A gustatory treat of foie gras and good wines
With a diet of croissant, cheese, quiche, and foie gras, it is a wonder how they maintain their svelte figures. Incidentally, foie gras was recently the star of the show in Makati Shangri-La’s Red. The restaurant just brought in a French foie gras master, Chef Michael Petit, who shared his exclusive foie gras menu for the month of March.>
The celebrated chef developed his expertise in French cuisine by being part of the culinary team of different Michelin-star restaurants in Paris. He was even Chef de partie in some of the three-star Michelin restaurants of Joel Robuchon, who is considered to be the world’s most decorated chef.
Chef Petit also worked with Ernest Soulard, the premier foie gras producer in France. With the team, the chef helped develop and improve the quality of the fine product. He shares his passion for this particular foie gras, as he prepared delectable menus that highlighted this ingredient for different places around the world.
In Makati Shangri-La’s Red, he created a six- and nine-course degustation menu with wine pairing, which is available for both lunch and dinner.
A lunch of luxury
We recently enjoyed a luxurious four-course meal that started with the duck foie gras “mi-cuit” with morels, pepper of Penja, figs, tomato confit, and basil. My plate had just four thin slices of terrine, but it was more than enough to realize that this is a very rich dish indeed. It was so smooth and velvety, and the bits and pieces of the fig, pepper, and other ingredients deliciously counteracted its richness.
Daniel Blais, Head Sommelier and Director of Beverage of Makati Shangri-La, recommended an off-dry Reisling (2009) from Germany to go with it. To properly enjoy the food and wine pairing, he suggested to take one bite of the food first, follow it with a sip of wine, and then feel the chemical reaction in your mouth before chewing the rest and swallowing. It was an extraordinary eating experience, as it awakened—not just my sense of taste, but the rest of my senses as well.
The wine really helped in enhancing the flavor of the duck terrine. I suppose Blais really knows what he’s doing. For ten years now, he has been a Certified Sommelier and is actually the first one in the Philippines. This award-winning sommelier has been named the Sommelier of the Year in 2010 and has received this honor twice already. “I do love my job. It’s beautiful. To be a sommelier, first, you take care of people.”
For our second course, we were served the Royal of duck foie gras and truffle. It was presented in a small covered crystal container, and upon opening the lid, the luscious aroma of the truffle wafted in the air. Its delightful scent made me think that this is going to be one of the best dishes that I’ll ever taste. It was indeed. The flavors of the foie gras and black truffle complemented each other, but the aroma of the latter was really more distinct. It made me wish that the dish came in a bigger glass container.
Blais gave us a glass of the Glen Ellen Chardonnay (2009) from California to go with it. It was a very dry wine with a woody and fruity flavor, which had a hint of oak. It paired well with the light and silky texture of the Royal of duck.
I hardly had enough time to savor the last dish when the next one was delivered to us—a ballotine of duck breast fillet and foie gras in duck essence. Ballotine is a French style of cooking that makes use of a deboned animal filled with some stuffing, which is then roasted or braised. For this dish, the chef used a duck breast fillet and foie gras as stuffing, which were then wrapped in cabbage leaves. It was beautifully cut in half and served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and drizzled with some of the duck essence. The duck fillet was tender and did not have that gamey taste, while the foie gras just melted in my mouth.
The dish was elegant in both sight and taste, and it was paired with the Cotes du Rhone (2009) red wine from France. The acidity of the wine and the cabbage went really well. My palate was truly satisfied, but even so, I still left some room for dessert.
During lunch, Blais shared that gone are the days when red wine is supposed to be paired with red meat, and white wine with seafood. “Drink what you like,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s just fermented grape juice. Some are expensive, some are not. Your taste is as good as mine. The best tip is great wine, plus great good, and great company.” –KG, GMA News
The foie gras degustation menu will be available at Makati Shangri-La’s Red until March 31, 2012.