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Creative food, wine and olive oil pairing marathon in restaurant “Kantina” Pula

by Gogo on October 22, 2010

in Restaurants

Just few passes from the Pula Farmers’ Market you can find restaurant “Kantina”, place that managed to wake up sleepy enogastronomic scene in the center of Pula. The owners did not stop at sole offer of food&wine. About a year ago they organized few ambitious evening with the goal of promoting pairing of food with wines and olive oils. One of this events I will describe in the first part of the text. At the end, few photos from last summer when Doris (Kantina’s main chef) and I passed a pleasant afternoon in tasting Kumparička unpasteurized goat cheeses and cuttlefish prepared in her own way.

Odmah pokraj pulske tržnice nalazi se restoran “Kantina”, mjesto koje je uspjelo probuditi uspavanu enogastronomsku scenu u centru Pule. Vlasnici se nisu zaustavili samo na ponudi jela i pića. Tako su prije otprilike godinu dana priredili niz ambicioznih večeri s ciljem širenja kulture sljubljivanja jela s vinima i maslinovim uljima. O jednom takvog događaju u prvom dijelu teksta. Na kraju par fotki od ovog ljeta kada smo Doris, glavna i odgovorna u kuhinji, proveli ugodno poslijepodne u degustaciji Kumparička nepasteriziranih kozjih sireva i sipi pripremljenom na njen način.

Figuratively speaking, pairing is succesful when 2+2 is not 4, but 5 or more. It establishes a synergy between different ingredients on the table, in this case food, wine and oil, so that even if they fight in our mouth there are no winners and losers, but their qualities become highlighted by properties of other ingredient.

Slikovito rečeno, uspješno sljubljivanje služi tome da pokaže da 2+2 nisu 4, već 5 ili više. Ono uspostavlja sinergiju između različitih aktera stola, u ovom slučaju jela, vina i ulja, tako da istovremeno svi oni izađu iz bitke kao pobjednici, oplemenjeni svojstvima onog drugoga. Ipak sljubljivanje nije bauk kao matematika, jer njegove osnove primjenjuju od davnina i naši stari koji instiktivno znaju da će uz masne domaće kobasice poslužiti teran a uz laganu ribu na žaru malvaziju.

Chiavalon mlado ulje i Trapan malvazija

The stars were Bruno Trapan’s wines, Sandi Chiavalon’s extra-virgin olive oils and dishes prepared by Doris Otočan, main chef of restaurant Kantina. Each dish was paired with a different wine. Nice thing was that sommelier Sandi Paris revealed in a didactic and interesting way their characteristics, while Bruno Trapan told us about the winemaking process. Sandi Chiavalon brought his five days old olive oils from Leccino and Bianchera cultivars that he called «olive juices» due to their fantastic aromas and power.

Te večeri u Kantini zvijezde su bila Trapanova vina, Chiavalonova maslinova ulja i jela Doris Otočan. Uz svako jelo služilo se drugo vino čija svojstva nam je na edukativan i zanimljiv način razotkrivao sommelier Sandi Paris, uz asistenciju Brune Trapana koji je objasnio specifičnosti proizvodnje svakog od njih. Sandi Chiavalon potrudio se donijeti tek pet dana stara ulja od leccina i od istarske bjelice, za koje veli da bi ih u ovom stadiju bilo bolje zvati sokom od maslina zbog svoje fantastične aromatičnosti i snage.

Džem od grožđa sa crnom čokoladom

The appetitizer was Grape jam with dark chocolate, paired with 2008 Trapan «Ponente» Malvasia. Green grass, white flowers and mineral aromas succesfully refreshed sweet scents of cloves and caramel in the jam. The mouth was less equilibrated since the wine was dry, thus it was not able to follow even discrete presence of sugar in the jam.

Za aperitiv dočekao nas je Džem od grožđa sa crnom čokoladom. Uz njega se služila 2008 Trapanova malvazija «Ponente» koja je svojim travnatim, cvjetnim i svježim mineralnim mirisima uspješno osvježila teže note klinčića i karamela koje su bile prisutne u džemu. U ustima, situacija je bila nešto neuravnoteženija jer malvazija zbog svoje suhoće nije mogla pratiti čak i diskretnu prisutnost šečera u džemu.

In food and wine pairing there is a rule that sweet dishes (those containing sugar) should be paired with sweet wines. The reason behind it is the physiology of our taste. Did you ever notice that a dry wine, perfect when consumed alone or with salty dishes, becomes unpleasantly acidic when you take a sip after some dessert? Conclusion – the dish spoiled taste of the wine by ruining balance between sugar and acidity. De gustibus non disputandum est, so some people love drinking dry wine with dessert claiming that it washes out excessive sweetness in the mouth, but this practice obviously discriminates the wine. Nevertheless, thanks to the Sur Lie aging this Malvasia did not “bite”; instead, it was round in the mouth (rich in polyalcohols/glycerol) so the disbalance between jam and wine did not bother us too much.

U sljubljivanju postoji pravilo da se slatka jela uvijek sljubljuju sa slatkim vinima, a razlog njegovog postojanja je čisto fiziološke prirode. Jeste li ikada osjetili da vam suho vino, korektno kad ga pijete samo ili sa slanim jelima, postaje neugodno kiselo kad ga probate nakon kolača? Znači, jelo je promijenilo na lošije okus vina tako da je poremetilo ravnotežu između šečera i kiselina. Sto ljudi, sto ćudi pa će netko reći da mu se sviđa piti suho vino sa desertom jer na taj način spere pretjeranu slatkoću u ustima. Jedini problem je da u tom slučaju diskriminirate vino. Zahvaljujući «sur lie» tehnici izrade ovog vina, vino nije «grizlo» nego je u ustima bilo mekano (prisustvo glicerola), pa neravnoteža između džema i malvazije nije pretjerano smetala. Dapače, konačni rezultat ispao je vrlo zanimljiv.

Bundeva sa paštetom od slanih sardona i cikorijom

As first starter we got Baked pumpkin with anchovies paté and green chicory soaked in five days old oil from Bianchera olives. We still drink Malvasia «Ponente» whose grassy aromas are very similar to aromas of chicory and olive oil. In the mouth the dish provokes, sweetness of pumpkin fights with bitterness of the oil and chicory, while paté perfectly bind the ingredients together and further enhance all the flavors.

Kao prvo predjelo poslužena je zapečena Bundeva sa paštetom od slanih sardona i cikorijom u pet dana starom ulju od bjelice. Pijemo i dalje malvaziju «Ponente» čiji su travnati mirisi vrlo slični mirisu cikorije i maslinovog ulja. U ustima jelo provocira, slatkoća bundeve bori se s gorčinom ulja i cikorije a pašteta od slanih sardona savršeno povežu sastojke u jednu cjelinu i dodatno pojača sve okuse.

The freshness of wine (acids) successfully contrasts sweetness of pumpkin and cleans mouth from the oil, while high level of alcohol dries it from saliva that comes after we taste paté rich in salt. After ten seconds we are surprised by peppery note in our throats coming from the oil. When young, the olive oil behaves like a clockwork bomb! This dish is very entertaining, a real roller coaster in flavors that was paired with the wine almost perfectly.

Svježina vina (kiseline) uspješno kontrastira slatkoću bundeve te očisti nepce od ulja, dok visok postotak alkohola «osuši» usta od pretjerane sline koja nam je potekla od slanih sardona. Nakon desetak sekundi iznenadi nas paprena nota u grlu (baš bijeli papar, ne paprika) od ulja. Dok je tako mlado, ulje se zbilja ponaša kao prava tempirana bomba! Sve u svemu, jako zabavno jelo, pravi okusni ringišpil koje se gotovo savršeno sljubilo s vinom.

Carpaccio od palamide sa pužem (morskim turbanom)

The second starter was Carpaccio of palamida (Atlantic bonito) with sea snail soaked in Bianchera olive oil. I was instantly seduced by dish presentation, our plates looked like a Miró painting. A small suggestion to the organizers – put more light on the table since it is such a pity not to properly see such a piece of art. The nose feels the sea on a day when big waves are breaking on sea rocks covered with some seaweed. For the first time I tried morski turban (a kind of sea snail) and it was a real discovery. This dish is simplicity at its best, a zen feeling.

Drugo predjelo, Carpaccio od palamide sa pužem (morskim turbanom) u ulju od bjelice, vas osvoji već svojim izgledom, gotovo da podsjeća na neku sliku Miròa. Predlažem vlasnicima Kantine da drugi put bolje osvijetle stolove jer je prava šteta ne vidjeti dobro takvo remek djelo. Miris jela ne treba posebno opisivati, to je miris mora kad valovi udaraju o škrape sa ponešto morske trave. Prvi put sam probao morskog turbana, i ostao oduševljen. Ovo jelo je čista jednostavnost, zen osjećaj.

The carpaccio was paired with 2008 Trapan “Levante” Chardonnay whose aromas turned us back from sea to land – white flowers, wet soil and pastry cream. Its freshness nicely contrasted sweetness of the fish and the snail. Compared to Malvasia, this Chardonnay had less pronounced body that did not overwhelm delicate flavors of the dish. Bianchera olive oil added aromas of apple and hay, so that the final result can be described as encounter of sea and land. It was surely the best pairing we had that evening.

2008 Trapan “Levante” Chardonnay koji se uz to jelo služio, mirisima nas je vratio na kopno – bijelo cvijeće, mokra zemlja, blaga nota kreme za krempite. Vino je sa svojom svježinom izvrsno kontrastiralo slatkastim okusima ribe i puža, a zbog svoje nešto slabije strukture od prethodne malvazije nije prekrilo njihove delikatne okuse. Ulje od bjelice dodalo je još kopnenih nota jelu (jabuka, sijeno) tako da se konačni rezultat najbolje može opisati kao susret mora i kopna. Definitivno najbolje sljubljivanje cijele večeri.

Palamide in umido u umaku od crne čokolade

Finally we arrived to the main course – Palamida (Atlantic bonito) in umido in dark chocolate sauce – paired with 2007 Trapan «Grego» Cabernet Sauvignon. Palamida is fish that requires careful preparation since its meat is low in fat so it tends to remain dry. Doris knew how to avoid this trap and prepared the biggest surprise of the evening. If we had not been aware what we were eating, we would never have guessed that the sauce was made of chocolate – it tasted more like chicken livers sautéed with a lot of onions – even Palamida didn’t taste like fish but like some delicious game meat. To make such creative and delicious dish from a neglected fish is a great skill that deserves all my respect. Who needs fancy Dorade, St. Pierre or Sea Bass when there is Palamida!

Evo nas konačno i do glavnog jela, Palamide in umido u umaku od crne čokolade koja se služila uz 2007 Trapan «Grego» Cabernet Sauvignon. Palamida je plava riba s kojom treba biti oprezan pri pripremanju jer zna ostati dosta suha. Doris je znala kako izbjeći tu zamku, i napravila najveće iznenađenje večeri. Da nismo znali što jedemo, nikad ne bi rekli da je umak napravljen od crne čokolade već od neke plemenite jetrice ispirjane na puno luka, a i sama riba se nije doimala riba već kao divljač. Napraviti od gotove prezrene ribe ovakvo kreativno i ukusno jelo zaslužuje svako poštovanje. Dolje orada, šan pjer i brancin, živjela palamida!

2007 Trapan "Shuluq" - Syrah

«Grego» was doing a great job. Its aromas of red flowers and cherry perfectly matched with cocoa in the dish, while its spiky acidity, that might bother you if you drink it alone, had the mission to contrast predominant sweet flavors of the dish (This is a great example how it is unfair to judge some wines if you taste them alone. We should not forget that we live on Mediterranean whose tradition says that the wine is a drink to be served with food.) Tannins in «Grego» are luckily soft, they only partially “dry” the mouth and do not diminish succulence of the dish. Finally, the body and persistence of the wine were strong enough to follow strong flavors of the dish. This pairing was the biggest surprise of the evening and a demonstration that red wine can pair nicely with fish.

«Grego» se uspješno nosio sa zadatkom. Njegovi mirisi crvenog cvijeća i višnje odlično su išli uz mirise kakaa, dok je njegova izrazita svježina koja bi ako se vino pije samo mogla čak i smetati, došla kao naručena da se suprotstavi slatkastim okusima koji su prevladavali u jelu (pravi primjer kako je nepravedno prema mnogim vinima degustirati ih same. Ne zaboravimo da živimo na Mediteranu čija je tradicija nalaže da vino doživljavamo prvenstveno pićem koje se služi uz jelo). Tanini su u «Gregu» srećom mekani, tako da tek djelomice osuše usta i vrlo neznatno umanjuju sočnost jela kojeg je Doris uspjela postići. S druge strane, struktura vina i njegovo trajanje u ustima bili su dovoljni da prate ovako snažno jelo bez poteškoća. Ova kombinacija jela i vina najveće je iznenađenje cijele večeri, i pljuska svim onima koji tvrde da se uz ribu služi samo bijelo vino.

Pečene dunje sa medom, uljem od bjelice i čokoladom

Dessert was light and exciting – Baked quinces with honey, bianchera olive oil and chocolate. A very simple creation that succeeded to put together, at first sight, two incompatible ingredients – olive oil and quinces. The oil was the key ingredient that drew out the dessert from dullness by introducing piquant notes that nicely contrasted sweetness of honey and chocolate. Maybe this dessert is not made for kids, but adults that still take their life as a game will surely enjoy it.

Za desert poslužene su Pečene dunje sa medom, uljem od bjelice i umakom od čokolade. Vrlo jednostavna kreacija koja je uspješno spojila dva naizgled nespojiva sastojka ove sezone, dunje i maslinovo ulje. No, upravo je ulje bilo taj ključni sastojak koji je desert izdigao iz tuposti, tako što je slatkoći suprotstavio pikantnost. Možda desert nije za djecu, ali za odrasle koji se vole igrati sigurno jest.

Zvijezde večeri - Doris, Sandi i Bruno

Bruno’s most important red wine – 2007 Trapan «Shuluq» Syrah – was served with this sweet delicacy. Wines gives us aromas of cherry jam, watermelon and plum compôte that match very well with sweet scents of quinces and honey. A big mess happens in the mouth when you taste this dry and tannic wine after such sweet and oily dessert. You get the impression that the wine is too acidic, although it is not when you taste it alone, while the tannins turn our mouth in sandpaper. Here I would recommend a sweet Muscat wine with high alcohol (min. 14.5%) and bright acidity. Later on, we managed to enjoy «Shuluq» in all its splendor by drinking it alone. I would recommend it with lamb under “peka” (bell-shaped oven), game meat goulasch and roasted duck.

Uz ovo zadnje jelo posluženo je Brunovo najozbiljnije crno vino, 2007 Trapan «Shuluq» – Syrah. Vino sa svojim izvrsnim mirisima džema od višnje, lubenice i kompota od šljive se iznimno dobro slaže sa slatkastim mirisom dunje i meda. Veliki problem nastaje u ustima kada se ovo suho vino sa puno tanina proba nakon izrazito slatkog deserta bogatog masnoćama. Stječe se dojam da je vino kiselo, iako to nije kada ga se pije samo, a njegovi tanini nam pretvaraju usta u brusni papir. Ovdje bi se izvrsno sljubio jedan slatki muškat veće gradacije alkohola (min. 14,5%) i izražene svježine. Ipak, u «Shuluqu» smo uspjeli pošteno uživati nakon deserta pijući ga samoga. Ja bih ga ipak rezervirao za janjetinu ispod peke, gulaš od divljači i pečenu patku.

That was a hell of an evening! Many thanks to the organizers and keep up the good work. At the end, as I promised some photos from this summer when we tasted various Kumparička unpasteurized goat cheeses with honey and homemade wild plum jam, few organic olive oil, after the oils apple shake to clean the mouth and finally Doris’ cuttlefish with summer veggies, potatoes and pesto of rucola.

To je bila luda večer! Puno hvala organizatorima i samo tako nastavite. Za kraj, obećane slike od ovog ljeta kad smo degustirali Kumparička nepasterizirane kozje sireve sa medom i domaćom marmeladom od armulina (divlja šljiva), nekoliko ekoloških maslinovih ulja, shake od jabuke da očistimo usta i na kraju sipu sa ljetnim povrćem, krumpirom i pestom od rokulje na način od Dorisin.

Kumparička goat cheese and melon served with wild plum jam

Fresh ricotta and honey

Apple smoothie cleans your mouth efficiently

Cuttlefish sauté with summer vegetables, cured ham and basilico sauce

Behind the scene in restaurant Kantina, Pula

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

doris cerin October 23, 2010 at 18:17

…caro amico…questo e’ il piu’ bel regalo hew mi potevi fare…i to dvaput…..lani i ovo sada….tnx…profi text….un abbraccio grande come l’universo che e’…….INFINITO…D.

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wineandfood4u October 26, 2010 at 10:32

sve odlično izgleda… vjerujem da su guštao… ovaj carpaccio od palamide sa pužem mi opasno privlači! 🙂 njamm

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