August 2005 Newsletter
Aug 29, 2005 07:44 PDT
2005 August Newsletter
Cuisine International is so excited about the upcoming fall season. Our
bookings have never been better, and for that, we thank you, our
faithful readers and clients. After many years of Tuscany and Provence
being the most popular destinations, we are now finding that you are
branching out and trying other locations as well. Spain, Portugal,
Greece, Morocco and Brazil have really taken an upswing in bookings.
You need to visit our website: www.cuisineinternational.com to see
what is exciting everyone so.
I am very sad to say that Enrico Franzese, our wonderful chef in Amalfi,
Italy has retired after 40 years in the restaurant business and working
with Cuisine International for 15 years. He is taking a much needed
holiday. We hope to convince him to continue his wonderful program
after a year of regrouping. We are offering a wonderful program in
Ravello – Mamma Agata – that I highly recommend. You can see details
for her one day and week long programs on our website. We will also be
offering Diane Seed’s program on the Amalfi Coast as well. Be sure to
see dates and prices listed on our website.
Diane Kochilas has just successfully completed her second year of
classes on the wild and beautiful island of Ikaria. She has also been
very busy with articles about to be published in Gourmet and Bon Appetit
along with other publications.
Many years ago I was invited to Bologna by Marcello and Raffaella Tori
to see their program there. I instantly fell in love with this
marvelous couple. Now they have increased their offerings and have
programs in Umbria, Emilia Romagna and the Marche with many more in the
wings. If you want to experience Italy in the countryside with locals
and this lovely couple, this is what you are looking for.
At the end of this month I have been invited to visit Skane in Sweden to
see what the cuisine there has to offer. I am very excited as this is
the birthplace of my Mom’s family and I have never had the opportunity
to visit. I look forward to sharing with all of you what I find and we
will then offer a culinary holiday to that region in 2006.
For years Spain has been in the shadows of France and Italy. That is
not the case any longer. This I was truly made aware of when I was
invited to Spain by the Osborne Family to visit their wineries and
sample their cuisine. I was overwhelmed with the quality and diversity
of this fabulous culinary offering. We will be exploring Spain to
discover the best possible culinary experiences available to you. We
have options now that are wonderful. December will find us back there
once more sampling all the cuisines and meeting with chefs. I think you
will be very happy with the results. Please return to our website after
the first of the year to see what we have discovered.
Rates among our top
restaurants in the world
We absolutely love and
would go back every time we could, well worth a journey
We would return if there
was time in our schedule, worth a detour
Okay, but we would not
make an effort to return
We would never return.
One of the finest restaurants I have ever enjoyed was in Madrid and I
would have to give it a 5+ thumbs up. The fact that I dined with the
members of the Osborne family in a private dining room increased the
pleasure even more.
Santi Santamaria is a self taught chef and has been working at his craft
for over 20 years. He and his wife, Angels, originally opened a
restaurant in 1981 outside of Barcelona in Sant Celoni called Can Fabes.
Here he earned his first Michelin star in 1988, his second star in 1990
and his third star in 1994.
Santi has been a tireless supporter and promoter of Catalan culture and
gastronomy and has won numerous awards for his efforts. In 2002 he was
elected President of Relais Gourmands – Relalis Chateaux International
and Vice president of Relais Chateaux.
He has now opened Sant Celoni Restaurante next to Hotel Hesperia in
Madrid where he was awarded his first Michelin Star in 2002, the first
to be awarded in Madrid. Here all ingredients are fresh and the menu is
the interpretation of the best of each of the different cultures of
Spain. It is a cuisine to be enjoyed with all the senses.
The restaurant was exquisitely decorated by Pascua Ortega and has a
warm, welcoming ambience with sky lights and glass walls overlooking an
atrium. Santi has kept the seating to 50 so there is space and a
feeling of intimacy to the diners.
For special occasions and smaller groups of from 6 to 20, dining is
offered in a private dining room. This special space is oriental in
feel with classic touches such as Baccarat Crystal, wine glasses by
Austrian designer George Riedel and silver and ebony cutlery for dessert
with a color scheme of white, purple, lavender and black.
Chef Oscar Valasco presides over the kitchen and Sommelier David Robledo
is a master with the wines.
For my fabulous dinner, we were presented with a printed menu and all
the luxury we could possibly ever have dreamed of. To start with a
fabulous array of appetizers were presented, including the most
delectable ham I have ever tasted – thin slices of Iberian Ham and local
cheeses. Among the many courses were poached quail eggs on top of diced
seasonal vegetables and caviar sauce, lobster in consommé with pumpkin
soufflé and rosemary, typically roasted Scorpion fish and a suckling
pork loin with cream of carrots and thyme. Each dish outrivaled the
other. A selection of six sorbets was served before the incredible
dessert arrived, a chocolate biscuit with peanuts, toffee and cream ice
cream. It is impossible to describe how delicious all of these were.
Sommelier David Robledo had paired the meal with wines from the Osborne
collection. These included Fino Quinta [D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry,
Montecillo 130 Aniversario G.R. Edicion Limitada ’94 [D.O. Riojo],
Oporto Osborne tawny 10 years old [Portugal] and Pedro Ximenez 1827
During my tour, I was fortunate enough to visit the Montecillo winery in
Rioja and meet the wine maker who presented us with bottles of the
Limited Edition wine. Dick and I shared it with special friends – our
children! I was also treated to a Port tasting. Little did I know
before what all this entailed – so many types of port at different ages.
It was phenomenal.
As an aside, if any of you have visited Spain and seen the large black
bull signs along the highways, they signify the Osborne Company. A
number of years ago, bill boards were banned along the roads. There was
such a public outcry about taking down the bulls because they were
deemed to be of historical value, the government allowed them to remain
provided they were painted to eliminate any sort of advertising. Of
course, the Spaniards all know what they signify.
Recipe of the Month
One of the stops I will be making in Skane is at Angavallen Gard
restaurant just outside Malmo for lunch to meet owner, Rolf-Axel
Nordstrom. Here I will be able to visit his famous herb garden and see
his farming methods. Here is a recipe that helped entice me to come,
compliments of Tunneberga Gastgifvaregard. I have tried to convert the
liquid measurements into US cups but have not made this yet, so you will
have to experiment.
Risotto of green asparagus, tomato and spinach with grilled white
asparagus and beetroot butter sauce.
Beetroot butter sauce:
½ cup white wine
½ cup whipping cream
1 medium beet, chopped and boiled
3 ounces butter
Chop the shallots, then add the wine and bring to a boild and reduce.
Add the cream and allow to simmer. Add the beet and whisk in the
1 cup Arborio rice
1½ cups water
½ cup white wine
15 green asparagus stalks, chopped, reserving the tips for garnish.
a few white asparagus stalks for decoration
2 tomatoes, chopped
Chop the shallots and fry in a little olive oil or butter. Lower the
heat, add the rice and stir thoroughly. Add the wine and water very
gradually, stirring all the time. In a frying pan, fry the chopped
asparagus, tomatoes and spinach in butter and add to the risotto after
approximately 10 minutes. When the risotto has a cream-like consistency
and the grains of rice are soft with a hard core, it is ready. Grill
the white asparagus stalks and the green asparagus tips and serve as a
Until the next newsletter, enjoy and happy traveling.