There’s no higher option to get within the temper for the competition than sipping champagne in SWISS enterprise class on the flight to Zurich. After that, it’s a protracted prepare 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 collection overlooking the lake however there’s simply sufficient time to learn the programme.
For the 27th version of the St. Moritz Connoisseur 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 government cooks, and my dinner tonight will probably be cooked Italian Cristina Bowerman. She’s initially from Puglia, however skilled in Texas after switching careers from regulation and graphic design. As of late her restaurant, Glass Hostaria, in Rome has a Michelin star.
I begin with an amuse-bouche of marinated salmon trout, with avocado mousse and bitter cream, delightfully contemporary. That’s adopted by uncooked pink 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 delicate 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 is just not an apparent pairing nevertheless it appears to work. Subsequent, a easy risotto of smoked pasta, disguised as pearl barley, surrounded by pungent sea urchin.
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 by ‘contamination’ between fashionable and conventional culinary language” and it’s definitely evident within the meals I’ve eaten tonight.
Subsequent day dawns brilliant 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 received’t be as sizzling 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.
Her dinner is served within the Stalla Veglia Restaurant, a comfortable Swiss “Stubli”, and as far faraway from South East Asia as you may get. The entrée is watermelon coated in floor salmon, with fried shallots and roasted galangal powder, an exquisite mixture of contemporary and fishy. Soup is a tom yam, sizzling 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 bit of steamed cod with white turmeric, fennel and lemongrass sauce served with jasmine rice. The dessert is a fairly 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 connoisseur competition is not only about huge dinners. Additionally on provide are connoisseur safaris, chocolate workshops, afternoon teas, champagne tastings, cheese pairings and, what for me, is likely one of the highlights, the Kitchen Occasion. It takes place late within the night, deep within the subterranean kitchens of Badrutt’s Palace. There’s a jazz band taking part in, champagne is flowing and people hard-working cooks, contemporary from serving their connoisseur dinners, are cooking once more.
On the finish of the week is the Porsche Connoisseur Finale on the elegant Suvretta Home. It begins with a champagne reception, the place 5 native cooks provide a choice of scrumptious appetizers, and it’s tough to withstand going again for seconds. Nonetheless, there’s now a gala sit down dinner, every course ready by totally 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 competition has definitely been memorable. Maybe someday I’ll get to eat within the eating places of a few of these well-known cooks.
The St. Moritz Connoisseur Pageant is an annual occasion, going down 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 services.
Tourism Engadin St. Moritz has data on the area.
My Switzerland has details about the nation.
SWISS gives greater than 150 weekly flights from London Metropolis, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh to Zurich, Geneva or Sion (seasonal).A method 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.