Maaemo, Part II
I’m starting this post on Friday, January 25th with the high aspiration that I’ll finish. The more days that pass, the more my taste bud memory diminishes. I said we received about 20 small bites in my previous post, but it was more like 26.
After we finished our “appetizer bites,” then began the train of our “10″ courses with wine pairings.
Last Years Pine & Langoustine
Wine pairing: Riesling QBA, Egon Muller 2011
This was an amazing start to our entrees. The lobster was from Frøya and roasted in pine infused butter. Once it arrived to our table, it was painted with a glaze from last years spruce and rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is not that common in the states, I was unfamiliar with it until I came to Scandinavia, but it’s a pretty neutral smelling and tasting oil, good when you don’t want an oil to overpower or flavor too much.
This was actually one of my favorite dishes. The langoustine was a perfect texture, buoyancy is the word I’m looking for here. The butter gave it a touch of sweetness and the pine, a smoky flavor. For wine, they paired this with a German Riesling. It wasn’t a sweet Riesling though.
And I can’t remember, but they poured something in it to give it the misty, foggy flavor…which added to the presentation.
Hand Dived Scallops & Carrot
Wine Pairing: Sydre Argelette, Eric Bordelet 2011
This was another hand dived dish. I had hand-picked scallops when I visited The Tower Restaurant in Scotland and it was memorable. Perhaps its all in my head, but I really feel like the items I’ve had that have been hand-picked taste so much better. I suppose it could be that I’m eating the item with more care and consciousness as well.
This dish consisted of Diver Scallops from Frøya, which is an area in Norway with many fishing communities. The oceanic climate creates for a fairly steady climate through the year, steady in that there isn’t a dramatic shift between hot and cold. In my opinion, it’s always cool or cold there, with temperatures never hardly ever reaching above 15 C or below 1 C, I’d say it’s not a bad place to be in the winter. Unless of course, its windy…
The scallops were served raw with a mousseline of sea buckthorn and carrot vinaigrette. Mousseline sauce is similar to a Hollandaise sauce, with the addition of whipped cream. Although, I think they used the sea buckthorn, which is similar to a berry, as an oil here instead of using whipped cream. The carrots were hardly detected in this dish, everything always maintained a delicate nature.
Glass pairing: Hvede, Bøgedal 2012
I’m not gonna lie, I was really ready for some bread by this point. What do Scandinavians do better but then make amazing sourdough. This sourdough was made of wheat and wild emmer served with butter from Røros. To add depth, instead of giving us wine, they paired it with a Danish beer.
The butter was delicious, we wanted more. Well, I needed more at this point, I was getting so flushed from all the alcohol. My confident boyfriend fearlessly asked what I only dared to dream, “Can we have more bread?” I mean it seemed like such a waste of not use all the butter. The server laughed…I don’t think anyone’s ever asked that before.
We didn’t get any more bread either.
Hey, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Celeriac and Apple
Glass pairing: Silvaner Spätlese Trocken Rudolf May 2008
I was quite unfamiliar with Celeriac Root as well until I came to Europe. I don’t recall using this item much in the states. It’s a turnip looking thing, that is quite unappealing initially. It tastes great when cooked though.
This dish was all celeriac. Celeriac salt was baked for 6 hours with a cream of caramelized celeriac, reduced celeriac juice and showcased with apple flavored sago pearls.
Sago pearls is quite similar to Tapoica, in fact, I think you could use the two interchangeably.
Onion & Aquavit
Glass pairing: Riesling Auslese “Urzigel Wurzgarten” Joh, Christoffel Jr. 1998
Picked onions in aquavit were served with salted arctic char and elderflower. It was then topped with a grilled wheatgrass vinaigrette. I know wheatgrass. I don’t use it as much as some of my raw/vegan health nutty friends :-) but, I’m familiar with the smell and I’ve used it on multiple occasions in times where I’ve tried to pretend I’m being healthier.
I was unfamiliar with Aquavit (akvavit) till I came to Scandinavia. It’s a traditional flavored spirit in Norway, which gets its distinct flavor from the infusion of spices, particularly caraway and dill. It’s a powerful liquor at 40%, it’s a sort of vodka. This dish was also served with Arctic Char, which is in the family of the Salmon. I love Salmon.
This dish was an addition to the other items. It was potato baked in butter which was infused with salted mutton (which my boyfriend had), dried eggy yolk and a fondue of cheese from the Island of Hitra in Norway. This was a rich goodness that reminded me of potato gratin with a sort of crunchy tempura texture sprinkled around.
Leek & Bone Marrow
Glass Pairing: Saint-Joseph, “Les Oliviers” Pierre Gonon 2011
Minus the meat, our dishes were identical. A quail egg was served in the center surrounded by burnt leek. Salted veal tongue sat atop the savory leek bites and the dish was embellished with a dressing of Ramson. Ramson sauce is a very powerful garlic sauce and if my memory serves me correctly, there was hints of some other herb in there as well, like coriander or parsley. It was a translucent sort of pesto sauce.
Reindeer & Jerusalem Artichoke
Glass Pairing: Volnay 1 Cru Champans D’Angerville 2006
This food and wine pairing was my absolute favorite. I loved the langoustine and the oyster emulsion from the appetizers, but the wine pairing with the combination of flavors from this dish was fantastic. Honestly, by this point, I had probably had a bit too much to drink, nearly to the point where you might not remember what you tasted. However, this has implanted itself firmly in my memory.
I can’t remember what they did with my dish though to make it vegetarian, next time I’ll take better notes I promise!! I’m guessing it was some sort of mushroom?? My boyfriend had the reindeer with raw Jerusalem artichoke ash and last years truffle. There was a glaze of balsamic plum vinegar (oh how I love thee balsamic) and a muesli of walnuts, oats, and more Jerusalem artichoke. Lots of great texture to each bite. I’d like to get my hands on this bottle though, its a 100% Pinot Noir and rich in flavor and smoothness.
Cheese from Eggen Dairy Farm
Glass pairing: Mas Amiel 1980
Of all the cheeses, blue cheese is my least favorite. We’ve tried it time and time again, very expensive ones as well, and our tastes buds still don’t receive the flavors well. In other words, this was my least favorite dish of the evening. However, it was complemented well with the balsamic beads throughout and nicely finished with the wine.
I’m sure someone else who loves blue cheese would probably argue that this was incredible.
and the finale of sweets…
I won’t go into too much detail here as I was quite flushed from all the wine by this point and I’m trying to finish writing this post. I love sweets and ice cream and generally have a hard time distinguishing between something that’s amazing to incredible.
This was a buttermilk sorbet with herb tea and frozen sour cream. Think natural frozen yogurt, but a bit pricier.
Wheat Beer Vinegar, Rye & Mead
Glass pairing: Gueze Tilquin 2012
A sorbet of vinegar, but think a delicious vinegar sorbet. The wheat vinegar was made of rye cream, mead burnt marzipan, and dehydrated porridge from rye and porter.
Butter from Røros
Glass pairing: Vinsanto La Chimera, Monsanto 1995
Again, I love ice cream and I find it hard to go wrong with anything that includes a dessert wine. I loved this dessert. It was an ice cream topped with a caramel glaze of brown butter served above a hazelnut crumble and molasses. The wine highlighted the caramel notes and added a nice dark depth to each spoonful.
Brown cheese and strawberry
Brown cheese is big in Norway. It’s basically a caramelized whey or goat cheese.
The restaurant was dark. The days are quite short in Norway right now, so I didn’t get the opportunity to really have a good look at the environment, but there were lots of black and white scenic pictures on the wall. The service was remarkable. Our server was prompt and attentive, clearly overworked but he didn’t bear the burdensome load on his face at all. We had a lot of fun making jokes and questioning him about the dishes.
As I mentioned already, my boyfriend spoils me. The price he paid for this meal equalled a really nice engagement ring. Thinking about how much it cost makes me blush. This classifies as a once in a lifetime experience, a step towards crossing off another item on my bucket list. May there be many lifetimes for us in this lifetime.
Would I recommend eating here?
Would I eat here again?
Only if I’ve already eaten at the other amazing restaurants in Europe and needed to revisit a first time experience.
It’s now Monday afternoon…this post took me 4 days to complete. ha, so much for sticking to the task at hand.
- Maaemo (yoginisquest.wordpress.com)