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St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2020 – Girlspower only!

My personal highlight: Getting inspiration and motivation from Chef Renu Homsombat (Bangkok) reminding that everything done with love and compassion brings more joy in life!

A culinary experience that must be on your agenda every beginning of the year is the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. This year a load of girl power came together in the upper Engadine January 31st to February 8th, 2020. The top chefs from the international fine-dining scene performed together with highly awarded chefs of the partner hotels in St. Moritz to spoil curious food lovers with culinary delights.

The program consists of diverse events to choose from: a Gourmet Dinner with your favorite Chef, the legendary Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace, Gourmet Safaris, a mountain Brunch or Food & Wine Pairing, the variety of food experiences is incredible!

On the one hand, this blog post shall inspire you to find your own favourite event. On the other hand it is a great pleasure to share my experiences with you and make you part of my Festival journey! The festival is attended by local  & international food lovers and offers a unique way to spend a different evening with same mined people.

The Chefs of the 2020 Edition at a glance

Gourmet Dinner Experience with Chef Renu Homsombat from Bangkok at Hotel Giardino Mountain -Restaurant Ecco

I attended the Gourmet Dinner of Chef Renu Homsombat with the curiosity to explore Thai Cuisine on a Gourmet level I never had before. Chef Renu manages 11 Suffron Gourmet Restaurants of the 5 star Hotels Banyan Tree in 8 countries. Beside coaching all the Chefs around the world she is a mother and a wife and lives in a house with a beautiful garden in Bangkok. My culinary highlight included a 6 course menu. A complete seduction of pure, fresh and spicy Thai flavors never experienced before. The green Thai curry is light and perfectly balanced in its sweetness and spiciness. Yes, it was spicy but to balance it out you get rice noodles and a tiny egg in a separate bowl and little veggie surprises as the pickled cauliflower or fried eggplants! The dinner start at 185 CHF (4 courses, excl. drinks) to 240 CHF (6 courses, excl. drinks) per person.

The menu of the Gourmet Dinner at Ecco Restaurant:

  • Kratong-Thong – Fried chicken, cashew nuts, golden cup saffron
  • Ma Hor – Pieneapple, minced pork beef, shrimps, peanut paste
  • Por Pia Puu Sauce Mamuang – Summer spring roll with crab meat, Thai mango sauce, chili peanut dip
  • Pla Muek Laab Thod – Spicy fried baby octopus, Thai chili sauce, crunchy popped young rice
  • Tom Yum Goong – spicy Thai shrimps, mushrooms, Thai ginger, lemon grass
  • Kiew Waan Pla Yang – grilled fish filet, rice noodles, green Thai curry sauce, fried eggplants, pickled cauliflower
  • Nua Toon Lumyai – slow cooked beef ribs, spiced, cucumber salat
  • Khao Niew Mamuang / Ice Cream Bai Toey – Thai Mango sticky rice, Sago Saffron litchi, Pandan coconut ice cream

The menu was paired with wines from France, Italy and Spain.

This culinary safari through Thailand was presented from its most aesthetic way. The combination of ingredients was delicate and at the same time very typical in the taste. The dishes Chef Renu prepares often include peanuts, mint, coriander or galangal combining European and Thai methods she got from different working experiences in Germany and Switzerland.
Chef Renu shared a precious hour with me in a personal interview where I got the opportunity to talk about her life and cooking philosophy.

The energy of this person is pure and beautiful and I felt right away, that this is the first ingredient for the magic, she puts in the preparation of every dish. She explained me, that no matter which request comes from a customer, her wish is to make everyone happy. So for example customers with allergies or special food requests give her the extra challenge to experiment in the kitchen and serve the ideal dish.

Learn from an organic Chef!

Chef Renu describes herself as the “Organic Chef” What exactly do you think this means? Nowadays Chefs strive for organic and healthy cuisine, the selection of the products are of high quality and as fresh as possible. This is why for example in a city as Bangkok Chef Renu has a little garden where she lives and she can grow her own flowers to integrate them in the dishes.
But more than that, an organic Chef according to Chef Renu should bring along a sane ego, understand the need and potential of the staff and bring them to perform with perfection but especially happiness and love in everything they do. The staff is like a family!
This is exactly what I experienced during the interview and the dinner. She also shares with me, that the inner motor that keeps her happy is the love around her she gets from her husband and her family.

“Be every day positive in life, learn from your mistakes and move on – Interview with Chef Renu”

Thank you Renu Homsombat for the unique culinary experience and the precious time shared!

Gourmet Event “Top of Piemonte” by Chef Lanshu Chen from Taiwan & Fabrizio Zanetti at Suvretta House, St. Moritz in cooperation with Poderi Aldo Conterno Wines

What happens at a Gourmet night with the title “Top of Piemonte“?
A Taiwanese female Chef prepares dishes that pair well with Barolo wines from Piemonte and on top you have a chat to connect with same minded foodies.

The surrounding at Suvretta House was the most perfect setup to enjoy a wonderful 4 course dinner. This is what we had:

  • Amuse Bouche: Egg custard with fermented radish and 7 years old aged radish oil
  • Eel: lily bulb, Sichuan peppercorns and scallion
  • Veal sweetbread Angelica
  • Sunchoke, smoked pork lard, wild lime
  • Pigeonneau: gyaura, onion, molle with Taiwnanese Chocolate
  • Dessert Nympheas: 12 different ingredients sweet, sour and flower magic prepared in a clear soup

The Wine Pairing 

Bussiador Chardonnay Langhe DOC/b, Piemonte 2016

Barolo Bussia Colonnello DocG/b, Piemonte 2015 and Barolo Bussia Cicala DOCG/b, Piemonte 2015

Barolo Bussia Romirasco DOCG/b, Piemonte 2015

Grappa di Barolo Cigna Cicala, Piemonte

The cuisine prepared by Chef Lashu is contemporary French, delicate and savory. She conjured a tasteful balance between her Taiwanese culinary roots and classic French cuisine onto the plates. The novelty for me at this dinner: the pigeon! It was cooked with a pink finish, perfectly tender and its tasty was mild and delicate.

About Poderi Aldo Conterno Wines

The Poderi Aldo Conterno have cult status among wine connoisseurs. The selected wines belong to the greatest of the Piedmont region. Franco Conterno, co-owner of the family business presented his winery in collaboration with Ueli Schiess of Caratello Weine, St. Gallen.

Curious to know more about the wine region of Piedmont? Explore it on my blog post here!

I am very happy for the experience made at this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival edition and hope you’ll have the chance in 2021 to experience one of their culinary events, too! A warm thank you to all of the staff for the excellent work and hospitality during my press trip.

 

 

 

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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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St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2018 – Experiencing a legendary Gourmet Safari & Kitchen Party

My personal highlight: Sitting in the car with an icon of Swiss Cuisine during the Gourmet Safari and learning at first hand about the history of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

Participating at an event like the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is full of surprises. It’s the format that is unique. I can’t think of a better environment as a kitchen to feel and understand the passion and ability of a experienced Master Chefs. It was a privilege to stand close around the Festival Chefs. Perceive the heat of the stove, smell all possible flavors that were created at once. Welcome to the 25th edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival where high class international Chefs met you, individuals and food lovers.

Why you should visit a Kitchen party once in your life

People told me, you need to visit a Kitchen Party. Well, I asked myself why? I imagined it to be loud, busy and chaotic. How can it be fun to be squeezed with 250 people in kitchen?

The magic thing of the Kitchen Party I experienced during the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is the class and easiness all Chefs put on the table. The Kitchen Party took place at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in their perfect equipped kitchen. This kitchen is not small at all. Although it got very narrow for all of us. This setup made the atmosphere adorable. Live music pimped up the party to its best.

For some Chefs the noise and chaos was no obstacle at all. Observing Chef Ray Adriansyah I felt complete tranquility.

I was fascinated by the way he immersed into the preparation of the suckling pig. In their restaurant in Ubud Bali called Locavore Chef Ray and his partner Eelke Plasmeijer focus on nose to tail plates and only local products. The pork and the sausages made out of the offal (everything is used to avoid food waste!) with typical Indonesian spiced vegetables evolved to one highlight of the food program. The Vegetarian highlight for me was the mushroom raviolo with a light and aromatic pesto sauce prepared by Chef Jacob Jan Boerma. An esthetic appealing dish 100% vegetarian creating an explosion in my palate. One bite bite only to scarf it! I completely ignored the mass of people around me, the heat created by all ongoing fire stations and the drops of steam dropping down to my head. Surrounded by excellent food and a magic party atmosphere, everything around me disappeared. The cherry on the top built the dessert room. A room full of delights created by Chef Patissier Chef Stephan Gerber from Badrutt’s Palace and Spruengli. Fancy smoothies as a chilly mango lassi or a traditional grand cru praline ended the Epicurean experience with excellence.

For those needing a digestion dance, the after-party continued at the King’s Club. Perfect timing to shake the hips till early in the morning. That is where I met Chef Ana Roš and Chef Dominique Crenn on the dance floor and felt their viral and humble vibes again.

The legendary Kitchen Party at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel brought together local and international guests and all 9 international Master Chefs and the local Executive Chefs. Absolutely recommend this event !

The 2018 Festival Master Chefs

East or west of St. Moritz? A ranger and 19 food lovers on their way to explore a 5 course menu, one course at every stop in an excellent Engadine Hotel – Let’s call it a Gourmet Safari

After the unforgettable experience of the Kitchen Party my palate was ready for more food excitement to be explored.

What does your mind think of, when it hears the word Gourmet Safari?

Being at an Event as the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival it’s obvious that you are surrounded by best Master Chefs, quality food and creative techniques. All of that in a stylish and classy hotel atmosphere. The Gourmet Safari is the perfect event to experience several Chefs and locations in ca. 4 hours and one evening! Some of the dishes are served directly at the so-called Chef’s Tables in the kitchen that makes the event even more intimate and authentic.

My personal highlight on the trip: Sharing my ride in a comfy BMW in snowy St. Moritz with the opportunity to take seat with an icon of Swiss Cuisine. Roland Jöhri, Chef and Manager of the restaurant Talvo in Champfèr for almost 20 years. Talvo is one of the most accredited restaurants in the Engadine region. Roland shared stories about food, cooking and the region of St. Moritz I could not have find in any book or google research.

What I loved most is the story about the first years of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival back in the 90’s. These editions took place on the lake of St. Moritz, huge tents with all kitchen equipment placed on the ice!

An other story making me understand how passioned Roland recounted about his cooking books aged over hundreds of years. Pages all hand written! I was amused by the fact that he recognized immediately the original recipe of the dessert called île flottante that Dominique Crenn prepared for us at the Gourmet Safari. It consists in a foaming meringue floating in a crème anglaise (custard) sprinkled with caramel/sugar on top and it disappears in the mouth like a cloud! Chef Dominique revealed that it was the favorite dessert her grandmother prepared to her when she was a kid. Getting to hear such stories made me extremely happy and thankful. What a memorable time in St. Moritz.

Every course came paired with a selected wine. With this dessert a sweet and fruity Beerenauslese 2015 from Austria.

The Gourmet Safari menu at a glance

  • Zander with saffron celery  (IGNIV by Andreas Caminada), black cod NY Style (Matsuhisa)
  • Coffee cured trout, kecap creme, ginger gel, pickled pumpkin, wild leaves – Locavore Ubud Bali / Nira Alpina
  • Wasabi rock Lobster, Mango & Nuc Mam Sauce (Tim Raue) Vietnamese Nuc Mam Chilli Sauce with garlic – Kulm Hotel
  • Veal shank with a juniper coat, Shiso potato purée, purple carrot – Stucki Basel/Grand Hotel Kronenhof
  • Grains and Seeds 2.0, île flottante, Atelier Crenn/Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains

With these two events in my pocket and and a memorable stay at the Hotel Badrutt’s Palace that makes every guest feel like living a fairy tale with its class, style and courtesy. I like to take the opportunity to thank the agency Woehrle Pirola, Events & Public Relations for the perfect organization of the whole St. Moritz Gourmet Festival.

Get all impression and highlight about my experience at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel soon in a separate story!

Abou the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

Every year several International Master Chefs are invited to St. Moritz for sharing culinary experiences with local Chefs of their partner hotels. Together they enthrall the festival guests with culinary delicacies. This years event took place 9 days. Tickets are available online through the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for everybody. Additional special events as the Kitchenparty, the Chocolate Cult at Badrutt’s Palace or Gourmet Dinners and special additional events take place during the festival. The festival is a perfect combination with a ski holiday in St. Moritz, since most of the event are taking place in the evening, so you have the change to go skiing during the day. Consider it in 2019!

Interested to know more about Lovefoodish’s experience at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival last year? Find more on the 2017 article here.

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