Selecta dines with Kings: Podere Cadassa, Balik and Prunier
On 11th May 2023, amidst the heady scents of Podere Cadassa’s natural wine cellars and the elegance of its restaurant Al Vèdel in Colorno (PR), the evening of “A Cena con i Re” (“Dinner with Kings”) was held, organised by hosts of Chef Enrico Bergonzi and Maître Marco Pizzigoni. At the table were a number of Selecta supplier-partners, togther with their gastronomic excellences.
This event was not held behind closed doors but was organised to delight the palates of diners, also as a gourmet rendezvous devoted to experimenting with new luxurious, refined and innovative gastronomic combinations, always with the intention of strengthening the link with tradition of which Selecta and its partners are proud custodians.
Podere Cadassa showcased its renowned Culatello and typical cured meats from Emilia with long maturation, Balik its smoked salmon according to the ancient and secret recipe of the Tsars of Russia, and Prunier its three Baerii, Paris and Asetra caviars of the highest quality and processed according to the tradition of the artisans of the Caspian Sea. Three prestigious brands presenting a selection of excellences with a strong character and varying organoleptic properties that are perfectly coordinated – sure to invite, indulge and complement each other, in a triumph of flavours and aromas.
It would be remiss not to begin the evening with an aperitif, amidst the fragrances of cured meats expertly processed and matured in Podere Cadassa’s natural maturing cellars. For the tastings: cured meats from the selected Maiale Nero production, from Culatello and the 5-year-old Pancetta along with the Spalla Cruda and Salami.
Dinner was served with the protagonists recounting the history and craftsmanship of their respective companies, exalted by an in-depth sensory analysis, all to further strengthen the gustatory memory of the dishes on offer.
Brothers Oliver and Philipp Fahr told the story of Balik, born from a small and very historic Swiss farm thanks to founders Hans Gerd Kübel and Martin Cloti, who dreamed of re-claiming the flavours of smoked salmon fillet according to the ancient recipe preserved at the court of the Russian Tsars. This recipe had been in danger of being lost forever following the Revolution of October 1917.
To ensure the same quality as in the past, Balik has established a strict specification that Norwegian salmon must be bred, slaughtered and immediately frozen for transport to the small farm in Ebersol, Switzerland.
Once the salmon arrives at the workshop, it is thawed, washed with spring water and processed according to that special, historic and secret recipe, both in terms of the marinade and the woods used in the smoking process.
The new “Sashimi Style” fillet, the great classics such as the “Zar Nikolaj” fillet and the Number One “Zar Nikolaj” fillet were also included in the tasting.
“Sashimi Style” – Balik’s only non-smoked product – was presented by Chef Enrico Bergonzi in its purest form, sliced diagonally to allow diners to appreciate its basic qualities. One of the strengths of this product lies in its versatility of use, as each chef has the opportunity to experiment with an ingredient of the utmost quality, just waiting to be interpreted with their own signature style, be it with a typical or seasonal note.
An excellence like “Zar Nikolaj” further emphasised the finesse and elegance of the smoking, as well as the art of slicing, which makes all the difference when tasting, allowing for different tasting notes to be perceived.
This was followed by the Prunier Baerii caviar served on Pata Oro along with the Paris caviar, first tasted pure on the back of the hand then re-evoked in a creative saffron, lime and oyster risotto.
The slightly iodised flavour, the notes of oyster and Nori seaweed, of the Baerii caviar blended perfectly with the delicacy of potato. The very slight savouriness of the Paris caviar – together with its hints of dried fruit – then provided the perfect balance to the richly-flavoured and aromatic risotto.
To conclude the rich banquet came one last treat: the “Challenge of Kings”. For this daring dish, Chef Enrico Bergonzi succeeded in combining the three excellences of Culatello Podere Cadassa black pork, Balik Zarina salmon and Prunier Asetra caviar.
The essence of this challenge was to enhance the three gastronomic excellences, without overlapping their respective tasting notes.
The secret to this sleight of hand was once again the potato as the star, its delicacy then restored the balance needed to appreciate the flavours of each individual product. Tasting notes were discussed between tastings, such as the hazelnut hints typical of Culatello and Asetra Caviar.
The gathering of Podere Cadassa, Balik and Prunier was a triumph for the senses, an opportunity to experience unique flavours and to appreciate the excellences of these three icons in the world of gastronomy.
This extraordinary collaboration demonstrated just how the art of food can weave in tradition, quality and innovation to create memorable gastronomic experiences.
Photo Credit Antonio Pupa