Dinner with Chen

lifestyle October 29, 2012 00:00


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A young Chinese chef demonstrates his expertise in Piedmontese cuisine at the World Gourmet Festival


Born in Shanghai and interested in cooking since he was a small boy, Shiqin Chen was barely out of his teens when he first travelled to Europe. There, on a whim, he signed up for a course at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners. 
A series of internships followed, allowing the young chef to work his way up through the kitchens of Piedmont in Italy’s north. For the best part of a decade, he worked alongside Gianpiero Vivalda at the Antica Corona Reale in Cervere is today considered an expert in Piedmontese cuisine. 
Recently, the 32-year-old joined La Rei, the gourmet restaurant of Il Boscareto Resort & Spa, which earned its first Michelin Star last year, and it was as its representative that he came to Bangkok recently to join the World Gourmet Festival at Four Seasons Hotel.
The Batasiolo wine dinner at Biscotti started with Chen’s seared scallop, fresh tomato sauce and basil, matched with Prosecco 7 Cascine Spumante Extra Dry NV. This sparkling wine is made from 100 per cent Prosecco grapes from Veneto. Very soft on the palate and refreshing in its acidity, it gave the scallop a sweeter taste and a smoother texture.
The second course was Langoustine salad, Noto almond cream and Osetra Caviar served with Batasiolo Gavi del Comune di Granee DOCG 2011 from the Granee vineyard. This elegant, fine white wine is made from Cortese grapes grown around the village of Gavi and is one of the most important dry white wines from Piedmont to have earned the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllada e Garantita) appellation. Even though salad was hard to pair with wine, the almond cream and caviar went well with the fresh and dry wine, which also featured hints of bitter almonds.
The third course was Foie Gras Terrine, cherry compote with Barolo Chinato sauce and paired with Batasiolo Babera d’Alba Sovrana DOC 2009. This Babera is also the name of the grape grown in Alba over the hills in the Barolo wine-growing area. The wine is stored in small oak barrels for around 12-15 months then, after careful tasting, blended and bottled. The “Sovrana” – or “sovereign” – is then matured for a further 8-10 months. Babera is a very pleasant red wine for any occasion and paired beautifully with the terrine.
Then came pumpkin risotto, goat cheese, 
 amaretti with aged balsamic served with Batasiolo La Corda della Briccolina, Barolo DOC 2006. Barolo is made from Nebbiolo grapes grown on the hills of the village of Serralunga d’Alba in the heart of the Barolo winemaking area. 
The wine is placed in barriques, where it stays for at least two years after fermentation and a further year in the bottle, developing a full nose and overtones of ripe fruit that blend well with the wood. It was a full-bodied wine with soft, velvety tannins that went well with the texture and taste of goat cheese and the amaretti.
The meat dish was white wine braised beef shoulder, black figs, potato puree with black truffle sauce paired with Batasiolo Bofani, Barolo DOCG 2003. 
The vineyards from which this wine is made are located in the village of Monforte d’Alba, and cover one of the most interesting slopes of the “Munie” hillside, considered by many to be one of the best positions in the valley of Barolo. The wine had an ethereal, spicy nose with a touch of vanilla, and a dry, full, velvety finish with a liquorice aftertaste. The black truffle sauce and the texture of the beef shoulder matched the highlight of the night. 
Gianduja Chocolate Tortino with hazelnut sauce served with Batasiolo Moscato 
 d’Asti Basc D’la Rei DOCG 2011 finished the meal. The chocolate went very well with the sweetness and fruity aroma of the Moscato and its frizzante cut the richness of the chocolate and hazelnut sauce. Many guests opted out of dessert and enjoyed the Moscat d’Asti by itself.
Grappa Batasiolo di Barolo was served as a digestif. A fragrant pomace brandy made from Mosacto grapes, it had a full, dry flavour, with just the right amount of alcohol with a concentrated blend of aromas expressing the soul of the wine.