Gastronomical Quarter in Eight Courses

By , 05 Jun 2016, 17:41 PM Winebars

The well-known Zagreb restaurant Trilogija, located adjacent to the Stone Gate and for a while in the very top of Zagreb's gastronomy scene, saw a very interesting tasting. In eight courses we combined Torkul olive oil, Šember wines and food of different tastes. As a declared fan of Torkul, as well as Šember wines, I naturally helped putting this story together.

 

Other than Torkul and Šember, we had the culinary team of Trilogija and were joined by Belizar Miloš of Agava restaurant.

 

Fanito oilery, the producers of the mentioned Torkul oil, is a family-owned winery from Vela Luka (Korčula island) that uses an indigenous material (olives from Lastovka and Dobrica sorts) and through control of all stages of production achieves the highest level of olive oil quality. Extra virgin olive oil Torkul and another of their products, an excellent Olive Leaf Tea, are recommended by Slow Food International. Furthermore, the tea has met the rigorous criteria of the Slow Food commission and boarded the Ark of Taste.

 

The oilery was represented at this gathering by owner Fanito Žuvela and his daughter Marija, who led the presentation.

Representing the Plešivica based Šember winery we were joined by Nikola who is increasingly taking over the presentation part of the work and his sister Lucija, the current Wine Queen of Zagreb County.

 

A small, selected, acutely hedonistic group gathered, while the tasting menu was as follows:

 

Arrival

  • Olive oil Lastovka and olive oil Drobnica with bread

  • Olive Leaf Tea

Salty (cheese)

  • Fresh cheese lightly flavored with salt, pepper and parsley, covered with Torkul olive oil

  • Hard cheese with Torkul olive oil

  • Wine: Rhine Riesling, Šember

Fatty and spicy

  • Cracklings covered with Torkul olive oil

  • Kulen sausage mellowed in Torkul olive oil

  • Wine: Rhine Riesling macerated, Šember

Appetizer

  • Focaccia with Torkul olive oil, dried tomatoes and olives (Agava restaurant)

  • Cream of artichoke, parmesan and truffles with Adriatic shrimp and Torkul olive oil and chives emulsion

  • Wine: Rhine Riesling macerated, Šember

Main course

  • Duck breast with homemade cheese gnudi on a pumpkin and bacon foundation along with fennel cream and cranberry and red wine sauce (Trilogija restaurant)

  • Duck and chicken liver pate bruschetta with an orange and Torkul olive oil emulsion (Agava restaurant)

  • Wine: Black Pinot, Šember

Dessert - fresh

  • Dried figs mellowed in Torkul olive oil with fresh cheese with honey and Torkul olive oil

  • Walnut ice cream with walnuts and Torkul olive oil

  • Wine: Sparkling Rose, Šember

Dessert - chocolate

  • Chocolate cake with almonds, covered with Torkul olive oil

  • Wine: Black Pinot, Šember

Dessert - extra sweet

  • Varenik must and Torkul olive oil

  • Olive liqueur

Some items in the menu might seems odd to say the least, but the point of this tasting was to show the spectrum of uses for Torkul olive oil. We wanted to point out that this extraordinary oil can be combined with sweet and salty dishes, going along with heavy but also light meals and I believe we succeeded. The fact that all other food was of excellent quality and made by excellent chefs, which does not diminish the quality of Torkul. Šember's wines have once again proven they belong in the very top of Croatian winemaking. Exceptional quality and variety are their strengths. Further on it possesses a full body and long taste; a truly wine rhapsody. Did the Torkul elevate the wines or did the wines elevate Torkul, we won't be able to ascertain, but I do hope to be able to meet with them at a table again.

 

Now, the educational part of this story is sizable, so let's get going.

 

I doubt I would ever cover fresh cow cheese mixed with a bit of salt and pepper with olive oil, but after this experience I certainly will. Torkul is magnificent here - it did not do away with the mildness of cheese nor did it take over the taste. In fact, it added an interesting breadth to the taste. An excellent combination, albeit unexpected.

 

Kulen sausage mellowed in olive oil and cracklings in oil will surely don't have a future in restaurants, but this combination displayed the adaptability of Torkul. The kulen was less bitter and somehow finely pliable. Extremely interesting combination. Cracklings... In my opinion they would have done better with a different presentation, maybe just add a few pieces on a plate and cover with oil. AS they were, in a bowl, all those crumbs fell to the bottom and together with oil created a mixture that was too fatty. But the cracklings on top, totally different story. Quite tasteful, without excessive fat that was expected. A true surprise. Again, I doubt I will create this at home, won't order it in a restaurant, but in an educational-promotional version, excellent combo.

 

Those were the oddest combinations, as duck breasts prepared by the Trilogija crew weren't odd at all and fit great with Torkul and you can always order that. The duck and chicken liver pate from Belizar Miloš's workshop or his focaccia, that alone is a rhapsody on a plate, and when enriched with Torkul, the result is easily in the sphere of divine experience. The dessert in the form of dark chocolate cake being exceptional, with Torkul elevating it further, should be clear from the start, as well as Torkul with ice cream or dried figs dowsed in that same oil with a touch of fresh cheese with honey.

 

These are all exceptional combinations. A true hedonistic paradise. Which brings us to the key question. Most people at the table were from the press. Naturally, all participants, Trilogija, Agava, Torkul including Šember wines, attempted to present something new and best. Why us? Well we should write about it and educate the masses. Marketing aside, education is key. But how do you educate people whose base pay is below national average? Same as those earning double the average and more, but can the first group afford it - is the biggest problem. We're talking top products which can hardly be cheaper, a fact I know first hand. Unfortunately, our standard of living does not support a lifestyle that enables us to enjoy these products. Regulations regarding olive oil aren't nearly well defined as they allow all kinds of products under the extra virgin label, with huge differences and instead of explaining to people why an oil can be extra virgin and not top quality, with a 49,99 kuna price tag, people are served the story that private producers are too expensive and that it's all the same oil. It's not, they're lying! Now, whether we can afford it is something else. Educate yourself on polyphenols in oil. We will cover this in our next G.E.T.-Report and point out the actual difference and why avoid oil at the market, standing in the sun for who knows how long, while the label states "real homemade". It's hard to deal in top notch products in our country, as there are few who can afford them and you're condemned to export, which is hard, or compromises, which can be even harder. The Šembers don't make compromises. The Žuvela family won't hear of them. We don't make any in the G.E.T.-Report. We try to jointly educate people, show the true path in eno-gastronomy and sometimes seem like Sisyphus, but such is our fate. I honestly hope a higher standard is coming to our homeland, when you'll be able to enjoy the presented products without a burden.

 

Our eno-gastronomy stories are enjoyed more and more by young people and we're glad, as they are the ones who have the ability to take our small land and create one of prosperity and enjoy its riches. Don't make meals a pure physiological necessity, enjoy them, allow yourself a few sins and luxuries. Believe me, you'll feel better.

 

Original article in Croatian here.

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