Monday, 15 February 2010

Pasta week in Capri Court

Vincenzo Spinozi, one of Italy's finest pasta makers, is coming to town. From 21 to 27 February he will present a special menu in Shangri La's Capri Court Restaurant. This is what the press release had to say:
"From 21 to 27 February 2010, Capri Court restaurant at Shangri La's Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa will welcome the legendary Italian pasta maker, Vincenzo Spinosi, who will bring a touch of Italian flair as he presents a special à la carte menu of mouth-watering dishes prepared with his signature brand of hand-made egg-based pasta. The 'Prince of Pasta' will be joined by guest chef Mauro Taufer from Hotel Excelcior in Venice."
Spinosi's pasta has quite a reputation throughout the world, and initiatives like these need encouragement, so we will be there to taste the action. The menu is only served during dinner times. For reservations, contact the hotel at 24776565.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Wine review - Pascal Jolivet

We haven't done a study on the subject, but it wouldn't surprise us if Sauvignon Blanc is the world's most popular grape. You see it all over the world, from New Zealand to Chili, and throughout the whole of Europe. Wines from the Sauvignon Blanc grape comes in many styles, depending on climate, soil and style of wine making.

The source of the grape is France, where its fame started in the Loire region. Wines from Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé are famed for their complexity, and dry yet fruity character.

Pascal Jolivet is an interesting winemaker in this region. He believes in making wines true to the character of the vineyard and climatic conditions. Sound logical, but it is more difficult than you'd think. Jolivet's wines are all aged on stainless steel, so not a single piece of wood in the wines. His wines are characterised by a certain sense of restraint, combined with an impressive array of subtle, but intense flavours.

He produces several ranges of wines, but at our local OUA shop we only ever found the wines simly called Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. They are not cheap, both cost close to 20 OMR. But if you're willing to spend this amount of money on a bottle of wine, you'll be rewarded. The wines are by no means simple. They need a bit of work to be appreciated. The Pouilly Fumé is a bit fuller and extravagant, compared to the Sancerre, which is slightly more elegant and racy. Both have their distinct qualities and are equally good.

The current vintage of these wines would be 2008, but we only saw 2006 and 2007 on the shelves. Normally we wouldn't advice buying wines of older vintages, but in this case it's ok. These wines can deal with some bottle age, it even adds some complexity.

If you want something a bit more special than your everyday quaff, or if you're in need of a last minute Valentine's Day wine, go ahead and buy some of this.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Two serious foodie events coming up

We were pretty pleased with the Taste of Dubai festival last year, so we're more than happy to recommend this year's edition to you. It will be held from 17 to 20 March 2010 at Dubai Media City. The lay out will be pretty much the same as last year: local restaurants have the opportunity to present small dishes, and there are a number of special events, such as wine tastings and cooking master classes by renowned chefs. For more information and booking of tickets: look here.

Another promising event takes place in Abu Dhabi. From 5 to 19 February the city is the scene of Gourmet Abu Dhabi; two weeks full of culinary delight. The organisers of Gourmet Abu Dhabi did a great job in putting together a tantalising programme. Several michelin-starred chefs are flown in, with 3-starred Alain Passard and Régis Marcon as showstoppers. You can choose to follow masterclasses by the chefs or attend one of the dinners. Some of those are accompanied by wine tastings of prestigious domains, such as Egon Müller, Pio Cesare and Paul Jaboulet Ainé. Their winemakers will be there as well. If you ever needed an excuse to visit Abu Dhabi, this is it. More information can be found here.