St. Moritz Gourmand Pageant, Switzerland

There’s no higher strategy to get within the temper for the pageant than sipping champagne in SWISS enterprise class on the flight to Zurich. After that, it’s an extended practice journey up into the mountains and I don’t arrive till it’s getting darkish. I’m greeted in type by the chauffeur from the Carlton who whisks me uphill to this grand lodge. They’ve really given me a set overlooking the lake however there’s simply sufficient time to learn the programme.

Cristina Bowerman in kitchen

Chef Bee Satongun

Chef Bee Satongun

For the 27th version of the St. Moritz Gourmand Pageant the line-up is spectacular. There’s Lanshu Chen from Taichung, Bel Coelho from São Paulo, Carolina Bazán from Santiago de Chile, Renu Homsombat and Bee Satongun from Bangkok, Emma Bengtsson from New York Metropolis, Kamilla Seidler from Copenhagen, Cristina Bowerman from Rome, in addition to Asma Khan and Judy Joo from London.

They’ll be taking up the kitchens of the highest resorts in St Moritz, working in partnership with the resident govt cooks, and my dinner tonight will probably be cooked Italian Cristina Bowerman. She’s initially from Puglia, however educated in Texas after switching careers from legislation and graphic design. Today her restaurant, Glass Hostaria, in Rome has a Michelin star.

Red prawns tartare

Pink prawns tartare

I begin with an amuse-bouche of marinated salmon trout, with avocado mousse and bitter cream, delightfully contemporary. That’s adopted by uncooked purple prawns, in a tapioca Thai inexperienced curry, moulded into cake wrapped with skinny slices of beetroot and topped with caviar. It’s a triumph, the tapioca including texture to the refined style of the shellfish and the caviar including some saltiness. It’s served with a rooster and hazelnut consommé to be drunk earlier than or after.

The fish continues with a grilled scallop in a pistachio sauce, topped with crispy flakes of dashi and white fish caviar with mushrooms sliced on the aspect. Fish and pistachio shouldn’t be an apparent pairing nevertheless it appears to work. Subsequent, a easy risotto of smoked pasta, disguised as pearl barley, surrounded by pungent sea urchin.

Carlton Saddle of deer with berries, carrot, parsnip and chocolate sauce

Carlton Saddle of deer with berries, carrot, parsnip and chocolate sauce

The meat course is a saddle of deer, pleasantly uncommon, with blackberries and raspberries, roast child parsnips and carrots in a chocolate sauce. Christina describes her dishes as “a style expertise via ‘contamination’ between trendy and conventional culinary language” and it’s definitely evident within the meals I’ve eaten tonight.

Subsequent day dawns shiny and sunny and I’m shifting to the Nira Alpina in Silvaplana for dinner. Tonight’s chef is Bee Satongun, all the way in which from Thailand, the place her restaurant Previous Bangkok has a Michelin star. As a concession to Swiss tastes, her meals gained’t be as scorching as it’s in Thailand – the place she’d usually use ten chillies she’ll solely be utilizing one. She’s excited to be right here and tells me that it’s the first time she’s seen snow.

Nira Alpina Smoked Coconut Noodles

Nira Alpina Smoked Coconut Noodles

Her dinner is served within the Stalla Veglia Restaurant, a comfy Swiss “Stubli”, and as far faraway from South East Asia as you will get. The entrée is watermelon lined in floor salmon, with fried shallots and roasted galangal powder, a beautiful mixture of contemporary and fishy. Soup is a tom yam, scorching and bitter with crispy pork leg cubes, tangy however not too spicy.

Different highlights are langoustine in a Chiang Mai salad with roasted banana chilli and chargrilled tomatoes and a chunk of steamed cod with white turmeric, fennel and lemongrass sauce served with jasmine rice. The dessert is a reasonably image of smoked coconut noodles with palm sugar sabayon, lemon basil seed and dried pineapple. The meal impresses and, by minimising the chilli content material, the flavours actually zing.

The gourmand pageant is not only about large dinners. Additionally on supply are gourmand safaris, chocolate workshops, afternoon teas, champagne tastings, cheese pairings and, what for me, is without doubt one of the highlights, the Kitchen Celebration. It takes place late within the night, deep within the subterranean kitchens of Badrutt’s Palace. There’s a jazz band enjoying, champagne is flowing and people hard-working cooks, contemporary from serving their gourmand dinners, are cooking once more.

On the finish of the week is the Porsche Gourmand Finale on the elegant Suvretta Home. It begins with a champagne reception, the place 5 native cooks supply a choice of scrumptious appetizers, and it’s troublesome to withstand going again for seconds.  Nonetheless, there’s now a gala sit down dinner, every course ready by completely different feminine cooks. I get to revisit the meals of Cristina Bowerman and Bee Satongun characteristic but additionally pattern the dishes of Emma Bengtsson, Kamilla Seidler, and Asma Khan.

Highlights are the fish ceviche from Kamilla Seidler, halibut with cauliflower and gruyere from Emma Bengtsson and Asma Khan’s Indian khobani ka meetha dessert. It is perhaps some time earlier than I’m again once more in St. Moritz however the pageant has definitely been memorable. Maybe sooner or later I’ll get to eat within the eating places of a few of these well-known cooks.

Reality File

The St. Moritz Gourmand Pageant is an annual occasion, happening on the finish of January.

The Carlton is a 5* Superior lodge proper within the centre of St Moritz.

The Nira Alpina is a four* Superior lodge in Silvaplana with ski-in ski-out amenities.

Tourism Engadin St. Moritz has info on the area.

My Switzerland has details about the nation.

SWISS affords greater than 150 weekly flights from London Metropolis, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh to Zurich, Geneva or Sion (seasonal).A technique fares begin from £74 to Zurich and £83 to Geneva. In First and Enterprise, long-haul passengers departing from Switzerland can benefit from the “SWISS Style of Switzerland” with menus created by chosen visitor cooks whose eating places have Michelin stars and Gault Millau factors.

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