A River Tale and the Pastry Chef from NOBU

This is short film about the River Thames and some of the storys it tells. If we imagine we knew each story the river had to tell it truly would be a huge marvel of events. Here are but a few storie’s to touch on what else the Thames might know about life and History.

This short film features Regis Cursan the Executive Head Pastry Chef of Nobu London one of the worlds most successful restaurants in the world.

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The Magic of the Fall

Autumn is magic

In 1995 we made a song for a TV channel together with Jaqueline Nemorin and Toby Gad (see below 3 different versions)

It’s not japanese however it associates to the magic of the fall, the magic of NATURE.

There are three video versions below – the first is about the life on earth, nature and how amazing our planet is and then how man really is destroying everything with his short sightedness.

The second one is a TV clip were it featured our song.

The third one is a techno rave version.

Every so often there comes a man……

Sen no Rikyū (千利休?, 1522 – April 21, 1591, also known simply as Sen Rikyū), is considered the historical figure with the most profound influence on chanoyu, the Japanese “Way of Tea”, particularly the tradition of wabi-cha. He was also the first to emphasize several key aspects of the ceremony, including rustic simplicity, directness of approach and honesty of self. Originating from the Edo Period and the Muromachi Period, these aspects of the tea ceremony persist. Rikyū is known by many names; for convenience this article will refer to him as Rikyū throughout.

Every so often there comes a man that is able to see the universe in a totally unique way.

Who’s vision upsets the very foundations of the world as we know it.

Someone that longs to grasp the hidden design of the underlying principals of nature.

To look for the harmony in ones ideas and creation but not only in nature but in the world of man.

We all surely can think of many people who we could describe as living this through out History and in every department from Science to politicians to philosophers, painters religious figures, chefs, architects and ordinary people etc.

This being the basic force behind this kind of person, is on who searches for true meaning and relevance of ones own existence, for people who feel and think beyond the superficial and the appearance of things.

Naturally the ideas such a man would in essence reflect exactly that.

Looking to man’s ambitions are misleading the true creative seeker.

There is a need for true internal realness and realization being fully alive and radiating.

The longing for this authentic experience and realisation is making sense of ones life itself.

Nature is the balance in mans life holding answers on any subject imaginable of what we seek so deeply.

Nature on all levels hold a wealth that surpasses any human conception and only in the true balance do I feel is any meaning truly realised.

These kind of people who come along every so often are able to say: hang on a moment and redirect our delusions to perhaps, point at what is essential that – which makes us true human beings.

Pointing to humanity,  the perfect essence of anything divine and natural in man, is for some the only thing worth living for.

Anything other then exactly that is scratching on a surface.

It is due to such men and woman we have many light barers in this world throughout the history of man -that help us not to feel mad or bad for feeling, seeking and questioning.

From many angles they help us put relevance and security into the steps we take through the unknown.

Values make a hart, love gives us the vision and anything driven by this gives us meaning and purpose.

How can man exist without it?

How can we accept that modern achievement and goals giving us the right to walk over someone else?

What kind of strange values are acceptable in the name of getting were you want to be in life?

Survival of the strongest is indeed how it is in a jungle however I have seen that  in a jungle and when  in the face of danger even in animals will stand up and protect and defend there loved ones.

Animals dont kill to upset and hurt someone premeditated like humans do! They kill to eat and only take what they need and at one point they also will be eaten.

Morals and hart is not necessarily a religious reference however a humanistic one.

Ideas and creativity for me personally – can also have souls, spirit  and essence potentially transcending this illumination of humanity and brilliance – so much so that this is what I look for myself.

This is my holistic overview and I strive for this kind of concepts in anything that I design or would like my creations to reflect.

It is not easy as you have to really craft this and design it well, it may be more of a process of seeing the connection between things, an insight – recognising the profound design that nature offers to us to experience through becoming still and filled with humility. Your manifestation of it is only a limited point of view however this can significantly help others to feel and become closer to this perception and feeling.

Certain things in life do definitely help me to see things.

As in Japanese tea ceremony all the external ways you may observe and seeming very cultural and ritualistic perhaps even old teaches hugely profoundness as it was designed to help to cultivate peace and humanity through the art of drinking tea.

This is very closely also pointing to the phenomena of the magical relation of humility between man and nature very clearly resembled in the tea ceremony cup making process were man makes something from the element of earth then the glace becoming a force that can never be repeated in the same way and the most enigmatic part of manifestation of the collaboration between man and nature.

The most sophisticated thing I have ever sen is exactly this the relation between man and nature united though love harmony and humility.

That is surely worth striving for.

What a shame we destroy so much of life in our constant lust for profits never creating good designs.

We design in a way that we neglect many parts only making the design serve profit then causing things like pollution  However a very good designer will create a design that even thinks of those things making what ever design benefit everyone completely with out damaging.

for example:

“‘From Cardboard to Caviar’ is a pretty unusual fish farming project but it’s a textbook example of ‘Cradle to Cradle’. The project gets cardboard packaging waste from stores and restaurants, shreds it and sells it to stables as horse bedding. Once the horse bedding needs replaced, it is collected and feed to worms in a composting pit. When the worms are all fattened up, they are fed to the sturgeons who will produce caviar. Then, the caviar is then sold back to the restaurants where the cardboard was collected from.”

This is how nature works it is a recycling nature so why we do not design the same way?

As a chef we often just do what the industry does and coming out of that box immediately causes concerns to investors etc.

It is alway anticipated that a significant amount of pollution and damage as a byproduct of our business is acceptable as is hurting some people.

I dont believe either is necessary at all.

No matter what… to continuously stive to help the world in any way even if it seems impossible is definitely worth living for.

Hounsai Daisosho 15th generation grandmaster (Sen no Rikyū)
A native of New York, Milgrim first visited Japan in 1977 as a college student and traveled throughout the country, researching ceramics and Japanese culture. After receiving a degree in Fine Arts and Japanese Studies from Antioch College, Milgrim returned to Japan in 1979 on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and simultaneously began a dedicated study of both Japanese pottery and the Japanese tea ceremony. He entered an apprenticeship with Iwabuchi Shigeya, Master Potter in Kyoto while also studying at the headquarters of the Urasenke Tradition.
A tea house – designed for the art of drinking tea  peace on earth and becoming a better person. 

A japanese tea ceremony cup reflecting the perfect harmony between man and nature with great dignity and humility. This represents a collaboration between nature and man. The glace can never be anticipated of premeditated and just gazing  into this cup it reflects a kind of enigma. Specially when you are in japan in such a teahouse surrounded by a japanese garden and you hold this precious green tea and cup in your hands made by someone who dedicates his life to making the tea for people to experience profound  humanity sharing appreciation and humility. This proves that we can design everything much better and beneficial for life itself!

The fragrant smell from this artfully crafted green tea matcha and the effect on the spirit and mind this experience has  is extremely refined that probably poetry would be more suitable to describe such an event. However it is an example of how great a design can be when created with so much insight and consideration.
Suigetsu (Intoxicated by the Moon)
created by Sen no Rikyu

It is truly a cultural thing like this that contain something even bigger then culture itself and it will be a gift to those that are jet not born and in a world that is declining. Maybe we will all realise that greater designs may safe our world if not maybe these things in the japanese tea culture will at least be the memorie of what it once was and how to connect no matter what in the here in now? I hope we manage to take care of our world as those jet to come deserve to also enjoy it as we once did.

The characters wa kei sei jaku as written by Dr. Genshitsu Sen, fifteenth-generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition of Chanoyu.
The Philosophy of Chado
The underlying philosophy of Tea evolved from Zen Buddhism. Zen is the Japanese counterpart of the Chinese word chan, which is a translation of the Sanskrit word dhyana, meaning the meditation that leads to deep spiritual insight. Both Tea and Zen emphasize a way of training body and mind in awareness that has potential to become a rigorous spiritual discipline. Urasenke founder, Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) summarized the principles of the discipline of Tea into four concepts: wa, kei, sei, and jaku.

Wa Wa (harmony)
This word connotes a feeling of oneness with nature and people. At a tea gathering, harmony plays between host and guest, guest and guest, mood and season, the food served and the utensils used. Sensitivity to the changing rhythms of the seasons, and harmony with these changes are once source of ever deepening pleasure in the practice of Tea. The unpredictable nature of weather is an integral part of a tea gathering and is not to be shut out, ignored, or considered inconvenient. This harmony with nature quietly leads one to an understanding of the evanescence of all things and the unchanging in the changing.
Kei Kei (respect)
Respect results naturally from a feeling of gratitude. Respect is extended not only to the other people with whom one interacts but also to one’s daily life, and even to inanimate objects, such as utensils as a product of human effort or whatever has come into existence. The etiquette observed in the tearoom helps a student of Tea to learn to apply the principle of kei. To the uninitiated what may appear at first as excessively strict and formal is in actuality a means of incorporating, internalizing the spirit of respect. The hospitality of the host, the concern of the guests for each other and the host, and the careful handling of the utensils exemplify this respect.
Sei Sei (purity)
Cleanliness and orderliness, in both the physical and spiritual sense, are a very important part of the study of Tea. Rikyu must have learned the importance of simple acts of cleaning in his study of Zen. Even the most mundane acts—washing dishes or cleaning floors—are the seeds of enlightenment. In the words of a man of eighth-century China, “How wondrous this, how mysterious! I carry fuel, I draw water.” When the host cleans the tea utensils, he or she is simultaneously purifying heart and mind through total concentration on this task. The guests, before entering the tearoom, pass along a garden path and rinse their hands and wash out their mouths at the low stone water-basin, thereby purifying themselves of the “dust” of the everyday world outside the tearoom. Sei also implies simplification, that is, the elimination of all unnecessary elements. The appearance of the garden path and tearoom are examples of this kind of simplicity.
Jaku Jaku (tranquility)
It is often remarked in the practice of Tea that, although a person can work towards attaining the first three principles, the last cannot be attained by direct effort. However through a constant practice of harmony, respect and purity, a person whose heart inclines towards Tea is prepared to approach the utter stillness and silence of jaku. This tranquility is far from a dreamy psychological state. Instead it is the dynamic force of one’s innermost being that infuses the practice of Tea and gives significance to the tea gathering, similar to the words of one of Sen Rikyu’s predecessors, “be heart’s master, not heart mastered.”

The understanding of earthen ware, poetry, plates and vessels for kaiseki is something Westerners are not really used to unless they have had some direct experience or study of this unique appreciation.

This is imbedded deeply in the culture of japan. To understand this one has to really go to japan and learn about this and see how a certain japanese person or someone with same feelings in the hart holds a piece of ceramic and watch them how they see and experience this.

One needs to be in that environment and moment.

I find japanese culture really has showen me how to appreciate and take care in my work and in my life. I was working in Ryugin and some of the plates were 100ds of years old and there might only be a set of 4. We wash them all by hand taking care as if it were a real baby.

In a sequence of high kaiseki it is a wonderful experience when the chef presents his special plates that fit the moment and season. You eat and taste in a completely different way.

It is very humbling and precious and one is filled with great respect and humility as well as gratitude.

A feeling and understanding we really do not have at all in Western culture we almost never really see the plate as anything in particular as Japanese culture does.

These vessels for the tea ceremony hold illumination and enigma. They have a presence which is also the very thing which is the essence of keiseki.

Alone the complete hart and intention of the potter is incredible so there is a linage from nature, to maker to chef or tea master to customer that is so significant and transmitting the highest of humanity and nature in the here and now.

Chocolate is much more than just “Chocolate”

The ancient Mayan and Aztec people of Central America enjoyed a drink called ‘chocolatl’. It was made from roasted and ground up cocoa beans mixed with water and spices. Cocoa beans were so valuable that they were sometimes used as currency. In Central America, 10 beans could buy you a rabbit, while100 beans could buy you a slave.

Spanish explorers were the first to bring ‘chocolatl’ back from Central America to Europe in the early 1500s. Over the next 150 years, ‘chocolate’ became one of the most fashionable and expensive drinks, reaching England in the 1650s. By then it was discovered that adding sugar instead of the hotter spices and serving it hot made chocolate taste even better. Later, milk was added to improve it further. Chocolate houses were opened to serve the drink, still only affordable for the wealthy.

( 1502 – Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), the first European to taste cocoa in Nicaragua, on his fourth voyage to the New World, returned to Europe with the first cocoa beans. No one knew what to do with them and they were dismissed in favor of other trade goods.)

1519 – The voyage which led Hernan Cortes (1485-1547), Spanish conquistadores, to discover Mexico and the Aztec civilization began in 1517 when he set sail from Cuba with 11 ships and 600 men, all seeking fame and fortune in the ‘New World’. Landing on the Mexican coast near Veracruz, he decided to make his way to Tenochtitlan to see for himself the famed riches of Emperor Montezuma and the Aztec empire.

It was Montezuma (1466-1520), Emperor of Mexico, who introduced Hernam Cortes to his favourite drink ‘chocolatl’ served in a golden goblet. American historian William Hickling’sHistory of the Conquest of Mexico (1838) reports that Montezuma: “took no other beverage than the chocolatl, a potation of chocolate, flavored with vanilla and spices, and so prepared as to be reduced to a froth of the consistency of honey, which gradually dissolved in the mouth and was taken cold.”

The fact that Montezuma consumed his “chocolatl” in goblets before entering his harem led to the belief that it was an aphrodisiac. Cortes wrote a letter to Charles V of Spain calling chocolate “The divine drink which builds up resistance & fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food.” When Cortes returned to Spain in 1528 he loaded his galleons with cocoa beans and chocolate drink making equipment.

Spanish explorer Cortéz and his army met the Aztec Emperor Montezuma in 1519

Chocolate grows on trees, appearing in its raw state as melon-like pods  on the 40- to 60-foot tall trees known botanically as “Theobroma cacao,” which means “food of the gods.” This tropical tree has grown wild in Central America since prehistoric times. It also grows in South America, Africa, and parts of Indonesia. The cacao tree produces a fruit about the size of a small pineapple. Inside the fruit are the tree’s seeds, also known as cocoa beans.

1631 – In 1631, the first recipe for a chocolate drink was published in Spain by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, an Andalusian physician, in his book, Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate (A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate). This was the first work to deal exclusively with chocolate and cacao. Don Antonio is said to have lived for some time in the West Indies. Since he was a doctor, he pays a great deal of attention to the dietary aspects of chocolate and was concerned with the psychological as well as the physical effects of the drink. He says, “Chocolate is healthy. It makes the drinker ‘Fat, and Corpulent, faire and Aimiable’. It was an aphrodisiac. In women it caused fertility but eased delivery, etc., etc.” The ingredients in the recipe were:

“Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chillies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color. And there you have the king of chocolates.”

1643 – It didn’t take long for Spaniards to begin heating the mixture and sweetening it with sugar. Soon ‘chocolate’ became a fashionable drink enjoyed by the rich in Spain.

As the Spanish royalty intermarried with other European Royalty, cocoa was given as a dowry. In 1643, when the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa (1638-1683)was betrothed to Louis XIV (1638–1715) of France, she gave her fiancé an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an elegantly ornate chest. A royal chocolate maker was appointed and chocolate drinking became the rage.

There is a lot of much more detailed information about the Cacao bean history that is truly fascinating but I really want to explore the medicinal and touch on the hidden true flavours of the cacao and chocolate.

Chocolate definitely makes the world go around for me. The food I most phantasise about is definitely chocolate, I certainly can not imagine a life without it.

As a chef chocolate poses so much more potential investigations.

I initially always perceive a cacao bean as a fruit and note the different fruity tones in real good chocolate that often get lost in most chocolate productions.  By adding of to much fats and milks as well as vanilla, to much sugar and so on can be disguising the actual character of the character of the cacao apart from becoming also not as healthy due to huge amount of sugar etc. These heavier mixes of chocolate give me personally a feeling that separates the actual true flavour from my pallet with overpowering acidic sugar sweetness as a lingering taste that is somewhat unpleasant.

I like very much Damien Allsop’s concept of water ganaches or William Curley’s fruit ganaches and using very distinctive and carefully selected chocolate mixes that stay closer to the actual cacao character and tastes – in both these examples the chocolate can go deeper into your taste-buds therefor giving a cleaner and more elegant and refined experience.

That is just my feeling about chocolate.

True Magic Beans

I feel we have still so many opportunity’s to discover chocolate and it’s possibilities, this fiendish delight is indeed a magic ingredient as generally it is said that  Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.

Prolonged intake of flavanol-rich cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits, though it should be noted that this refers to raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes.

Studies have found short term benefits in LDL cholesterol levels from dark chocolate consumption.The addition of whole milk to milk chocolate reduces the overall cocoa content per ounce while increasing saturated fat levels, possibly negating some of cocoa’s heart-healthy potential benefits. Although one study has concluded that milk impairs the absorption of polyphenolic flavonoids, e.g. (-)epicatechin, a followup failed to find the effect.

Hollenberg and colleagues of Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocoa and flavanols on Panama’s Kuna people, who are heavy consumers of cocoa.

The researchers found that the Kuna Indians living on the islands had significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to those on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as on the islands. It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs. In particular, the benefits may extend to the brain and have important implications for learning and memory.

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In June 2009, Mars Botanicals, a division of Mars Inc., the candymaker and food company, launched Cirku, a cocoa extract high in flavanols.

A 15-year study of elderly men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality for the men regularly consuming the most cocoa, compared to those consuming the least cocoa from all sources.

These are some direct highlights 

  • Anadamide is called the bliss chemical.  This is an endorphin that is created during exercise.  It has been studied as a chocolate isolate in a lab.  Anandamide has been found so far in only one plant, the cacao tree.  The lipid found in anandamide helps release neurotransmitters that create a feeling of elation.
  • Cacao is claimed to be the number one source of magnesium of any common food.  Magnesium is a major mineral responsible for heart beat rhythm, strong bones and smooth muscle relaxation.
  • Cacao is a poor source of caffeine.  A sample of raw chocolate will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine – less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee.
  • Additional minerals found in the cacao bean include potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and chromium.
  • Lastly, cacao contains tryptophan, an essential tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is transformed into important stress-protective neurotransmitters including serotonin and melatonin.

The topic of the keynotes by Shawn Stevenson focus on the health benefits of cocoa in its most raw form. The professional nutritionist offers audiences an interesting and entertaining presentation on the history of cocoa and its unknown perks and advantages.

Stevenson’s expertise is in biochemistry and kinesiology. He received his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Missouri. Upon graduating, he founded his own company called the Advanced Integrative Health Alliance. There, he promotes ‘The Shawn Stevenson Model,’ which aims to improve the health and happiness of individuals by providing the most effective strategies.

The keynotes by Shawn Stevenson also reference his two books ‘The Key to Quantum Health’ and ‘The Fat Loss Code.’ He offers audiences valuable information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and fascinating stories on the food surrounding us.

The Hidden Benefits of Chocolate/ Health Keynote Offers Surprising Perks of Cacao

The topic of this health keynote by nutritionist Shawn Stevenson is chocolate. His speech reveals the hidden and unknown health benefits of chocolate in its purest form—cacao

Chocolate as Medicine

According to the article From Aphrodisiac to Health Food: A Cultural History of Chocolate, by Louis E. Grivetti:

From the 16th through early 19th century, numerous European travel accounts and medical texts documented the presumed merits and medicinal value of chocolate. . . Presented here is a brief “taste” of these rich chocolate-related passages from selected historical monographs. On inspection, these samples reveal that chocolate products were used to treat a myriad of human disorders:

Francisco Hernández (1577) wrote that pure cacao paste prepared as a beverage treated fever and liver disease. He also mentioned that toasted, ground cacao beans mixed with resin were effective against dysentery and that chocolate beverages were commonly prescribed to thin patients in order for them to gain “flesh.”

Agustin Farfan (1592) recorded that chili peppers, rhubarb, and vanilla were used by the Mexica as purgatives and that chocolate beverages served hot doubled as powerful laxatives.

José de Acosta (1604) wrote that chili was sometimes added to chocolate beverages and that eating chocolate paste was good for stomach disorders.

Santiago de Valverde Turices (1624) concluded that chocolate drunk in great quantities was beneficial for treatment of chest ailments, but if drunk in small quantities was a satisfactory medicine for stomach disorders.

Colmenero de Ledesma (1631) reported that cacao preserved consumers’ health, made them corpulent, improved their complexions, and made their dispositions more agreeable. He wrote that drinking chocolate incited love-making, led to conception in women, and facilitated delivery. He also claimed that chocolate aided digestion and cured tuberculosis.

Henry Stubbe (1662) wrote that consumers should drink chocolate beverages once or twice each day to relieve tiredness caused by strenuous business activities. He reported that ingesting cacao oil was an effective treatment for the Fire of St. Anthony (i.e., ergot poisoning). Stubbe also described chocolate-based concoctions mixed with Jamaica pepper used to treat menstrual disorders, and other chocolate preparations blended with vanilla to strengthen the heart and to promote digestion.

 

Natura by Albert Adria and Mateu Casañas El Bulli

Natura is one of the most beautiful and wonderful dessert books ever created inspiring chefs world wide.The book contains undoubtably the most extraordinary creations. A book that I love and cherish and will always admire and hold dear.

Natura is like many of food’s greatest wonders in that its catalyst stems from a mistake. A simple miscalculation of time while working with a proven dessert led Chef Albert Adria, of the famed elbulli restaurant, to embark on a two year project that spawned this amazing pastry work. He looks to the physical world for his inspiration while placing an emphasis on nature’s ability to achieve balance and perfection, even though in appearance this is not always the case. Chef Albert discusses his philosophy on differentiation in shapes of end products. He does not always work with exact shapes, yet recognizes the need to respect a plated dessert’s structure and proportion. The development of new techniques such as “microwave sponge cake” is another byproduct of Chef Adria’s free thinking pastry mind. This book will challenge your thoughts and offer you new creative avenues. It contains 49 full page color photos, with a separate CD containing the same 49 stunning photos and their respective recipes.

The world of Albert and Ferran Aria is always something that is unbelievably difficult to describe as to how much it moves, stimulate, inspires truly evoking and provoking deepest emotions and feelings as well as revolutionising my minde as a chef and an artist.

The book Natura has become a cult reference pastry book and every chef possesses it as a treasure amongst there book collections.

This book is not only a book that is important for chefs world wide but a perfect gift to anyone. The joy and sweetness of this book is irresistibly charming and meaningful showing us all to bring more then just food to a table.

Albert Adria, Ferran Adria’s younger brother, joined the kitchen of elBulli at 16, spending the first two years learning all the stations. He then decided to focus on pastry, and worked for other pastry chefs around Spain during elBulli’s winter breaks, to hone his craft. In 1997, after 12 years, he left elBulli behind but has remained involved in elBullitaller—literally, “the workshop”—where elBulli’s menu development takes place when the restaurant is closed several months each year. The chef is the author of Los Postres de elBulli (“desserts from elBulli”) andNatura, a groundbreaking pastry cookbook in which he creates desserts inspired by nature that take the form of landscapes. He also collaborated on the elBullicookbooks and on A Day at elBulli. Adria is also a budding filmmaker: he co-directed elBulli, historia de un sueño (“elBulli, story of a dream”), a documentary on the restaurant released in 2009. In 2006, Adria opened Inopia Classic Bar, a high-end tapas restaurant in Barcelona that was famous for the velvet rope behind which guests had to wait—as well as for its innovative, flavorful take on tapas, of course. Inopia closed in July 2010, but Adria opened a cocktail bar, 41º, in November and will open another restaurant in January. The Main Course met him after his presentation at the International Chefs Congress in New York in Fall 2010.

Two of the people who were assisting Albert  Adria on his book of NATURA  was Mateu Casana and Andres Conde two of the key Pastry figures of elbulli.

Mateu Casaña

Mateu Casañas born August 6, 1977 in Roses. Studied EGB, BUP and COU at Centre School Empordà Roses. 1996 In 1996 contact with the world of restoration in the restaurant If plau us of his home town, who runs his family. 1997-present In Summer first enters 1997 in elBulli for a testing period, thanks to the friendship between their parents and Juli and Ferran. During the winter of this year working on elBullicatering, located in the Barcelona Aquarium. In March 1998 as assistant enters the cold room of elBulli, and after two months is starting head of this section for the remainder of the season. The last three months of last year an internship at the restaurant Mas Pau Avinyonet of Puigventós (Girona). In January, February and March 1999, an intern with the Turia restaurant, under the direction of Rafa Clarassó. In elBulli has desarrrollado chief responsibilities starting of meat, fish, warm starters, entrees and preparation kitchen, plus second chef and purchasing manager. within this period goes through a stage at the Four Seasons, High Park Corner, London.

Representing the elBulli pastry (of which he is chief from 2003 to the present under the command of Albert and Ferran Adrià), received the award of Best of the gastronomy of 2005 at best pastry chef of the year.

Mateu Casañas has an increasable reputation as a teacher and person to work with.
Not only is his skill and imagination of the highest degree but more is even his humanity and ability to nurture others.
So much so that many exclaim there gratitude in such beautiful words and hart as below:
“The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.. My Chef Mateu Casañas has done this and more with me. He gave me so much that I must thank him for ever.
The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who is tough and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.” He is great in doing this …
I had achieve many goals in my time at ‘ EL Bulli ‘, no one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. My Success is that I have more knowledge then what I had before going in to ‘ EL BULLI ‘ with Mateu Casañas.”

Words by Najat Kaanache

This is exactly what many people feel after having worked with Mateu Casañas.
Sergio del Castillo Mora

Sergio del Castillo Mora also had the privilege to learn and study with this great pastry chef in 2008.

Without any doubt this was the most significant and important experiences for Sergio, sharing the very same feelings as Najat Kaanache who working in el bulli for 7 months.
Sergio was working with Mateus just after the great book “Natura” had been released. The techniques were all relating to the book showing new and very innovative ideas but more so were enigmas of imagination transcending the limitation of what pastry can actually comunicate.
From that point of having spent time with Mateu’s dessert training, Sergio’s path as a pastry chef took on a whole different meaning in his life propelling his journey to strive for new ideas, feelings and concepts for his own creations as a Pastry Head Chef London NOBU Berkeley ( Sergio has been pastry chef in Nobu since 2005.)
Below is Mateu Casañas and Andres Conde in 2008:

After the closing of El bulli in 2011, former head of elBulli cuisine  opened the restaurant in Cadaques  by the name of Compartirc which means “Sharing”  with  elBulliFoundation, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch

These professionals lived 15 years as active actors in this explosive el bulli concept of gastronomy  before launching their own business.

http://en.compartircadaques.com/

Albert Adria and Andrés Conde opened Tickets and 41 degrees in Barcelona with many more dreams and creations to pleasure us in the near future.

I dont really like to show to many pictures of Tickets as it should really be a surprise. I dont want to spoil it however there may be people that can not travel so I just show a few deserts so everyone who cant go can get a little sense how much fun and good TICKETS is. 41degree is also really fantastic and very different as a concept.

This dessert is a magical creation evoking fairy tale memory’s of little red riding hood in the forrest 

ACDC as a dessert was pure genius  one of my favourite rock band and singer ever. It comes with the full blast music evoking the rock god in you . It is hard not to get up and start rocking out with everyone in TICKETS.  Absolutely fantastic experience of the fact that food can have all the aspects of what man can feel: sadness, happiness  mystery, HUMOR, intellectual, art,  the dish can challenge you to debate, to cry so many things…. it is absolutely incredible and thanks to chefs like Albert and Ferran Adria that we can learn how to do this as they have taken everything – to always as far as they can – opening the doors for all possible imagination to ignite and inspire us.

The spirit of Galicia ( Albarino ) in the V&A part 2

I went to the V&A cafe after having walked around the museum to finally speak to Hugo about the story of his ancestors of wine makers,  and the important work his father has been doing for the Albarino since the 1980’s….

Bacchanal by Aimé-Jules Dalou (1897-1902). Signed and dated 1879. Painted plaster. Victoria & Albert Museum, London (no. 434-1896). The V&A chat label reads: “This skilfully composed relief is one of several versions showing the worshipers of Bacchus, the God of wine in classical mythology. Dalou made it in London, but returned to Paris later in the same year and reworked the composition in marble as a decoration for a fountain.”
This is the Mino River in Galicia. On the left is Portugal and on the Right is Galicia Spain.   Joaquin a childhood friend of  JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the Father of HUGO still practises the traditional way of fishing lamprey in the River .To this day this fish is still used and reinvented by many michelin chefs in Galicia.

The Albariño wine comes from the Albariño variety of white grapes cultivated traditionally in the south of Galicia and  north of Portugal. This variety is characterised by producing small bunches of rather small grapes similar to that of the Riesling.

The legend says that this variety was brought to Galicia  by Cistercians Monks in medieval times from the Rhine valley, that would explain the similarities to the Riesling grape variety. Over time this grape would have evolved differently due to the new Galician climate and soil becoming a variety of its own right. This is part of the folklore surrounding this mysterious variety hidden over the centuries on the remote Galician valleys.

It was presumably brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelfth century.  Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white [wine] from the Rhine and it has locally been thought to be a Riesling clone originating from the Alsace region of France, although earliest known records of Riesling as a grape variety date from the 15th, rather than the 12th, century. It is also theorized that the grape is a close relative of the French grape Petit Manseng.

Native galician cow grazing in the neighbourhood

The galician land is blessed with natural wonders. Nearby is Cape Finisterre, or “lands end”, the westernmost point in Spain, which was once considered the end of the world. One of the more impressive elements of this lush land is the rías, which are deep, wide inlets of water encroaching many miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean along the coast.

The southern group of these rías are known in Galician as the Rías Biaxas. To the delight of wine lovers, these rías are surrounded by fine vineyard land. Since the rías are such an important element in the wine region, Rías Baixas was also taken as the name for the region’s denomination of origin, which was awarded in 1988.

JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ the Father of HUGO was born by the river of Mino.  Here you see him selecting each vine uniquely only when they are ready instead of harvesting all at once, respecting and acknowledging the way nature works on a more individual schedule.

JOSÉ ANTONIO is one of the pioneers that was campaigning to secure the denomination of the ALBARINO in the 1980’s he worked in 2 wineries in Morgadio and was the soul behind LUSCO.

Lusco is the name of the second wine JOSÉ ANTONIO produced years ago with the Winery Lusco do Mino, Lusco is a Galician word for twilight.

Albariño was produced in the past in various unsure ways producing and inferior Albariño that is often cloudy and the common myth about this wine was that it does not store well.

More so it is important to cultivate a pure product to ensure the correct linage of the wine.

By ensuring the denomination JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ was insuring the future and the quality of this wine

The process of production and the importance of the denomination, the precise preservation of authentic grape cultivation all these elements produce a authentic Alberinio that is clear and can also store longer then one year.

Spain produces Albariño to a significant degree in the Rías Baixas DO, especially in the town of Cambados. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção and Melgaço. In other locations such as Ribeiro (DO), Lima, Braga or Valdeorras (DO) it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro,GodelloCaiñoArinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be “crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavors and rich, ripe fruit” and led to wines completely different from those produced across the river in Portugal.

Albariño is now produced in several California regions including the Santa Ynez Valley, Clarksburg, and Los Carneros AVAs.

In recent years Albariño attracted the attention of Australian winemakers, several of whom are now producing varietal wines. However, it has recently been discovered that grape growers and wine makers in Australia have been supplying and selling wrongly labelled Albarino for over a decade. They thought they were pouring money into the market for the Spanish grape, only to discover they were incorrectly sold cuttings of the French Savagningrape instead.

A French expert visiting Australia raised questions in 2008, and DNA testing confirmed that the grapes are in fact French Savagnin. Almost all wine in Australia labelled as Albarino is Savagnin.

JOSÉ ANTONIO main concern was the intangible heritage of old traditions passed on by Oral transmission from generation to generation throughout the ages.

This is a very important aspect for the future of any culture,  this particular subject needs careful consideration and preservation as it holds crucial natural wisdoms from times were man was much more intuitive living closely with nature attaining deep knowledge of the land and how to grow and cultivate things through generations of direct experience dating back hundreds of years. This is often the key to finding clues about evolution and new ideas.

By understanding the principles of old traditions and knowledge we can firmly develop new concepts based on valuable experiences from the past.

A lot of the cultivation techniques were by direct observation and very close contact to nature as people were more simple not applying science conciously for example.

At present these ancient oral transmitted agricultural aspects are unfortunately not taken care of  or are not valued enough in the process of winemaking in rual Galicia.

Jose Antonio came from a matriarchal family structure following the Galician tradition. His Great grandmother Francisca (the one in the photo), his grandmother Antonia and now his aunty Esther kept working the land as ever resisting the neglection of the land and keeping unaware of their mission to preserve the relation between land and man, and the tradicional forms of agriculture transmitted orally through generation to generations for hunders of years.

It was not just these important family ladies that were transmitting this passion but also his father Salvador who was a Albarino wine maker and he use to sell cuttings of the Albariño vines and other local varieties in most farm markets in the South of Galicia, spreading the goodness of the vines of this area of the Miño to other areas of the county.

JOSÉ ANTONIO grew up with this and he is fully aware of bringing together the ancient knowledge of his elders verbal tradition passing on from generation to generation together with the new knowledge to bring the winemaking of Galicia up to modern requirements without loosing its key characteristics and heritage.

He saw that the quality of the Albariño grape and wanted to explore and develop it to it’s deserved full potential. His experimentations with Albarino by producing the wine to its best quality possible, was due to the use of good raw materials, with the result of a wine that can perfectly challenge other great wines in Europe.

He Commercialises his brands Trico and Nicolas from 2010 in 2012 which was unthinkable to do at the time.

His method is a combination of good product and passion farming, something that only a small winery can have, but we can not forget the main ingredient  working with the grapes in an old traditional way learned from the elders in his family. He does not harvests all grapes at one time, he lets vines to do what they do naturally and organically.

Natural watering by rain and sometimes even letting the roots fight for water almost making the vine suffer slightly to make sure that they become stronger plant and grape.

Combination of a good product and cultivating only a small winery, he looks after grapes in old traditional ways learned by his Grandfather. For example he does not harvests all grapes at one time, he lets vines to do what they do naturally and organically.

He lets little herds of sheep grace around the grape vines who in turn fertilise the vine grounds.

Many producers will water  additionally and use modern big production methods inorder to produce quantity but therefor significantly compromising on quality which is also one of the reasons the wine is more sensitive to storing only for shorter periods.

JOSÉ ANTONIO always says “the vines are not in a hurry, so I am not either”

Modern agressive agriculture is definitely not allowing nature to cultivate in its natural time therefor lacking in flavour, nutrients and most importantly the seeds or cuttings will get also weaker leaving a weak heritage for to the future generations.

He explained that several plots, at different hight’s  the grapes evolves in different ways and times he looks at this individually and harvests them specifically taking only the grapes that are ready and ripe at that very right moment.

JOSÉ ANTONIO produces 3 Albariños:
Trico is the main wine were he uses the more selected grapes and is kept for one year in the tank with temperature control, and another year in bottle before its commersilised, so the wine has time to develope all its potential and grow. The label is a drawing of his mother when she was a child in 1938, where she painted the village where they are from and were the vinyards are.
Nicolas follows a similar procedure of production but he does not produce it every year, the first Nicolas is from the grape of a particular vineyard where  the grape was of a particular excellent quality. Jose Antonio keeps the grapes from the different vineyards in different tanks to study carefully its development, In 2010 he decided to keep one of those tanks exclusively for a special wine becoming Nicolas as it had a special quality. And its called Nicolas because coincided with the birth of his first male grandson called Nicolas! The label is another drawing by his mother as a child, depicting a greek soldier , symbolising the strength and uniqueness of a child that without trying is irrepetible as its this  wine.
JOSÉ ANTONIO mother  Adelaida passed away when he was 10 years old so this is a small homage to her.
Tabla de Sumar (adding table in English) is the wine he produces with the rest of the harvest and the wine is not left to mature in tank  or bottle and is commercialised straight away resulting on a young and fresh Albarino of more traditional character. The label is an adding table card that Jose Antonio used as a child  at school; symbolises the wine as a result of the addition of the good grapes and the vineyard terraces by the Mino which equals to the wine.

 

This was the adding up table in the schools from Jose when he was a child and has used it as one of his labels for the wine.

Compañía de Vinos Tricó was created with the aim of displaying the vast experience José Antonio López had gained since 1985 in winemaking as well as in viticulture. Formerly with Bodegas Morgadio and later with Lusco, José Antonio came to several conclusions:

  • The total and absolute conviction that the Rías Baixas subzone, Condado do Tea, is the most suitable for the kind of viticulture they need.
  • Albariño, despite much being said to the contray, is a variety with vast aging potential, comparable to any great European wine.
  • In order to reach the above-mentioned goal, they have a wide range of plots, which are located at different altitudes on the slopes of the river Miño. This allows them to stagger the various harvests (with differences among them up to 15-20 days of ripening), thus getting a perfect balance in the grape juices and avoiding any correction on the wines, essential for their longevity.
  • Their grapes come from vines, some of them more than 25 years old, which are planted in decomposed granite, sandy and poor plots. They grow in a very sunny and dry land, without watering, and that is why their yields are low. They respect nature and work the land using organic fertilizers, allowing the plants their own rhythm.
  • They are not in a hurry, as neither is the wine. They believe in what they do, and have enough experience to make as few mistakes as possible.

With all these convictions and a great dose of hope, they started their journey in 2007, without any partnership, in order to keep focused on their goals, accompanied by a team that is fully integrated in this modest project that nevertheless has a great future.

Winery, vineyards and process:

The soil of Tricó’s grape production is primarily poor, sandy and decomposed granite, which in Galicia is known as “Xabre”. The sub-area is called Condado do Tea, a traditional area of viticulture located on the southern side of Miño River, in its international tranche in front of the area of “Green Wines” and its tributary Tea River, that gives its name to the sub-area. Their grapes come from 5 hectares of their own vines, 5 rented hectares of old vines, and 3.5 hectares of grapes purchased from old vines of very high quality.

The viticulture is very simple: based on the principle of non-intervention in the winery, the wines are gestated in the vineyard. In the perfect moment of harvest, respecting the characteristic climate of each vintage, allows them to develop of wines that are very raw in its concept but with enormous potential.

The preparation is very simple. Based on the high quality of the grapes, they try to process the grapes as quickly as possible after the harvest using pneumatic press, racking in cold and controlled fermentation in steel tanks. They then let the wine rest for a minimum of one year and bottle. As far as lees are concerned, they understand that they are not adequate for their wines, which have great aromatic potential and body. Their experience tells them that lees should only be used in wines with little structure.

Except for the grapes that they buy (which they control) the rest are from their own organically cultivated vines. We use organic fertilisers and cultivate the land to eliminate weeds and incorporate fertilisers. They do not use irrigation, despite the fact that their vineyards are in upland and extremely dry areas.

The TRICÓ 2009 production was 27,000 bottles.

About the name:

Trico is the name that is known to last child arrives without being expected, by far the brothers in years preceding it. This Trico is the last son of Jose Antonio Lopez , formerly Lusco and much earlier in Morgadio. Jose Antonio Lopez is one of those responsible for the resurgence of Albariño wine and quality wine (the other big name of the Rias Baixas is held by Gerardo Méndez).

The beginning of Trico can not be more encouraging standing, since the first vintage, head of quality Albariño wines. Over time, this Trico, will be talking, as now does the Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas.

The Trico is a wine that is kept for a year at its lees, with the intention of, on the one hand to preserve the floral and fruity character of the Albariño variety, and on the other to give more structure, more voluptuous in the mouth and a more extensive and long. Ultimately, preserve freshness and acidity and gain presence and intensity . was wearing the Trico a nice golden yellow with green iridescence, clean and bright and intense, insinuating tear.

In nose shown in a frank and intense freshness of green apple leads to no less fresh citrus notes accompanying the stone fruits, peach and apricot and tropical pineapple and passion fruit. Interesting floral hues adorn the persistent fruit. Delicate herbaceous notes and closed a circle aromatic balsamic crisp and extensive.

In mouth is tasty, untusoso with good input. A pleasant acidity prolongs the presence and intensity of the wine in the mouth, which ends with a successful and fruity finish. 

During this interviewe many parallels of the visions between the V&A, the wine making of JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ, and my work of developing a Keiseki that is based in the west seemed to be synchronising in essence perfectly.

For me the moral of the sorry is that nature does hold more answers to our life on earth for the future more then we can imagine.

For example:

Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of Nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry andbiomimetics come from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. Similar terms include bionics.

Over the last 3.6 billion years, nature has gone through a process of trial and error to refine the living organisms, processes, and materials on planet Earth. The emerging field of biomimetics has given rise to new technologies created from biologically inspired engineering at both the macro scale and nanoscale levels. Biomimetics is not a new idea. Humans have been looking at nature for answers to both complex and simple problems throughout our existence. Nature has solved many of today’s engineering problems such as hydrophobicity, wind resistance, self-assembly, and harnessing solar energy through the evolutionary mechanics of selective advantages.

This is a fascinating and important subject that I feel lies very deep in mans evolution till this day however now it is harder to realize being surrounded by many man made environments and the fact that we buy food rather then grow it and make it ourselves.

Looking into the past and what ancestors have done, aswel as learning here and now are all important factores.

In terms of creating a cuisine  that has heritage and culture as in Kyoto Keiseki this is also fundamentally important to relate to nature and man from past and current investigations.

If we take it out of its historic environment and geographical location completely and place it into a city without looking at any of the important references we will end up with a very week “Vine cutting”. A weakened concept, a weakened gene etc.

Inorder to have authenticity and linage as well as a natural internal development with keiseki, we need to work with many things in mind, that are not very apparent to people here in the west due to real cultural and climatic differences.

The appreciation of Japanese historic aesthetics, art and culture is very different and unique and it needs to be experienced at a very intimate and educational  level otherwise it could never be truly understood.

A true appreciation needs to be cultivated and developed and best through experience.

At the hart of all the above mentioned story is Vision, passion and therefor is an art and worthy of maintaining preserving and cultivating for the future generations to also appreciate.

Here is a pictures of the beauty of oral passing from generation to the next in the midst of nature:

Little POP UP shop in Rochester by Flavours of Spain

ψPop up 4th October- 31st December 10.30-5pm closed Sunday and Monday  * this is not your normal Spanish foody shop!!!!

I visited Theresa and Ana  to investigate there sweet little POP UP shop in Rochester Kent.

On entering the shop there is a wonderful authentic aroma coming from all the incredible delicious products Ana and Theresa carefully handpicked for us to try here in the UK.

Flavours of Spain was founded by Ana Caballero and Teresa Holmes a dynamic and happy Spanish-English collaboration team. Flavours of Spain has grown in reputation as suppliers of some of the country’s finest artisan produce and limited-production wines, specialising in Galicia and the north of the country.

I am a complete appreciator of specialist artisan producers and there refinde as well as important work,producing clean natural flavours all handcrafted foods by very special families throughout spain. The producers flavours of spain work with are exactly my kind of people and all my producers are exactly as devotes as I am about producing something. They are completly passionate, up keeping old traditions of cultivating these unique products and I assure you it is so worth visiting – Ana and Theresa’s PoP UP shop to taste there unique and authentic treasures from Spain.

Spanish goods are in abundance however this particular level of fineness is very rare and flavours of spain represent this niche at it’s best indeed. The secret to there successes you may ask…..is pure pure passion!!!

To be able to offer what they do is very labour intensieve and commands a devoted and passionate commitment that I have not seen anywhere the way Ana and Theresa embody this.

All I can tell you they are here in the uk, they do many activity’s visiting markets near you also occasionally host supper clubs….you must go with some friend as they will host you with charm telling you all about every single products story and with laughter and warmth that will warm anyones cockles.

The shop is so cuite and villagy in a house that feels like an old ship, crooked and full of character.

The little town of Rochester also magically evokes a small resemblance and senses of Galicia Santiago.

Instead of the cathedral they have a caste ruin and a story of medieval wars and world war 2 battles.

Its 30-45 min from London so well worth the trip.

Here is a little report of what foods I had the absolute pleasure of tasting and a little about my day in Rochester:

Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway in Rochester, Kent, South East England. The 12th-century keep or stone tower, which is the castle’s most prominent feature, is one of the best preserved in England or France.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, rallies the younger horsemen at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 There was a lot of fighting over power going on here between the King and the Bishop.
Rochester Cathedral.
There is a big historic event that took place her. I surgets you come down to investigate Rochester’s History and then visit Ana and Theresa in the Pop up 5 min away from the Castle of Rochester.
Walking down this charming little town road you will find Flavours of Spain’s little POP UP shop
Next to flavours of spain is a cute old little lady’s afternoon tea place with flowery teacups and cakes. The Little Pop up shop “flavours of spain”  has a little dining area and mini garden
Ana and Theresa are so loveable and passionate always ready to tell you everything about the products. You could not get a warmer welcome anywhere!
Always making people feel welcome and sharing a laugh together with there visitors.
I have attached a very good video about the situation and culture of Iberico. It is important to know as many low quality claiming to be iberico’s are being sold throughout the world and it is important to learn a little about this incredible culture of Iberico.
On the left is PALETA the front leg of the pig. The one on the right is the JAMON back leg of the Iberico. These are from the La Dehesa naturally the iberico bigs feed from Oct-Febuary on the Achorns naturally. This breed is Iberian Lampiño. The race is named after the place where it has developed over centuries, the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian pig is the clearest representative of extensive pig in Spain, a traditional support of our important ecosystems of the Mediterranean forest, the meadow.
They have only been open 1 week  however the little town of Rochester has already taken to Ana’s and Theresa’s warm harted Pop up venture.
I really like the way they have displayed everything here in the shop it looks really beautiful everything is showing off its natural and individual beauty.
These are natural honey’s from Galicia. Flavours are deepy natural
These is beautiful handmade cheese and the skinn alone the textures and colours look so beautiful of all the cheeses from Flavours of spain
This cheese is incredible in every way:
it is made with 3 different kind of milks: cows, goats and sheep.
the blue veining is completely natural. Most cheeses are injected.
This cheese is then matured in natural caves.
The flavour is complex and dense however very natural and clean. This is super unique and phenomenal. Try cooking a really best stack from your artisan butcher well aged, medium rare and this cheese on top for a complete umami bomb….oh and of course with a really nice goblet of finest red wine. I would call this a celtic supper to have in the Rochester fortress ruins.
This cheese is called CABRALES a name fit for a legendary cheese!
This is not any old saffron oh no…it is according to the gourmet guide “the best saffron from Spain at the moment”
This is a special re wine from DUMIA close to my friend Pepe Solla in Solla Restaurant were he serves this wine to.
The wine is made by Miguel Alfonso and it is BIODYNAMIC. The name is Do Umia make sure you let the air breath 30 min before drinking. Such a natural beautiful and clean wine.
This beauty is the “Iberian Cheese” Goats that graze amongst the iberican pigs also eating the acorns hence the cheese having this luscious nutty flavour.
This is MANCHEGO – officially the best artisan Manchego of spain 2010-2011-2012  from the La Mancha Region made with raw Ewes milk
On the left Austurian cheese made of cows and goats milk matured in cider called SIDRA. On the right from MENORKA a raw cows milk cheese matured in wooden oak barrels called MAHON.

This is one of my favourite experience of that day:
a cured beef please ask Ana to show you this with olive oil and toasted almonds together and Wine ………a must!!!!!
Super Gold Awarded Ewes milk Cheese matured in exquisit olive oil dried off. The skinn has slight green complexions and is best eaten after 1 year resting.
My other top favourite cheese of the day. A goats cheese from Malaga also Super Gold Awarded, bathed in olive oil and the vacuum packed for amazing infusion. Completely devine and out of the ordinary!!!!
Very importantly about all the caned foods sold at flavours of spain is they are all steamed then the best of olive oil is used to cover the product and all packed by hand. All these products are only produced only in the season.
Cured Venison with chopped almonds and extra virgin olive oil

Ana na Theresa have many little events going on over the next 3 months here in the POP UP take a look at there website.

The shop is closed Sunday’s and Monday’s the shop is open for 3 months.

Pre-christmas and christmas goodies for real foodie’s absolutely delicious.

If you want to come and visit with some friends e-mail Ana and Theresa they can surely organise a tasting afternoon for you. Ana makes incredible galician octopus and the famous squid ink empanada’s and much more.

check blog from flavours of food for up dates:

http://flavoursofspain.tumblr.com/

Sorry was raining a bit so board chalk was a bit washed away:

New Peruvian Japanese Fusion Restaurant Barcelona…by Ferran

When ever there is a japanese restaurant opening anywere in the world, especially Ferran’s….I am SUPER interested!!!!

Japanese cuisine is my life and my passion. I am probably more a japanese restaurant then a person.

I am constantly investigating and learning. I could not have any better occupation as this truly keeps me learned.

The realms of japanese food culture is imbedded in art, philosophy, spirituality, poetry, culture, architecture, poetry  porcelain,methods, techniques,nature, …the facets are diverse, devine and so incredibly refined enough to keep minds busy for century’s to come.

For me the fascination for japanese cuisine and culture, the history the imagination and passion  will never ever fade.

I am definitely not alone with these feelings, as japan ignites many chefs to find new ways in there culinary search for evolution, aiding in many new investigations making japan ever more relevant for all chefs of all generations and nationalities.

Japan century’s ago was hosting a style of eating and cooking philosophy’s that was incredibly futuristic and suitable for modern society to come.

Ferran Adria has always loved Japanese cuisine and now he will open a 30 seater restaurant right next door to Tickets in Barcelona featuring “NIKKEI” which is the peruvian japanese fusion that exists in peru for more then 120 years.

He will focus on certain vegetables carefully selected from Japan and south america for his new menu.

Nikkei is a term usually used for Japanese people who migrate:

The Japanese migration, and its individual members known as nikkei (日系), are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to North America, beginning in 1897 with 35 emigrants to Mexico; and later Latin America, beginning in 1899 with 790 emigrants to Peru. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.

According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkei living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in Brazil, the United States, and the Philippines. Descendants of emigrants from the Meiji Era still hold recognizable communities in those countries, forming separate ethnic groups from Japanese peoples in Japan.

Nobu also is a global Nikkai and his first place to migrate was Peru about 35 years ago:

Most famous and pioneering Peruvian/ Japanese fusion Chef  NOBU MATSUHISA has 42 japanese Peruvian fusion restaurants worldwide.

Nobu in Peru

Here is a short comment from Nobu as to how he migrated to Peru:

When Nobu was 24 he was working in Tokyo at Matsuai restaurant were he met a “Nikkei” from Peru:

“At Matsuei I met a Peruvian of Japanese descent who used to stop in for sushi about twice a year. One day – I was about 24 – he asked me quite seriously if I would consider moving with him to Peru to open a sushi restaurant. It was a dream come true, and I agreed at once. My father was a lumber merchant who died when I was seven. Whenever I felt sad, I used to stare at a photograph of him taken on the Pacific island of Palau, where he had once traveled to buy lumber. I wanted to be like my father. Staring at the photo I knew that I too would go overseas some day.

Lima was the perfect town for a sushi chef. With the Pacific Ocean nearby, fresh fish was never in short supply. And at the time – about 35 years ago – there were only three or four other Japanese restaurants in town. Yet Mitsubishi and many other big Japanese corporations had invested in Peru, so there were plenty of Japanese businessmen looking for good sushi.

I was a 49% stakeholder in the restaurant, but I had to do everything. Just as I had done during my apprentice days in Japan, I opened and cleaned the restaurant, put together the menus and made basic sauces. Back then you couldn’t jog down to the corner store to buy fish paste or other specialized Japanese ingredients, so I created everything from scratch, through trial and error. A lot of what I experimented with in Peru became part of my repertoire later on.”

The rest is history leading Nobu to be the most successful japanese chef world wide.

Peruvian and japanese fusion is still an exiting cuisine prospect and there is so much room for more investigations and developments.

I always felt it is important to refresh and reignite the work that Nobu has set such high bars for.

With the current peruvian/ south american global wave it is now of course the best opportunity to work with this wonderful and exiting concept of peruvian “Nikkei” cuisine.

The atmosphere of peruvian japanese food is very fun and upbeat suitable for the multicultural social, fashionistas and foodies alike.

Traditional Japanese is much more serious and demands a lot of deep knowledge, understanding and training apart form many other factores that are not easy to master or be respected for if you yourself are not from japan.

Upon many restaurants world wide copying Nobus style and menu has left a kind of confused in many people’s understanding of what real japanese food is.

To date there are not many japanese restaurants that are really japanese. Mostly the concepts get modified and customised for europeans.

Traditional Japanese food is perhaps difficult to convey in fast moving western societies so far from japan as it would require a lot of elements that are not readily available. As well there are required setting and atmospheres that  are important. In my experience staffing that have the skills required and the cultural education for example as tea ceremony “Cha Keiseki” and so on is not easy to employ.

I do feel it is not impossible however it takes a dedication and disciplin to establish that is incredibly intense and requires financial considerations.

It is so specific that many shy away from this prospect as heavy criticism follows by the japanese themselves.

In Kyoto having visited many masters, they rarely say about the other that they are great ( they dont say anything bad it is in the posture and look ). There is a kind of view of each other that is very hard to describe. Lets say there is a lot of pride which I do not condem, I understand the mentality and respect it to however it can be very hard.

Ferran Adria claims that Japanese Cuisine has had the biggest influence on his cooking career.

All over spain many  great chefs like Quique-Dacosta, Dani Garcia, Joan Roca and many more, all have a special place in there hart and influences from japanese techniques and ingredients in there menu’s.

Back in July, it was announced that Ferran Adria was teaming up with brother and business partnerAlbert Adria to open a Japanese restaurant in Barcelona. Details about the venture had been scarce until now.

In an interview with Peruvian publication El Comercio, Ferran said he was excited about returning to the kitchen. He explained the restaurant was Albert’s idea and will accomodate only 30 diners. The yet-to-be-named restaurant will feature Nikkei cuisine, a style of cooking native to Peru which blends Peurvian and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

When asked if he intended to reinvent fusion, Ferran insisted the restaurant will be strictly a blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine but with one exception: ”We want to incorporate – something that doesn’t exist in the Japanese or Peruvian cooking – working with vegetables.”

As for Nikkei cuisine, Ferran is passionate about bringing it to the international spotlight. ”In Japan, if you talk about Nikkei, they don’t know what it is, it’s incredible…The best part of Nikkei cooking is that it allows you to be more free…this type of cuisine is still being built and there is a long way to go, and this is fantastic,” he said.

Opening a Nikkei restaurant may seem odd at first but Ferran has been a fan of Japanese food for a longtime. The chef recently acknowledged  Japanese food influenced his last 10 years at elBulli, which was named the world’s best restaurant a whopping five times.

Ferran and Albert also plan to open a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona, all while keeping busy with the elBulli Foundation projects.

The news isn’t much of a surprise, given that the brothers have made several moves in the past year that suggest a desire for expansion: first there was Tickets and 41 Degrees, then the Mexican project, then a store, then a cocktail bar in London, and now this.

Not to mention their fascination with Japanese food, which became a major influence on the cooking at elBulli in the restaurant’s last decade. In an Eater interview last year, for instance, Ferran noted, “I didn’t go to Asia until 2002, when I went to China, Thailand, and Japan. And you could say that in the last five or six years, Japan has been and continues to be a major influence on my cooking.”

(Info in this article is from eater and fine dining lovers and link below for el comercio:

http://elcomercio.pe/gastronomia/1473137/noticia-ferran-adri-y-gaston-acurio-dejan-huella-solidaria-g9-japon

Ferran will bring a very upbeat and exiting experience to Barcelona also it will be very fantastic for all the world to see his new creations of his 2 biggest passions Japan and Peru.

I really cant wait 🙂

Nikkei cuisine is no stranger to Barcelona, and while the world awaits the new restaurant of Ferran and you want to try some Nikkei in Barcelona right now you can go here:

Komomoto, a decidedly hip, casual restaurant; nestled in Barcelona’s trendy El Born district.

Sleek, architectural interiors are given a stylish informal edge by a wall of hipster photographs and illustrations, industrial dangling lightbulbs and Ingo Maurer‘s post-it note chandeliers. The food too follows this line of slick modernity fused with offbeat cool with ceviches,  sushi – the wild salmon with chipotle sauce maki rolls etc – and lick-lipping noodles all impressing. Stylish, innovative and ideally located for some serious bar-hopping.

Dont forget to go to Tickets and 41 degrees, they are not Nikkei but really fantastic!!!

I had an amazing evening and Albert had some japanese fusion dishes that day which vere really fabulous. If you’re going to Barcelona book…it’s a must!!!!!

BOOK IN ADVANCE!!!!!

I love Tickets

I will write a separate article of TICKETS soon……

The man who never cooks without his hat…Mark Veyrat

 grand chef cuisinier

Marc Veyrat (born 8 May 1950) is a French chef from the Haute-Savoie region, who specialises in molecular gastronomy and the use of mountain plants and herbs. Although he is hardly known in the American culinary scene, he is one of the most famous chefs in the European restaurant scene.

Veyrat is considered by some to be the best chef in the world. He obtained a total of six Michelin Stars (three stars for each of his first two restaurants). Also, he is the first cook to get the perfect grade of 20/20 in the Gault-Millau guide, for his two restaurants. However, André Gayot wrote that “many, including [Veyrat], consider this score a tad exaggerated and more a public relations fantasy than a serious appreciation.”

He was the owner of the restaurants la Maison de Marc Veyrat (or l’Auberge de l’Eridan) in Veyrier-du-Lac and la Ferme de mon Père in Megève.

On 24 February 2009, he announced that he would cease all of his activities at la Maison de Marc Veyrat due to his declining health. The hotel is currently being run by his children.

Marc Veyrat is known for his creativity and use of natural and organic ingredients. He specialises in “molecular gastronomy” what ever that may mean, I probably would say he is a Svengali of natural mountain herbs and foods creatively transforming them into culinary art and amazements  .  He is a major pioneer and forward thinker with passion bigger then the Alps. Rather than using butter, flour, eggs, oil, or cream, he instead uses roots, mountain plants, mountain herbs, and wild flowers harvested in the French Alps.

The celebrated French chef Marc Veyrat, who held six Michelin stars between his two restaurants, will open an ambitious culinary complex at some point in 2013.

L’Express reports that the 250-acre property will be located in Manigod, where Veyrat grew up, and have a serious emphasis on sustainability and ecology. Veyrat will oversee a fifteen-seat restaurant, a botanical garden, and host students who’ve come to enjoy the natural setting. He’ll also teach 150 Euro cooking classes to ten guests at a time so they can “learn to cook six modern dishes and amaze their friends.” “People will not be coming to a restaurant,” said Veyrat. “People will be coming to my house.”

One of the things I must do as soon as I can, being a poor chef is frustrating at times when you should be sitting and dinning with Mark Veyrat.

http://www.marcveyrat.fr/