The Philippine Star - - LIFESTYLE - MIL­LIE & KARLA REYES

MIL­LIE: Many din­ing places these days have been invit­ing to wine-pair­ing evenings mainly to in­tro­duce new wines to the Philip­pine mar­ket, which is fast be­com­ing a wine con­nois­seur’s par­adise.

Re­cently, we were in­vited to a very spe­cial dinner pre­pared by fea­tured guest chef Musaro Rocco Roberto and chef Jessie Sin­cioco.

Chef Musaro, whom Jessie fondly calls Roberto, works ex­clu­sively at Orig­ano Os­te­ria, owned by the win­ery Men­hir Sa­lento in Min­ervino di Lecce, Italy.

Vini Men­hir Sa­lento was founded by Gae­tano Marangelli in 2005 and is lo­cated in the south­ern part of the Puglia re­gion in Italy.

In 2011, com­bin­ing hos­pi­tal­ity and con­tem­po­rary cui­sine, the com­pany opened Orig­ano Os­te­ria & Store.

Ac­cord­ing to chef Jessie, one of the fea­tured wines, the Numero Zero Ne­groa­maro IGP from Men­hir Sa­lento, was the only wine that His Ho­li­ness Pope Fran­cis en­joyed dur­ing his pa­pal visit to the Philip­pines in 2015. This par­tic­u­lar choice and all the Men­hir Sa­lento wines in­tro­duced that evening by Iphor, the exclusive dis­trib­u­tor of Men­hir Sa­lento wines, will be avail­able at chef Jessie’s for the whole month of June.

KARLA: For dinner, we started off with an ap­pe­tizer by chef Robert, squid in tomato coulis with pow­dered ca­pers and seaweed. It was paired with the Ne­groa­maro Rosato “Nove­menti” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento.

The next course from chef Roberto was a pasta dish with tu­bet­tino pasta, fa­gi­oli beans, mus­sels, shrimp and pecorino cheese.

Tu­bet­tino are small, short tubu­lar pasta that re­mind me of mac­a­roni. This was paired with a ve­gan wine, Fiano “Pass-o” Bio IGP Puglia Men­hir Sa­lento.

This was fol­lowed by an­other dish by chef Roberto, a sea-bass fil­let in Mediter­ranean soup, which I en­joyed. Chilean sea bass is one of my fa­vorite fish. It is a white fish with large flakes that are al­ways very soft, moist, al­most but­tery. It is al­ready fla­vor­ful on its own so I pre­fer it pre­pared with just salt, pep­per, tossed in flour and pan-fried un­til golden brown. The only thing about this is that it’s quite ex­pen­sive. A few years ago sea bass was de­clared an en­dan­gered species but re­cently got back into the mar­ket as they were able to breed more of the kind.

Chef Roberto’s sea bass was paired with the Ne­groa­maro “N.0” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento, though I per­son­ally pre­ferred it with the Fiano “Pass-o” Bio IGP Puglia Men­hir Sa­lento of the pre­vi­ous course.

MIL­LIE: I’m a tra­di­tion­al­ist and I quite agree with Karla. I was en­joy­ing the white wine — it was light and not acidic and I was sur­prised to learn there is such a thing as a ve­gan wine, so I had a re­fill and drank it with my sea bass. It was perfect. Half­way through my sea bass, I tried the “N. O” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento and was also quite pleased with the pair­ing.

To wash our palates, we were served a re­fresh­ing da­lan­dan mint sor­bet be­fore pro­ceed­ing to the next course. This time, we were served grilled US Black An­gus filet mignon with morel mush­room sauce and chef Jessie’s sig­na­ture wild and brown rice risotto, ac­cented with steamed fresh green as­para­gus spears. The dish was paired with the Prim­i­tivo “Quota 29” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento. Although it paired well, I pre­ferred the ”N. O” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento with my filet mignon.

The much-awaited meal en­der was, of course, the dessert, which is chef Jessie’s forte and she awed us with a mango panna cotta topped with mango slices shaped like a rose and en­cased in a filo pas­try shaped cup driz­zled with caramelize­d sugar. Dessert was served with Aleatico “D’Ale­sio” Pas­sito IGP Puglia Men­hir Sa­lento, which was a sweet dessert wine.

Since Karla was driv­ing that evening, she couldn’t drink as much and I did feel sorry for her, know­ing how much she en­joys these tast­ing din­ners. Her face lit up like the north­ern lights when she was handed a to­ken bot­tle of “N.O” IGP Sa­lento Men­hir Sa­lento to take home.

*** Chef Jessie Sin­cioco has two res­tau­rants: Chef Jessie at the ground floor, Rock­well Club, Amor­solo Drive, Rock­well Cen­ter, Makati and Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie on the 34th floor, Citibank Tower, Valero Streeet, Makati.

*** Send email to mil­liereyes.food­forthought@gmail.com and quichethe­cook.ph@gmail.com.

Find us on Face­book: Food for Thought by Mil­lie & Karla Reyes.

Culi­nary pair­ing: Chefs Jessie Sin­cioco and Musaro Rocco Roberto from Italy

Grilled US Black An­gus filet mignon in morel sauce served with wild and brown rice veg­etable risotto on the side and as­para­gus spears by chef Jessie Sin­cioco

Cala­maro, Coulis di Po­modoro, Pol­vere di Cap­peri e Al­ghe or squid in tomato coulis with pow­dered ca­pers and seaweed by chef Musaro Rocco Roberto

Fea­tured wines from Vini Men­hir Sa­lento from the Puglia re­gion of Italy

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