It has been a while since the International Wine and Food Society had a dinner by JC de Terry. Certainly one of the most creative (he says he’s crazy) spare-no-expense chefs you can find in Manila, I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of JC’s creations, some of which I have shared on this blog.
For the Society, JC proposed a dinner to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the publishing of Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote. All the dishes for the dinner would be modern interpretations of food that appeared in the book, or dishes inspired by the book. These would be accompanied by Spanish wines, except for a Tokaji donated by the Society President, Bernie Sim.
After a brief introduction, dinner started promptly at 7:15. The starter was a ball of cheese disguised as a truffle on a bed of Manchego flakes. A good way to prime the palate. This was accompanied by theAnna de Codorniu Cava NV which was light and fresh but not very complex.
JC’s intricate preparations started to show with the second dish of eggplant and caviar. This was paired with a Vega de la Reina Verdejo 2012. This was another rather lightish wine which I feel was somewhat overwhelmed by the dish, especially the caviar.
The Verdejo also served as the wine for the codfish and potato croquette called Atascaburras. This is a dish taken directly from Don Quixote. The Verdejo was much better with this milder preparation, allowing the fruit in the wine to come through.
The first meat dish was quite a complex dish of ham, sausage and mutton, all bound by an egg on a bed of eggplant. We set aside the Verdejo and finally came to the red wines starting with Tinto Pesquera 2011 from Ribera del Duero. The wine was rather dry but soft due to the 3 hours decanting. It made for a good match with the dish.
What followed was easily my favorite dish of the dinner. The pigeon soup was light but full of flavor. Several cuts of meat from the pigeon were used for this dish which gave it depth and complexity. The pigeon meat was overly gamey and tough, but they did not detract too much from the overall quality of the dish. This was also paired with the Tinto Pesquera 2011. This was quite a good match and I did drink quite a bit of the wine.
Finally, we came to the final course which was lamb encased in a crispy crust on a bed of goat’s milk. To be honest, I did not think the goat’s milk would do anything for the dish but tasting it, it did work and added a layer of flavor that went well with the meat. The accompanying Pisto de Villanueva de los Infantes is a sort of ratatouille which famous in the village of Villanueva de los Infantes. My favorite dry wine of the evening was poured for the lamb confit. This was the Macan 2011 from Rioja. Macan is a joint venture between Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild. With that kind of parentage, how can you go wrong? The wine is quite silky but with a good amount of flesh and ripe black fruit. The oak is rather noticeable but definitely not overblown. It should be noted that for a wine with such esteemed pedigree, this is a relative steal at below P 4000.00 retail.
Before dessert, a cheese plate was served together with a fine Tokaji by Kiralyudvar, the Ilona Cuvee 2002. This is quite a fresh style of Tokaji with a fine acidity to balance the sweetness. The wine shows notes of honey, apricot, and candied orange peel.
Finally, dessert, which was a unique Black Garlic Flan. Despite the rather exotic ingredient (for dessert, anyway), the garlic didn’t make an impact on the flavor. The flan was excellent, though, and was my favorite dish after the pigeon soup. This went with a coupage, or blend, of JC’s own recipe of several Pedro Ximenez sherries in varying proportions to come up with a wine that would perfectly match the dish. I must say the resulting coupage was extraordinarily good. None of the heaviness of Pedro Ximenez was evident in it. There was, rather, a lightness which made the wine quite easy to drink; quite a difficult thing to achieve with Pedro Ximenez.
Congratulations and thanks to JC for orchestrating another memorable dinner!
Terry’s Bistro is located at the Ground Floor, BCS Prime Bldg., Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City. Tel 8441816