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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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STORIES

What happened at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2019 ?

My personal highlight: The uniqueness of this event unites excellent international Chefs, creative minds and curious foodies in one special spot up in the Swiss Alps. Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Denmark was my discovery this year.

Every year in January the Gourmet world of Switzerland points the eyes to St. Moritz. Together with chefs of a variety of prestigious local hotels, nine top-class star chefs from Europe and Asia join for culinary delights.

This year the following gourmet chefs participated at the festival 2019:

What to choose out of the variety of gourmet Food Events when visiting the the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival – a useful guide

Gourmet Safari Event: For those who love to experience different Chefs in different hotel locations in St. Moritz. This event allows best to interact with other gourmands. Taste a variation of menu in one night in an unforgettable surrounding. Get more inspiration here.

Legendary Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel: The place to live the most vibrant and authentic vibes of the Chefs preparing the dishes directly in the kitchen. Together with 300 other guests you enjoy culinary highlights standing close to each other, the live music is the cherry on the top! Get some highlights of this year’s kitchen party here.

Side events: Wine & Cheese celebration in the legendary wine cellar of the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz?
Go for this intimate evening in the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz. Taste international rarities of wines paired with the amazing French cheese selection that Maître Antony, the world’s best “éleveur de fromages” offersorregarNNroregagararrdstivivalmon

Gourmet dinner with your favorite Chef!

My choice this year: Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Copenhagen and I am absolutely happy about this selection, since the cuisine from Denmark was a novum to me.
The Gourmet dinners offer a relaxed atmosphere where to dive into a culinary journey. It’s the best way to experience the real food philosophy of a Chef. The dinner comes as a more course menu with signature dishes of the Chefs. Mostly there is the chance to talk in person to the Chefs during the dinner and get detailed explanations about the menu.

About my Gourmet dinner at Grand Hotel Kronenhof with Chef Nicolai Nørregaard

This dinner was an excursion to the Island of Bornholm, where the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Kadeau Bornholm is located and run by Rasmus, Magnus & Nicolai. Beside Bornholm Nicolai and his partners run the 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Kadeau in Copenhagen.

Bornholm is a small island in the Baltic Sea, to the east of the east of Denmark, on the south of Sweden. Here the neighbors are the forest, the beach and the sea. The flavors of Bornholm were reflected 100% in the dishes prepared from Chef Nicolai. He knows the island best, since he grew up there. Years ago, when he was a kid he says during the interview, he used to spend a lot of time with is mother and his grandfather exploring the nature. That is where he got plenty of the knowledge on how to prepare, process and preserve the precious ingredients that grow on the island.

A lovely story I like to share with you that Nicolai revealed at our interview: back in time, when he was a teenager and he was dating a girl at his house it was absolutely normal, that girls got invited to help out in the garden. Some girls may have found that awkward back in time. The house of his mother was located in full nature.

My question about the food philosophy that they follow at Kadeau was answered on the one hand by tasting the extremely balanced and delicate dishes during my dinner. My palate experimented different layers of sour, sweet or salty flavors, perfectly balanced and aromatized.
On the other hand, in the interview Nicolai explained, that on the island of Bornholm they follow the rhythm of the cycle of the seasons by observing nature. In Summer everything grows fast, so it’s a lot of work in a short period of time to absolve. Winter instead is his favorite season, because there is time to experience nature slowly. What I also understood, is that at Kadeau a big part of the work goes to fermenting, pickling and drying. They do also make syrups, oils or vinegars as for example the rhubarb root oil used in the soured cream berry dessert. Several tons of items were preserved this year, this to put Bornholm also on the plates in Copenhagen, when the restaurant Kadeau Bornholm closes its doors.

Another secret I love to share with you here, Cooking and experimenting the way Chef Nicolai works, he says, is like a Jazz composition, “sometime you improvise, but at the same time your instinct and experience create a composition that feels harmonic”. This explains to me, why he has chosen to go for a autodidactic education to get there where he is today.

Nicolai’s curiosity for cooking has always been there. He comes from a family with a high gastronomic interest. His granddad’s family owns a smokery, which is common in Bornholm. I was very happy to try a smoked Bornholm Salmon during our dinner with an excellent taste, of course balanced with a fermented tomato sauce, rosehip and fig leafs. On Bornholm the climate is so special, that figs grow, too!
The menu consisted of a variety of seafood as Oyster, salmon or scallops from the , vegetables and reindeer.

You can not imagine, how delicate and intense in the same time Scots pine taste with dried tomatoes & scallops. What about the unique nutty taste of Limfjord Oysters?

Our 7 course menu at a glance:

  • Limfjord Oyster, fermented gooseberry, kale & oyster emulsion.
  • Young potatoes, codroe, lovage, eldercapers, blue mussel
  • Bornholm smoked salmon, fermented tomato sauce, rosehip, fig leaf
  • Raw scallop, horseradish cream, scots pine, semi dry tomatoes
  • Celeriac, woodruff, oscietra caviar, oxalis, fermented white asparagus
  • Reindeer, Barbecue jelly, currant, rehydrated carrot & beetroot, chicken wing sauce
  • Soured cream, currant, raspberry, gooseberry, blueberry, rhubarb root oil, seaweed oil

The absolute highlight of my dinner was not only the visual presentation, more than that, it’s the different preparation techniques and the perfectly balanced flavor and taste of every ingredient that fascinated me. The dishes connected mind and soul, it was a surprise with every bite. 

A big thank you to Chef Nicolai Nørregaard and his team for introducing me to the food from Bornholm. A very warm thank you to the Grand hotel Kronenhof and St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for the flawless organization.

Curious to read about other St. Moritz Gourmet Festival experiences, check my stories here.

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