Ever since the birth of my baby girl my life has changed in so many ways. I prefer spending time with her above any other thing in this world!! As a result one of the changes that had to be made is going less out for dinner then before 🙂 I know it sometimes seems like I still go out very often, but in reality it is a lot less than before. If I had problems choosing before where to go, I can say it didn’t become easier now I go out less… Do I try something new or go to a place I’ve already been lots of times?A luxury problem, but still a problem ;-). For my birthday last week it was faith that brought back to a restaurant Mondevino I had been craving for to go back for 2 years (mainly because it’s quit distant from where I live). Why faith? To make a long story short, I won a voucher for a 5 course meal for 2 people 🙂 I never win something (definitely because I have too much love in my life), so it just had to be faith telling me something. My birthday also seemed like the perfect opportunity to use the voucher. Mondevino stands for the well-known Limburg hospitality, comfort, great food, great wines and for an evening never to forget (or afternoon if you go for lunch 😉 ) . I had also taken my precautions and found a little hotel close by… better safe than sorry!!
On a very sunny day like it had been that day, one just wants to sit outside! So we did… but only for the apero as in Belgium the sun has to shine quite a bit before you can really stay out all night. We started our night with (how else) local Belgian bubbles (Trilogie) from the Optimbulles winery accompanied by perfectly (thin) sliced dried ham and some olives and shrimp/curry based appetizer. All that followed was the perfect recipe for a wonderful evening great food paired with the perfect matching wines… As Kris (the owner) and his wife Agna know I’m a wine lover they took our pairing to another level (or my pairing as my wife didn’t want to drink/taste as much as me)….
The First dish from our menu was a revisited version of ‘vitello tonnato’. Tuna sauce combined veal, asparagus and roasted butternut. For the wine we started just outside of the traditional Burgundy (Côteaux Bourguign) region with a 2015 Sacy wine 🙂 (Sacy as in the grapes, not the word sassy 🙂 ) made at the Domaine Gueguen. The Sacy grape is a grape ripens early, and produces light-colored wines low in acid and alcohol. A grape that had almost disappeared… if you found it was mostly in a blend from Crémant de Bourgogne. In the nose it does remind a bit of Sauvignon… but in the mouth it is fresher and les “full” or aromatic, but a very nice match with the delicate flavors of the dish.
Catfish with white cabbage, cockles and fresh herbs…for this dish Kris had foreseen some “spielerei”: 2 glasses of wine and for me to find out which wines it were… n°1 didn’t tell me anything as it was pretty closed at the first sniff. N°2 was familiar, but as always from where do I remember it?? My first tip was that they were both from the same country, but from a different part of that country 🙂 🙂 After a while Kris finally pulled me out of my misery and revealed the wines… Both French, the first one a 2014 Grenach made by the Le Plan estate from the Côtes du Rhône regoin and the second a 2014 Chardonnay by Pascal Marchand from Burgundy.
Next the Duroc porc belly with brioche, mushrooms and radicchio…This dish was without doubt given to make me crave for the dish that followed which was a very succulent piece Solomillo “Duroc” meat perfectly cooked and still waters my mouth just by thinking of it. For these dishes some Italian wines seemed to do the trick 🙂 The first a 2013 Refosco from the Terre di Ger (Friuli Region) and the second wine a 2007 Guidalberto (red Tuscan) from the Tenuta San Guido (better known as the winery that makes Sassicaia – one of the Super Tuscans). Although The Guidalberto was a very gentle , delicate and tannic wine that I usually prefer drinking, I did prefer the Refosco with the Solomillo meat… In general a Refosco is quite powerful and tannic, with a deep violet color and a slight bitterness and mostly gets blended with a merlot to soften it. But in this case the 100% Refosco is actually fruitier/juicier and a nice marriage with the dish.
Strawberries with lime, vanilla and ‘Napoleon’ ice sorbet. Napoleon is a in 1912 invented Antwerp piece of candy with a lemon taste, it is hard at the outside and a soft very very lemony and inside (historic Belgian piece of candy). From this piece of candy the Mondevino made a sorbet 🙂 combined with the sweetness of the vanilla and strawberries it was a very refreshing dessert! Kris paired with a legendary HungarianTokaji dessert wine made by the The Royal Tokaji Wine Company. The official name of the wine is Hàrslevelü Late Harvest pajzos Tokaij … not to sweet, just right 🙂 with a rich aroma with hints of peach and ripe apple and a juicy finish.
For me a dish is perfect when it has deep flavors that blow you away. Flavors that only can get obtained when a chef cooks with love and patience. A perfect example would be a Belgian stew that has cooked long and slow and rested overnight is a whole different story than one quickly made and immediately served… Only the first one will have to first one will have the flavors it is supposed to have!! To come back to the Mondevino dishes, they all had these deep flavors… which basically shows that the chef knows what he’s doing and he’s doing it with passion that he wants share with as many people possible(passionate people are always best)… resulting in me also eating it with lots passion as every bite invites for a second bite…
Very satisfied we turned to our hotel for a good night of sleep (without having to wake-up early as our baby girl was at my mom’s 🙂 ).
Thanks again Kris and Agna for making my birthday dinner so wonderful and see you soon! I am also sooo in love with your Berkel meatslicer 🙂