My regular cocktail drink of choice is Gin. Of course, I love a glass of wine with my food, but Gin can be a great pairing for food as well. I was so excited to be invited to the Tanqueray Drinks Club in Berlin featuring the boys of Salt and Silver, Atalay Aktas from Schwarze Traube and the Icelandic chef Victoria Eliasdóttir.
The venue for this event was INFARM, a startup based in Berlin that develops an “indoor vertical farming” system capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce, and other vegetables, and even fruits. (read more about it in this lovely article from TechCrunch)
A beautiful place filled with plants and still with an industrial flair to it. The workshop tables were set with tools, gin, fruits, and herbs. I started sipping an old school G&T while I got a bit of an introduction to the different classes of Gin Tanqueray has.
Tanqueray has 3 different products:
The most usually seen around is their Tanqueray London Dry Gin. A gin with 180 years of history, including being the favorite Gin of Frank Sinatra ;) Its smell of Juniper it's so predominant. I find that the juniper note in Tanqueray London Dry is perhaps the most significant characteristic of it, I don't recall any other gin having that singular juniper note.
Tanqueray N0.10 was released in 2000, Tanqueray No. TEN gin is named after the small copper pot-still ("Tiny Ten") that is used to produce the spirit. This is the only gin (so far) that uses whole citrus fruits in its recipe.
Tanqueray Rangpur, my favorite of the evening. Named after the Rangpur lime that is included in the recipe. Rangpur lime isn't a lime but a hybrid of a lemon and mandarin orange. But this doesn't mean it is Lime Flavoured Gin (many think so) but the lime is distilled with the other botanicals.
The amazing Salt & Silver boys (who quit their jobs to travel through the world searching for the best waves, stories, and recipes) explained to us what was going to happen during the event and that Victoria was our chef tonite (you might know her from Dottir). My favorite restaurant in the world is Icelandic Korean fusion, and knowing she was the cooking, some little part of me performed a salto of joy!
The First two dishes were: Smoked trout on Icelandic flat bread, fennel, egg & garden cress And my ultimate favorite of the evening: Baked beetroot on Danish rye bread, beetroot labneh, horseradish, lavender, red shiso cress. Mouth-watering!
The second gin I had was Tanqueray No 10 with tonic and rosemary, delicious. It was truly fun to go to the bar and create your drink with the bartender. I grew very fond of basil and rosemary on drinks during the evening.
The next dish was a Marinated sole with red grapefruit, dill, khaki & shallots. It reminded me of ceviche. Ceviche with a twist. a great pairing of the gin I was having (first picture of the blog post) It was a Rangpur base, 50/50 soda, and tonic with orange zest and forest fruits. The citrusy notes on the drink and food were superb.
The last dish was actually made with gin. It was a lemon sorbet with Rosemary and Tanqueray. This I will try to make it at home. It was just sublime.
Food was eaten, and the DIY Tanqueray workshop started. The rules were simple:
Step 1: Choose your Gin
Step 2: Choose your Fruit
Step 3: Choose your Tonic
Step 4: Choose your Garnish
Step 5: Create your own T&T
And after a short explanation, everyone started making their own drink. It wasn't only a workshop, but it would be a price for the best T&T. Everyone jumped to the workstations and tried to make the most delicious drink of the night.
My favorite drink of the workshop was called "Sexual Healing" and even though it wasnt the winner of the contest, It was my personal winner!
As I never have pictures of myself, I found this one at the events site. I look so terrible in pictures, like I am mad or something, but actually I was just paying attention to my good pal Kai from INSEARCHOF and FIBER.
It was a great evening with amazing people and food, learning how to make cocktails while having fun. I can't wait to have friends over and make our own cocktails, or maybe even a contest as well? Do you make cocktails at home? have you tried all Tanqueray Gins?
I have been driving past BRICOLE for the weeks. Mostly I am in a hurry to pick up Pepa at preschool. (The restaurant is very close to it) So I added it to my "Food Bucket List".
Lucky me, Berlin Food Week organized a "Stadtmenü or City Menu" on the topic "Mushroom Parade" with over 60 restaurants, including BRICOLE, offering the opportunity to get to know the city in a new culinary way. Whether regional noble mushrooms, exotics from Asia or noble truffles. Whether three or four courses, with or without wine accompaniment, whether gourmet restaurant, down-to-earth classic, vegetarian restaurant or innovative newcomer, each of these restaurants interpret the motto for itself and implements it in the sense of its individual kitchen line.
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD, MAIN COURSE! Their menu does not impose a main dish but offers a selection of dishes that you can combine and order as your mood takes you.
You have a menu that contains about 9 to 10 dishes and you can decide if you want 3, or 5 or all. Your decision. The dishes aren't small though, be prepared to eat!
The first Mushroom was the truffle. While I got served some bubbles, appeared bread and a fluffy beaten butter sprinkled with truffle and sea salt.
The menu looked exciting and the wine pairings as well. The First dish was a Porcini ravioli with smoked celery broth and pickled radish and black walnut. A mouth-watering combination. I am a fan of ravioli, but then again, who isn't?
The ravioli was paired with a delicious Weißburgunder from Weingut Krebs 2016, Fine on the nose and complex with hints of meadow flowers, ripe apples, and pears. This is accompanied by a fresh hint pineapple. Full with a fresh minerality, two of my favorite qualities for a light wine.
The next dish was a poached halibut, savoy cabbage, turnip and morel foam. The fish was very well made. the softness of it combined with the airy morel was really good.
The wine they selected to accompany this plate was a Grauburgunder "Juwel" from Juliane Eller 2016. A strong Pinot Gris with a dense aroma of fruits like melon and pear.
A Spätburgunder was being served. From Genheimer - Kiltz Vintage 2014. A full and strong dry wine with a milder taste of wood, peach, melon, and gooseberry.
While enjoying this beauty, the duck breast with pumpkin cream, oyster mushrooms, and potato crunch did its grand entry. The duck was tender and juicy, and I really loved the taste of the mushrooms with the pumpkin cream. That bird was exactly how I like it. I am still thinking of it.
Paring the dessert, was a Huxelrebe Auslese from Albiger Hundskopf 2015. The Huxelrebe grape is one of the so-called new breeds. Their crossing is between the two white grape varieties Gutedel and Coutellier Musqué. It has a juicy, spicy taste with aromas of caramel, honey, mango, orange, and peach.
Very well chosen wine for the Kefir, aerated chocolate, candied chestnuts, and fermented tea gel.
I can't wait to see what next year's Berlin Food Week will bring, or which restaurants will be part of the Stadtmenü. But for sure I will be there. As for BRICOLE, I will go again and try some more of their dishes as the ones I had so far, At the Côtes du Rhône Gourmet Crawl and BFW were delectable.
Here I leave you with a small video of that evening. It is always nice to see the ambiance of a restaurant in moving pictures than in regular ones.
We all know what a pub crawl is, and last week, I was invited to the first Côtes du Rhône "Blogger Gourmet Crawl" we took a tour in several venues to eat and have some drinks at each of them.
As we learned with Paul Truszkowski, You just have to follow the river! Along the length of its winding waters, Côte du Rhône vineyards thrive across 171 rich terroirs and vineyards, A valley bathed in the generous sun with 21 grape varieties that are officially included in the appellation.
We started at the wine shop Wine ++ in Kreuzberg, where we savored a our first wine: La Ferme Du Mont 2016 Côtes du Rhône "La Truffière" This exquisite white wine combines all the charm of the southern Rhône with the elegance of the northern Rhône.
With scents of lime blossom, mint, tarragon and lemon zest, and taste of apricot and quince. The well-integrated acidity gives the wine freshness and balance.
We started munching these delicious bites. Nutty, veggie or bacon. the 3 different appetizers were excellent and between this and the wine, we were looking forward to see where this evening of "progressing dining" would take us.
We walked our way to the Falckensteinstraße, to the wine shop NOER. They make your wine choice easier, as they divide their assortment into five NOER wine types: Funatiker, Wachmacher, Verführer, Abenteurer & Entschleuniger. And we got the explanation of it while we had a Château Rochecolombe Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2015 - A blend of Grenache and Syrah. This gourmand wine is smooth and unoaked - tremendous quality and taste for the price! It has a blackberry aroma, and notes of fragrant herbs. Very Fresh mouthfeel, enhanced by smooth tannins and a breezy finish.
Wines are described by adjectives like "easy", "heavy", "tangy", "crispy", "fruity", "woody", "mild" or "oily". There are hundreds of nuances that can be expressed in this way.
NOER collected these words, condensed them and arranged them according to their effect on the different situations of pleasure.
Funatiker: slim to strong wines, fruity, uncomplicated.
Wachmacher: delicate, crisp, racy, invigorating
Verführer: delicate, gentle, subtle, fragrant
Abenteuerer: wild, mineral, expressive
Entschleuniger: strong to heavy wines, soothing, soft, fine spicy
Cheese and cured meats arrived! woohoooo love it! One cheese with cristals, a delicious terrine, salami, venison ham and 2 mouth watering soft cheese with olives.
To match the wild and strong flavours of the cured meats and cheese, we were presented to a Halos de Jupiter 2014. This would be in the category "Abenteuer", with 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvèdre that was aged in neutral demi-muids. Its shockingly deep purple color has notes of exotics spices, leather, and darker fruits. Full-bodied, rich and nicely concentrated, with fine tannin and notable, acidity.
Next stop was BRICOLE (blogpost coming soon with the delicious menu I had last month) and we started with a Vacqueyras AOC 2014. A wine produced on a very clayey terroir with stones from the Ouvèze river, the Grenache is dominant and develops a fleshy wine. It's typical aromas of chocolate, cherry and fig match beautifully with the Syrah.
The food arrived and it was astonishing. An ox tail ragout with german "knödel" with fava beans and créme fraîche sprinkled with Valrhona chocolate. Oh my! I loved it. The whole ensemble was perfect. Maria from IN SEARCH OF went with the vegetarian dish with goat cheese balls.
The last wine of the evening arrived dancing with the dessert. A Cötes du Rhone AOC E. Guigal 2012. This wine is deep and dark red. Full and round with smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine with the taste of fresh fruits, red berries and spices. I found it incredibly elegant and pleasing.
The dessert was a out of the ordinary Créme Brûlée made with black sesame, plums, mascarpone and vanilla crumble. An awesome dish for the end of such a nice evening jumping around districts, drinking great wines and eating delicious food.
BLEND opened its doors last month in Charlottenburg and I was invited to an extraordinary opening event. The invitation said something about Charlottenburg, Bulli and Berlin. To be honest, it was Berlin Food Week so I really didn't had the time to read the invitation properly, but that was actually good, as I had no idea what was expecting me.
When I arrived, 3 beautiful vintage "Bullies" (or VW-Bus) were waiting for us.. or me as I was late. They received us with a delicious welcome gin and we jumped in our Bus and the fun started.
This was a tour through Berlin. YAY! I have been living here for over 2 years and I have never done one. We drove around listening to Berlin Facts and History of Berlin. (Now I know what the pink pipes around town are... wink..wink)
Our first stop was BRLO Brwhouse. A Beer Brewery and Restaurant with a beautiful "Beer Garden". The sun was shining and it was just beautiful. I learnt finally how you say the word brlo and the meaning of it. It is actually slavic for Berlin. Everytime I saw their beers in a menu I wondered how to pronounce it.
We got to hear about what is special about BRLO Beer. Their beers are brewed in small scale batches and each beer is given enough time to mature and develop its unique hops aroma. They remain as regional as possible: Their Helles is brewed in Brandenburg, and their Pale, German IPA, and Porter in Brauerei Landsberg in Saxony-Anhalt.
Our First dish was Cauliflower Lemongrass Creamy Soup paired with a BRLO Helles, what is their interpretation of a classic german beer, hoppy but not too bitter. It was a Great start: Warm and super creamy soup while enjoying the sun in the beautiful Beer Garden.
The second dish was a funny one for me. It was an Autumn Roll. Rumor say, I was the inspiration for this one. The Head Chef, Steffen Sinzinger was very curious about my stories of Vietnam and tried to make a summer roll himself, and his very tasty variation made it to the menu this autumn. They have cabbage, dashi mayo and pickled char.
Blend changes its menu when the season changes. Now they have the autumn menu and that is why the name of the roll is Autumn Roll. This dish was paired with BRLO Pale Ale, an English style beer. Strong and fruity in taste... hops love!
The next stop was the most romantic thing someone has ever made for me. A beautiful candlelight dinner outdoors in the Museum Island just in front the "Altes Museum". This was so beautiful: sunset, outdoors, candles... RO-MAN-TIC! Ok I was not alone with a date, but. Hey! it counts ;)
We started with a delicious Gin and Tonic, followed by BLEND´s Asia carbonara with soba noodles and caramelized pork belly packed in a cute Chinese Take out Box. The Soba were impressively good, made of buckwheat and they were cooked perfectly. My favorite dish by far!
Our 3rd and last stop was BLEND. I took a peek through the window, just to be attonish by the marquee sign logo A-lá-Vegas, the beautiful interior and lights.. I had to hurry inside to check it out!
This beautiful space was designed by the Sundukovy Sisters Studio (Moscow) who have a vast portfolio of interior design projects for hospitality worldwide. They create pure and flawless spaces based on something classic, making it functional and tasteful. with a pinch self-irony.
Every little corner of the restaurant is well thought, wherever you look there is a beautiful lamp or a giant zebra. Beautiful... Just beautiful.
Soooo about the Restaurant and Bar. Berlin is a multicultural, cosmopolitan and diverse. A city full of people from all over the world that influence the local culture as well as its culinary scene.
BLEND is Inspired by the multi-ethnic population, and reflects the spirit and soul of Berlin as a "Melting Pot": free, modern, urban, and with a creative twist that picks up on the versatility of flavors, cultures and cooking styles blending them all together in a pot ;)
The Bar has great craft beers, like German producers Braufactum and BRLO (of course) as well as Kornbrand and Gin of the Berlin cult label Berliner Brandstifter. From the Spreewald they have a single malt whiskey and a first-class straight rye whiskey and three kinds of rum, bottled in BERLIN.
After serving the first round of wine, the bread and side dishes arrived: Parsley root cream, Mash Potatoes and Pearl Barley with vegetables. rapidly the waiters brought us Lamb balls, hummus, salsify and coffee, followed by Fried cod with date, carrot and cilantro.
When you live in Berlin, you dont notice much the impact different cultures have on Food, like vietnamese food in East Germany. I always wondered why there so many Vietnamese and Vietnamese Fusion Restaurants around my flat. Well, Vietnamese people didn't need a visa to come to east germany when the wall was still up. Just a cool fact. You can find these fusions everywhere in Berlin, and BLEND shows us that in their menu.
The first dessert arrived as well as Steffen. Steffen Sinzinger is the head chef of BLEND and a friend of mine as well. He began his career at the Michelin-starred restaurant of Hotel Palace Berlin. It was there, under the direction of Matthias Buchholz, that he got to know French cooking. His break with tradition followed with Japanese crossover cuisine at Shiro i Shiro, before he developed his own style as head chef at Restaurant Le Faubourg.
Once we finished the Baba au rhum with pineapple Carpaccio and saffron ice cream, The Berliner Luft arrived. Funny wise, half of the table know that name from a shot of alcohol made of peppermint. But it is actually a dessert too, and the best of the evening imho.
Berliner Luft (Berlin Air) is a frothy cream made from eggs, sugar and gelatine, which is always served with raspberry juice, but in this version, with lemon granite. And for being "air" it was the most mouth-watering air I had.
We moved to the bar to have the last dessert, listen to music and have some cocktails. The menu has classics with a twist of Berlin, Seasonal cocktails as well as the classics. And we all wished we could try them all. I even got a special drink: Gin with rose petals and Goldberg Japanese Yuzu Tonic. Aaaaahhhhh three of my favorite things in ONE. Followed by a Goat cheese nougat with plum chutney. Yum.
And whilst the DJ continued to play some tunes, I got my second Gin, happy after such a beautiful event and culinary tour across town, learning about history, Berlin and more with awesome people, eating and drinking, "blending" and having a blast.
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...