Full Moon Feast = Food Porn

13 May

Jenny and I were at an amazing dinner on April 28 – the night of the full moon – to celebrate Full Moon and other great Spanish olive oils represented by the Olivar Corp.

As you can probably tell by looking at that date and looking at today’s date, I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while and just haven’t gotten around to it. While I could have just let this go without a post, the night – featuring food creations from Toronto chefs Luis Valenzuela of Torito Tapas Bar, Jose Hadad of Frida Restaurant and Lola Csullog-Fernandez of Pimenton – was just so full of great Spanish dishes that I thought it deserved a little showcase here.

Here’s a look at what we ate, for all the food porn aficionados out there.

First course was Ensalada de Corazones from chef Jose Hadad of Frida: artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, oven-dried cherry tomatoes dressed in Full Moon olive oil with vanilla-balsamic vinegar and fresh lavender sprigs. This was a simple, clean-tasting way to start the meal, and a great way to showcase the flavour of the oil. The dish was paired with Bodegas Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Rosado 2008 (Tempranillo, Grenache and Merlot blend).

Next, we had Gazpacho Dauro “dos texturas” from chef Luis Valenzuela of Torito, which was gazpacho presented two ways: as a shooter of gooseberry gazpacho and a gelee of traditional gazpacho with Rincon de la Subbetica olive oil. Paired with Bodegas Gomez & Rial Alargo Albarino 2007 (Albarino). As someone who’s always just thought of gazpacho as cold tomato soup, refreshing but not terribly exciting, I appreciated the new and unique forms of this traditional Spanish dish.

Then we were served Kokotxas al Pil-Pil from chef Hadad: cod tongues with Spanish paprika, poached in Rincon de la Subbetica, with lemon balm and radish cress salad, and oven-crisped baguette with garlic confit. This dish was a big hit. The tongues were poached in the olive oil and added their own gellied texture, to create an almost stew-like velvety sauce. I’ve never had cod tongues, and sadly I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to track them down in Toronto for my own use (indeed, I was told, the chef has his own ‘secret’ source for this rare ingredient).  This dish was paired with Miguel Torres S.A. Organic Nerola 2008 (Xarel-lo/Garnacha Blanc).

At the half-way point of the meal, we had a palate cleanser of Dauro Olive Oil Sorbet served in a citrus ice bowl from chef Valenzuela. I make olive oil ice cream quite a bit, so I was excited when I saw this on the menu. It was obviously not as creamy or rich as an ice cream, but the light milky consistency really let the olive oil shine through.

The next course was my personal favorite of the night. Chipirone Rellenos de Jamon Iberico con Vinagreta de Parqueoliva y su Tinta from chef Lola Csullog-Fernandez of Pimenton: baby cuttlefish stuffed with Iberico ham, featuring Parqueoliva olive oil and squid ink vinaigrette. The cuttlefish had the texture and flavour of grilled calamari, and the smoky taste of the Iberico was a perfect complement. Paired with Bodega Cerro de la Barca Monte Pozuelo 2007 (Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo).

The next dish, again from chef Valenzuela, was Parque Cerdo con Fresas, Manzana y Espuma de Ajo Bianco: pork belly poached in Parqueoliva, served with a dried strawberry and apple cornucopia cone and garlic foam. I never turn down the chance to eat pork belly, so I was definitely waiting for this dish. Poaching the meat gave it a crispy texture and intense flavour, which paired well with the light garlic flavour of the foam. If there was one misstep over the course of the meal, it was probably the ‘cornucopia cone,’ which consisted of julienned apple slices wrapped in a cone of dried strawberry fruit leather. An interesting presentation, but a bit challenging to eat. This was paired with Gran Clot del Oms 2003 (Cabernet Sauvignon).

Though we barely had room for anything else at that point (something that rarely happens to me), we all managed to find extra space in our stomachs once we tasted the amazing dessert of Torrijas con Reduccion de PX y Arbequina y un Chupito de Leche Merengada from chef Csullog. This was a sort of sweet Spanish French toast, with red wine baguette soaked in Pedro Ximenez sherry and Gasull olive oil, and served with a milky merinigue granite and Arbequina olives (yes, olives on a dessert plate!). There were a lot of different elements in this dish, but it all went together magically to create an amazing dessert I’m going to need to taste again at some point in the not-too-distant future. We had this with Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Pedro Ximenez 2005, a great unfiltered sherry.

It was certainly a feast, and show the talents of three great Toronto chefs, as well as the talents of the team at Sizzling Communications who managed to pull the whole thing together so well.

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4 Responses to “Full Moon Feast = Food Porn”

  1. Jenny Tryansky May 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    Is it a faux pas to comment on your own blog? I don’t care… I had to comment on this meal. AMAZING. I was so impressed. Everything was wonderful, but the cod cheeks dish was SO flavorful and rich and delicious (despite the odd texture), and that dessert was perfection. I am still dreaming about everything we ate.
    SUCH a fun night and overall culinary experience. I can’t wait to try Frida’s regular menu. Spanish food might be one of my new faves.
    Thank you to Mary Luz and Mario of Sizzling Communications for putting their passion for great food into their events!

  2. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 14, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    OMG that looks amazing – wiping the drool off my keyboard as I type this!!! I couldn’t make it to the Full Moon Feast so thanks for allowing me to live and eat vicariously through you!

    • Neil Faba May 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Mardi. You missed a great meal, but hopefully we’ll be able to have the talents behind Frida, Torito and Pimenton team up for something again soon.

  3. Kelly (LA) Wray May 17, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    I’m so thankful to Jenny for the heads up on this event! I had such a fantastic food experience 🙂
    So happy you posted this Neil – it brought me back to that night. I felt full again just going through each course description. Haha Yummy!

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