I left you waiting for a few days after the article about my wonderful stay at the Hotel Monte Mulini. I wanted to dedicate an entire article to the food, just the necessary space for this unique culinary experience.
My stay in Rovigno ended in the best of ways: in the modern cellar of the restaurant of the hotel, the illustrious and exclusive Wine Vault!
The canteen has a rich assortment of wine, with over 400 labels from all over the world, all well presented by the Sommelier Filip Savic, that was my guide during the dinner which was accompanied by 10 glasses of wine.
When I walk in, I’m welcomed by a lovely staff that offers me a tasting of oils and wines from the Croatian land and a friendly and outgoing English man comes over to greet me too. It’s Andrew Gaskin, Cluster Executive Chef, all the way from London!
This mix of French cuisine created by an English chef and accompanied by local wine is very intriguing! 🙂
The Chef is pure energy and enthusiasm, and walks me through the “secrets” of the restaurant, all the way to a room where a large table and a drape simulate a stage. Andrew lifts the curtain and the show begins! In front of me there a number of cooks all busy at work; I’m at the so called “Chef Table”, with the opportunity of dining in front of private a show cooking, where I can discover what happens behind the scenes of a great kitchen! Unfortunately the performance has already been reserved for 5 people today. Or I would never have left!
I walk through the kitchen to the vault, where they keep the precious French champagnes and bottles from all over the world (my photographers kindly asks to be locked in there for some time) 🙂
There’s a special team in the kitchen, all very young, in fact the Executive Chef of the Restaurant, Teo Ivanišević, is only 25: he’s one of the youngest Croatian chefs to work in such an excellent restaurant!
It’s finally time to sit down for our meal, there’s a sunset and seagulls are flying and skidding on the edge of the water.
The location is lovely, I feel incredible lucky to be here, cuddled by the perfumes of the sea and a pleasant breeze.
At the start of the dinner, a small glass is served and they explain it’s a “potion” to clean my palate and stimulate my appetite: a gel of honey and flowers with ginger, green tea, fennel and mint … cheers! The dinner begins!
The dinner starts with French scents – a delicious foie gras with fig marmalade, followed by a raw fish Carpaccio, with dried orange and a apple, ginger and lemon foam. A perfect dish for warm summer evenings!
The bred is set out in baskets, with a rich selection and service includes a waitress that keeps suggesting a selection of warm and crunchy bread during the dinner.
The wine is selection of wonderful Croatian labels, from the 2014 Rosè Cuvèe from Krauthaker, a blend of Chardonay and Malvasia from Dobra Vac, the Plavac Murvica by Bakovic with an explosive tannic flavour, and a 2011 Merlot Boutique from Korlat at the end of the dinner.
But getting back to my dinner… I’m now served a soup that has the most wonderful sea scents, with just three fish but incredibly good: scampi, spider crab and monkfish, with a cognac foam (to recall French cuisine).
As I often say “simple things are often the nicest!”
And this is how my special dinner continues:
It’s dessert time and I definitely need to reserve a compliment for the Pastry Chef Kristina Jehnić, a young girl with golden hands, because I can assure you that the dessert was extraordinary: a ball of white chocolate, with fresh raspberries and a gold leaf. The display was planned so that when you poured melted chocolate on top the ball of white chocolate would melt revealing an inside with milk chocolate mousse and fresh strawberries.
But that’s not all … the ingredient that gave it an extra twist was a cardamom cream that made a blend of unique tastes!What else to say but that the dinner was a revelation! Mediterranean ingredients mixed with French cuisine and Andrew’s experience brought us incredible recipes!
Photo Andrea Zangrando