresso 84g sugar 1 gelatin leaves 100g yolks 284g whipped cream 14g coffee extract 1 lime zest Soak gelatine in ice water. Cook sugar and espresso to 118 degrees celcius then stir the gelatin to dissolve. Pour mixture into the yolks and whisk slowly until fluffy. Fold the whipped cream, lime zest and the coffee extract. Pour into dome shape and transfer to the freezer. Coffee Gelée 112g sugar 336g hot coffee 336g Pedro Ximenez 10 gelatine leaves Soak gelatin in ice water. Squeeze the excess water and set aside. Combine sugar and coffee add the gelatin and stir in the kahlua. Pour into shallow pan and refrigerate. When set cut into cubes.

with Pedro Ximenez Gelée, 70 % Chocolate Soup & Raspberry Meringue Chocolate Soup 100g whole milk 54g heavy cream 14g sugar 26g 70% chocolate Bring milk and cream to boil in a small pot. Pour onto chocolate and process with hand blender until smooth. Store in refrigerator. Warm the soup before serving. Raspberry Meringues 125ml water 15g egg white powder 250g icing sugar 5g raspberry flavour Mix everything together until it becomes a stiff meringue. Pipe in dot shape and put it into dehydrator to dry overnight. When ready use it as a garnish.

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Wines for

n m u t u A By:

Reno Spiteri,

BBA (Mngt)., Dip.M., ACWP. CCTP., Certified Wine Professional Certified Culinary Travel Professional Professional Member of the Society of Wine Educators (USA)

T 108 September 2017

he Maltese autumn is quite different from that of the rest of Europe, as the summer weather in most of the time continues well up to the end of October, with a warmer spell experienced nearly every year in November in what is called the summer of St. Martin. Temperatures would still be warm up to 28 deg. Celcius, although evenings might be a bit cooler. As happens usually, August might bring with it that sudden rainy day, which would stop a good number of people from going to the beach for the rest of

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the season, others would venture on regardless, enjoying beaches with less people crowding their space. September brings another aspect in most people’s lives with the start of the scholastic year on the doorstep; the barbeque set neatly stored for next year; restaurants start changing their menus to reflect seasonal produce and a possible change from fish, shellfish and seafood to meats, poultry and game. But as said earlier temperatures might still remain high even up to the end of November with a gradual or sudden cooling off in December.


So what would be ideal wines to enjoy in Autumn in the Maltese Islands? Preferred summer wines invariably would be concentrated on selections of white wine and rosés. Like everything else in the summer, wine drinking is easy, as these two varietal wines can be paired with the freshest of sea produce so popular and abundant during the summer months in Malta and Gozo.

When one talks about white wine, numerous grape varieties as well as wine styles come to mind, and if one is thinking about the three largest wine producing and exporting countries in the world, that is France, Italy and Spain, choices of white wine varietals available are mind boggling. Wine choices from New World countries which are also huge exporters, normally fall around the international grape varieties, which would have historically originated in the three Old World countries as already mentioned. Rosé wine is also sought by a large number of diners especially young people, who drink this wine genre with food or as a social drink. Rosé wine is actually no longer seasonal. Rosé is for all year long, whether one is drinking it with meals at home or in a restaurant. The point here is to choose a good, full-bodied rosé, which is a bit different from the light rosés that some might opt in summer.

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True enough, autumn might bring with it a bit of a dilemma in adequate wine choices in the warmer climatic conditions of the Mediterranean basin, but this should not be so. Autumn is the season, in which we have to select a heavier bodied white with an alcoholic content in excess of 12.5 per cent ABV, as well as a good rosé with the same alcoholic proportions. For red wines we should start with lighter to medium bodied wines. Naturally one has to keep in mind the food that he is going to drink the wines of choice with. So which wines would be my choice for Autumn? With reference to white wine, my selections would be without a doubt on three varietals: A 2016 Monopole produced from 100 per cent Viura grapes in La Rioja Alavesa. It is of a pale yellow colour with greenish tonality. Its aromas are of apples, pears, and white currants, accompanied by white spring flowers. In the mouth it is an attractive wine, smooth and fresh, with a long finish. This is an elegant wine, that can be paired with fish, seafood, cheeses, and oriental cuisine. A 2016 Viña Real Barrel Fermented Blanco – It is of a soft pale yellow colour with green gold reminiscences. It has elegant, attractive aromatic intensity with fruits like pineapple, apple and banana that are present and in perfect balance with the aromas of coconut, vanilla and nuts from the oak. In the mouth it leaves a sweet aftertaste that invites us to continue drinking. It is ideal for white meat, foie gras, fish, salads, pasta, Chinese and Oriental cuisine.

A top class Sancerre or Bordeaux Blanc with its smoky mushroomy notes that balances the ripe Sauvignon Blanc fruitiness. One can opt for a good Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with its wild grass aromas, and is zippy, citrusy and crispy in the mouth. My favourite old wine Chablis - Chablis is one of my favourite regions in the world for white wine. Such a white is made from vines that are an average of 35-years-old and the flavours are pretty rich and flavourful. You get notes of apples, pears, Parmesan, and mushrooms. Have it with a good mushroom dish and definitely with cheese, white meats and poultry. A Sardinian Vermentino with flavours of lemon and nectarines with mineral notes. There are also selections of Italian white varietals, medium to full bodied such as premium Greco di Tufo, Vernacchia di San Giminiano, Falanghina. These wines are ideal with antipasti, salads, white meats, seasonal fish or just drinking.


RENO SPITERI If I am selecting a rosĂŠ then this has to be a full-bodied Rosado with at least an alcoholic content of 13 per cent ABV. In this case there is nothing better than a: 2016 ViĂąa Real Rosado produced from 85% Viura and 15% Tempranillo vintage grapes from La Rioja. This wine is petal pale pink colour with grey touches. Nose elegance is given by the softness of floral aromas balanced by aromas of fruit such as apricot and peach. The wine is soft and light on the palate leaving a balance of flavours that ends with a long fresh and fruity aftertaste. It is a perfect wine to drink all year round, with or without accompaniment.

For red wine, light to medium bodied wine of which there is quite a good selection to choose from: A Cune Crianza is an excellent wine which would have been aged in oak for just one year and another year in the bottle to smooth the tannins. Grapes for this wine is harvested in the last week of September each year. The wine has an elegant brilliant cherry red colour, and is renowned for its black fruit aromas with subtle hints of oaky toast and spices on the palate.

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A Viña Real Crianza Rioja : produced from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuela grapes. This wine shows shades of medium to deep shiny cherry colour. Intense aromas of ripe fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants) stand out, complemented with subtle hints of oak, vanilla and spices. On the palate, it is structured and round with a good integration of fruit and oak. The aftertaste is marked by very well balanced tannins as well as by persistent spicy, toasty and balsamic aromas. A La Rioja Imperial Reserva- produced from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, harvested from 35 year old vines in premium years. It is of a deep cherry colour with shades of shiny red. On the nose it has aromas of berries and liquorice balanced by hints of clove, rosemary, thyme and tobacco leaves coming from the oak cask ageing. On the palate, it shows its elegance thanks to a gentle tannin providing roundness and freshness. The wine lingers for a long time on the palate, with an interestingly complex aftertaste. From Piedmonte I would go for a top class Barolo or Barbaresco, produced from 100% Nebbiolo grapes creating a red rose bright colour, with lingering white pepper, black cherry, and tamarind flavour. These wines are complex and great with a range of foods from pastas to red meats. They are also excellent for the truffle season with pasta, a splendid fillet Rossini with

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truffle shavings and foie gras. A top notch Barbera D’Alba would also be good. From Tuscany I would opt for a Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or a top of the range Chianti Classico from Antinori. From France one can go for various affordable AOC or Bordeaux Supérieur wines ranging from excellent Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon blends to mono-varietal Malbecs. One can also find a good Bordeaux Supérieur that is smooth and fruity to be enjoyed in Autumn, with good red meat like beef steaks and lamb. Burgundy Pinot Noirs are a bit problematic to choose the best, but if one knows what he is on about, Pinot Noir is a fantastic light bodied wine for autumn. Never buy a commercially priced Pinot Noir,a s there is a good chance that you will be disappointed. A Pinot Noir from Alto Adige in Italy or from New Zealand South Island would be a good bet.

Conclusion:

The world of wine is a vast subject to cover with so many good wine producing countries, with so many winegrape varieties and the thousands of wine producers all over the world, all vying for a slice of the market and niche clientele. Wine selections can be a veritable maze but with a bit of preparation on what you wish to buy and also keeping in mind that to get good wine, one must be ready to pay for it, then you can enjoy our favourite beverage throughout every season. Cheers.


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Delicious - September 2017  

Delicious is a quarterly magazine which looks at the latest culinary trends and developments on the local and international plane from the e...

Delicious - September 2017  

Delicious is a quarterly magazine which looks at the latest culinary trends and developments on the local and international plane from the e...

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