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A culinary weekend on a boat: Excellence Gourmet Festival 2019

My personal highlight: My soul feels home on the water, a Gourmet Festival on a boat is THE a foodies happy place!

Welcome to Excellence Gourmet Festival.
A 2-day gourmet trip between Basel and Strasbourg that takes place every autumn. This year from October 18 to November 24, 2019. Booking takes place through the travel agency Mittelthurgau, click here right away, if you like to book a slot. Cost start at 285 CHF to 500 CHF per person (price vary depending on the guest gook). The transfer, overnight on the boat, food and breakfast are included in the price.

What to expect on the gourmet trip?

Excellent top cuisine, 48 Michelin stars and 560 Gault Millau points, a dedicated crew, live music and a breathtaking sunset on the Rhine river. Sounds like pure relaxation for soul and palate, doesn’t it? The concept of the Excellence Gourmet Festival, taking place this year for the 7th time offers an amazing choice of well renewed top Chefs. 39 endowed creative cooks from Switzerland and the world surprise foodies of all ages. Everything is prepared fresh and ad hoc on the boat. The evening program is moderated by different Swiss celebrities as for example Sven Epiney or Christa Rigozzi during my attendance. Their interaction with the Chefs was excellent, they reveal a lot of insights of the Chefs with their interactive dialog between every course. The atmosphere is very relaxed. While dining you don’t even notice how smooth the ship moves to on the river!

A 2-day gourmet trip with sightseeing, culinary and complete relax on the river

The journey starts with the transfer to Strasbourg by a comfy bus. In Strasbourg you get time to stroll through the city either by yourself or with an organized guide. In the early afternoon there is a transfer to get on board of one of the Gourmet boats. In my case it was the Excellence Princess. After the check-in in my Junior Suite with spectacular view over the Rhine river a welcome aperitive with sweets, salty snacks and live music everyone is set to start the gourmet experience. The perfect chance to get to know other foodies on board and discover every cozy corner of the Excellence Princess!
My favorite spot: one of the sofas in the glass covered skylounge. Here is where I slurp happy and full of excitement my aperol spritz!

The Culiniray program – Chef Flynn McGarry from New York (Restaurant Gem)

The dining highlight of my day: Flynn McGarry from the Restaurant gem in New York. Media describe him as the a prodigy of cuisine. Listening to the interview I immediately understood, that he followed very early his idea and passion of cooking. And guess having a family around that understands someones passion is something unique you can ever wish. But still, yes, it’s very impressive that he started at the age of 10 and now with 20 it kind of seems that lot’s of his dreams are already fulfilled! Flynn gives me the impression of a very humble, creative and somehow mature personality with his young age! Obviously he discovered very early what he wants to do in his life and it is motivating, feeling the light and ambitious vibes he has. The interview held by Sven Epiney during the evening revealed a lot of funny insights, too.

The menu comes with a wine pairing. My favorite drop: the Carmelo Rodero Reserva, 2014, Bodegas Rodero, Ribera del Duero/Spain.

The menu at a glance

Starter: Scallop Chips with raw scallops and preserved citrus  – layers of Kohlrabi and pear

1 course: Lightly cooked beet “ceviche” with salted plums and smoked chili

2 course: Grilled cabbage with oyster and grilled kale emulsion

3 course: Layers of squash and rutabaga with gruyere and black pepper

4 course: Celery root schnitzel with truffels and rye

5 course: Smoked and roasted duck breast with radicchio and duck xo sauce, salad on the side stew of druck and grilled cicorino rosso to share

Dessert: Quince granita with sage semifreddo

The combination of flavors, ingredients, spices and herbs used made that mainly focussed plant based menu very surprising but in the same time simple and comforting. The celery root schnitzel with the super crispy layer was fabulous yummy.

My  favorite dish: the pumpkin in a creamy, tasty gruyere sauce, perfectly balanced, a dish that I will try to cook at home! The dessert was a sage semifreddo and a quince granita, very mediterranean and a true delight to end the event in glory!

Accommodation on the maritime lady

The Excellence Princess gives you all comfort you can think of. I would describe it as a modern and elegant Swiss Grand Hotel on water! Find several options where to spend your free time. Choose between the glass covered skylounge, outside on the terrace or the elegant bar in the middle deck. In the mood of sauna or fitness? That’s available, too!

On the boat are 93 cabins with shower/bathroom, air conditioning, Sat-/TV, minibar, hair dryer, french balcony, spacious windows. Find three different categories of cabins: In the upper and middle deck: 16 m2 and a Junior Suite with 20 m2, both with a frz. balcony, double bed or single beds. Under deck: Cabin with 13 m2 single or double bed.
The life on board feels safe due to the very robust construction properties of the boat.

A very warm thank you to all of the staff on board that made my stay memorable and to the agency Pantarhei that invited me to this glamorous mini-holiday on the water.

In the mood of some more travel and food stories? Find inspiration here.

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Zurich Blogging

Secret Dinner in Zurich!

My personal highlight: A secret dinner capturing all senses with passion through a 5 course menu in a coffee roastery !

Welcome to a Secret Dinner! Last month I had the opportunity to experience a 5 course menu in a secret location! The concept of Secret Dinner is very simple: you get a the time and a meeting point via email, you meet there with other participants and you follow a path until you get in front of an extraordinary venue! As a coffee lover the coincidence brought me to a coffee roastery in Zurich!

The industrial ambience gave the special touch to the long tavolata in the middle of the production hall.

The menu was designed to touch all of our senses with every course. And guess what, it really happened!

The secret dinner is the perfect gift for your best friend, a special date or company event. The location and the motto of the event change regularly. It’s a nice way to chat with other guests, too, since everybody sits on one long table.
Get all of the information about the dinner package on their website. Every dinner starts with delicious cocktails or selected wines.

The secret sensual rapture menu at a glance

Course 1: The sense “vision”

Tomato – Mozzarella – Basil
This course was pure deception, the ingredients were prepared in a surprising way! The white slice was not a mozzarella but a crispy crunchy cheese basil cracker!

Course 2: The sense “smell”

Salmon – peperoni – mint
The salmon came in a aluminium can that was smoked just ad hoc. Super rough and intense in the taste!

Course 3: The sense “Touch”

Apple – Fennel – ice steam
A light clear fennel soup served with a fancy iced steam floating in my glass.

Course 4: The sense “Hearing”

Flank steak – coffee – sweet potato – jackfruit
I found this course the highlight of my dinner! The coffee was perfectly balanced in the sauce. The sound of a common coffee roasting day accompanied our dinner!

Course 5: The sense “inebriety”

Espresso – Lime – Pistachio – Chocolate
Only the picture describes best why this course gifted all of us with the final sensory “high”. Guess what the white powder is!?

A wine pairing with every course is available. The dinner price start as of 100 CHF/person excl. drinks and wine pairing.

A special thank you goes to Matej that joined the event and created the perfect pictures to give you an idea of the experience! Get in touch with Matej Serer @matejerer@gmail.com , if you like to know more about his photography projects!

www.secretdinner.ch

 

 

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Zurich Blogging

Zurich Food Destination to discover! Food Zurich 2019 & Chefalps, the international Cooking Summit

My personal highlights: Joining food workshops where to explore origins of ingredients, combined with an experimental Indonesian dinner and a live presentation by one of my favorite Chefs: Josep Roca from Spain at Chefalps 2019.

A huge privilege for all food lovers in Zurich is the month of May, when the city enchants itself into a food adventure destination.

No matter if haute cuisine or street food: from 16 to 26 May, Zurich once again the city transformed itself into a place full of culinary temptations. The program included more than 100 events covering aspects of Wining & Dining.

My food experiences included a spice mix workshop held by the Swiss company laromi, an experimental authentic Indonesian dinner that throw me back to this wonderful place on earth with spicy and strong flavors organized by the catering Sendokgarpu & the soydivision Berlin. The cherry on the top came with the international Cooking Summit Chefalps, that for the first time took place during Food Zurich this year.

How to choose out your personal food experiences

It’s kind of a difficult mission to pick the food experience of your choice. For myself I found it best to mix workshops, where to learn by hands-on how to prepare dishes. I added a dinner, where to lean back and relax . There are several price ranges for these events, some are even for free, others go from 25 CHF up to a fee of 150 CHF for example.

Laromi Salt workshop

A young team of entrepreneurs hast the goal to offer best salts, spice blends, teas and oils. All of them without any artificial additives. At the workshop we got presented the variety of herbs and salts that can be mixed together to a very own blend. I named my black Hawaiian salt HANI which means “happy” in Hawaiian language. Get more of this company here.

Taste of Indonesia: Pairing two senses: dinner & experimental music

I am grateful for that throw back to my favorite nation Indonesia thanks to Ayu Andrila Utami owner of the company SendokGarpu and Ariel Orah from SoyDivision. Ayu and Ariel are friends from their school time back in Jakarta. Ariel is a fantastic artist, he organizes series of pop up experiences, where innovative Indonesian food inspired suppers meet experimental music live performance. We enjoyed a very special 5 course menu prepared of mainly local ingredients by Indonesian cooks.

The menu started with a soup made of sheep and coconut milk and Indonesian spices. As a toping tender pieces of beef and a delicious potato ball. My absolute favorite dish you don’t easily get in Zurich came next: tempeh (typical Indonesian product made of a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a form).

Further on the menu: braised eggplants perfectly spiced that came on rice. Sounds simple but absolutely tasty. The main course included chicken with basil, turmeric and holy spices from Sulawesi. Our dessert came accompanied by Ariels experimental performance: Sweet potato balls with palm sugar and a Fior di Latte ice cream. MAGIC!

Ending my Food Zurich Experience with a very personal highlight: a meet & greet with Chef Josep Roca from Spain

The terms that best describe what I experienced at this year’s Chef Alps Cooking Summit during FOOD ZURICH are: Elegance, mindpower, creativity and sustainability! The two top Chefs Heiko Antoniewicz and Adrien Hurnungee presented their research project “Cooking with ashes“. It includes innovative techniques and still undiscovered tastes such as brimstone chips! Did you know that ash draws water from the food and condenses the aroma, has an antimicrobial effect and generates nearly zero food waste? My absolute attraction on the stage: Chef Josep Roca (Sommelier and responsible for Food & Wine Pairing at El Celler de Can Roca). His calm and humble attitude captures the whole audience, this without any live cooking show. His personality and wealth of knowledge are inimitable. No wonder that the 3 Roca brothers (Joan , Chef de Cuisine and Jordi, Patissier) cook successfully since years and complement each other perfectly in all tasks. The concept presented, how a kitchen staff plays together harmoniously, professionally and successfully, is based on basic rules like tradition, freedom (mental) and creativity! Apart the excellence of knowledge on how to extract, process and integrate the aromas of a wine into a dish with complex processes of course. The personal short get together after his presentation was the absolute unique gift for me. This moments are memorable.

Another fascinating topic on the program was to  learning about the philosophy of a dessert fine-dining restaurant called Coda Berlin designed by Frank Rene. Umami appears in his dishes as an important ingredient, I love the approach that their desserts are not too sweet and above all healthy and light and not at all boring or flat in the taste! Matching drinks are also paired with the desserts. The spray scent with jasmine blossom, tonka bean and flavoured rum we got to try in the plenary was magic.Beside the Chefs on the stage there were speed dates with gastro experts and a bunch of Swiss & international products to taste in the breaks between the shows!A big thank you to Chefalps and the organisators for an excellent 2019 edition!

Who is Food Zurich?

The association has beeen found in 2016 from Zurich Tourismus together with gastro and hotelier people. Their aim is to spread the good food vibes in our city. They offer a stage for local gastronomic productions as well as a wide range of culinary delights. Focusing on the themes of Switzerland, innovations and sustainable projects, the festival invites to get to know the national cuisine. It further promotes modern food creations. Discover local producers opening their doors to the public and sharing all of their passion for food and production.

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