My 5 favourites from 2012

by Peeter Pihel

2012 is now in the past. Although we did not witness the world ending – and thank God we didn’t, it was a fine year for cuisine all around the world – a lot of new and exciting places and flavours.

By no means will I propose any kind of ranking here in this posting – just letting you guys know about my 5 favourite flavours from the last year. Hope you’ll find some of them either familiar or something worthwhile trying out yourselves if you let this posting guide you. Anyways – hope you have enjoyed the world full of flavours in 2012 and will continue to do so and discover a whole lot of new tastes out there in 2013. Salute!

One of my favourites from 2012 comes from my trip to Singapore. Restaurant Andre and his Octaphilosophy is truely one of the loveliest discoveries from the past year. I must say however, that as a chef I would feel somewhat without true roots in Singapore – there’s now forrest, no local farmers, just imported produce.

My favourite from that visit was: Eggplant, cockscomb; duck tongue terrine with smoked eggplant caviar and sesame salt

Eggplant, cockscomb; duck tongue terrine with smoked eggplant caviar and sesame salt

Eggplant, cockscomb; duck tongue terrine with smoked eggplant caviar and sesame salt

Septime had been in my list for ages – there’s a good reason for that. Nice and simple combinations – the things that rule the culinary world more and more each day.

Chefs Bertrand Grébaut’s  beautiful, seasonal cooking, pristine ingredients, and a fine list of natural wines to match. Septime chefs  are actually cooking, not just coming up with tricks and trends to obscure the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing, or that their ingredients aren’t good enough to be presented on their own without some sort of fuss and fanfare.

My favourite from that visit was: Panfried pike-perch with lightly pickled cabbages and seaweed cream

Panfried pike-perch with lightly pickled cabbages and seaweed cream

Panfried pike-perch with lightly pickled cabbages and seaweed cream

As we all know – all islands are connected under the sea :) So it happened that in September we were on our way to a little island of France called Il de Yeu – the pictures you can see from Kitchencrunch blog as well. But before arriving to Il de Yeul we visited a small neighbouring island and its small fishing village where you can find restaurant La Marine run by Alexandre Couillon.

The definitely have one of the best degustation menus and the wine selection is just splendid. There were quite a few real lovely combinations, but my favorite one was:

Aged duck, perfectly cooked, served with tarragon foam and pickled cucumber.  Yet again a very simple but adorable combination!

Aged duck, prefectly cooked, served with tarragon foam and pickled cucumber

Aged duck, perfectly cooked, served with tarragon foam and pickled cucumber

It was a midsummer in the foodie heaven Copenhagen and this salad was a brilliant showstopper!

As Chef Bo Bech describes the food of restaurant Geist:

Food made with pure ingredients and pure enthusiasm. Served with joy alongside good pours. In surroundings that inspire gleeful seduction and free thought. 

And I must agree with him – this is how it’s done in Geist. Lightly tossed wild herbs, salicornes and marinated gooseberries add a pleasant acidity. Just brilliant!

Lightly tossed wild herbs, salicornes and marinated gooseberries

Lightly tossed wild herbs, salicornes and marinated gooseberries

Friends from island of Bornholm, Nicolai Norregaard and Rasmus Kofoed opened their restaurant in Copenhagen in the beginning of 2012. Its called Kadeau. Both of their restaurants in Bornholm and now in Copenhagen are excellent!

Not a very wide but always changing menu of simple combinations that are made from produce from Bornholm island are defining Kadeau and the quality they bring on the table.  This is what they have to say about it themselves:

The philosophy behind kadeau Bornholm and now also kadeau København is simple: To produce and serve food from Bornholm and the nordic regions and wines that, as far as possible, come from sustainable wine farmers that love their wines as much as we love food. We love food, and we love Bornholm.

Greetings to Copenhagen and while visiting the city go and check out their brand new spot called Pony.

My favourite from Kadeau’s degustation menu in July: Sweatbread with aspargus and extra rich beef sauce. 

Sweatbread with aspargus and extra rich beef sauce

Sweatbread with aspargus and extra rich beef sauce

 

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