By: Khethu Xaba and Daz Mokoena
I have two dinner party rules I stringently adhere to. The first one is punctuality, I think the worst thing you can do when someone is feeding you is mess up their timing. The second is desserts with fruit. I will honestly leave your dinner party early if you serve me fruits, it’s like you are forcing me to mix business with pleasure- and quite frankly I don’t have the calories to waste on such. However, when I went to a food and wine tasting at the restaurant Medeo at the Palazzo in, Montecasino, I had to break from both rules with surprising results.
The event was scheduled to start at 12:00, but I only arrived at 12:35. Luckily, the organizers were very accommodating (thanks, Amanda and Annie) and we were off to a good start. The ambiance, the people, and the setting were all integral ingredients for a recipe of a good day out.
As one would expect from an event of this type the courses and wines were expertly paired to ensure the ultimate taste compliment- even the coffee at the end was served with a selection of liqueurs.
I knew we were off to a great start when they offered us welcome drinks, this zesty wine spritzer mix that was delicious and a bit potent. The conversation started flowing. Even though our smart phones were determined to fester some form of barrier, we persevered right through the awkward and ‘small talk’ part to more naturally flowing conversation.
Living by the motto of ‘striking while the iron is hot’, they brought out the starter. The light and delicately presented calamari starter was prepared by Executive Sous Chef, Gareth Jordaan. The starter- comprising of variations of calamari, tomato confit, pernon aiolo and pickled onion- looked almost too beautiful eat. Mustering my best Simba impression, I sighed, went ‘oh well, hakuna matata’ and dove in. The flavours were crisp and fresh, the only drawback was that there was not enough calamari- even in its collective variants. Kudos to the sommelier, Miguel Chan for the wine pairing of the Paul Glover Estate Gewurztraminer, it’s now my favourite wine. 3/5
Up next was the main course, a duck and cherry pie prepared by Executive Chef Gerard Vingerling. The pastry was cooked perfectly, the duck filling was moist and crammed into every inch of the pie. The only drawback to this dish was that it was lightly seasoned, and I would have loved some accompaniments in the form of vegetables or salad. 4/5
As I have said earlier, I have a do or die rule when it comes to dessert. If a dessert doesn’t have flour, chocolate or some cakey element- then expect me to chuck up my deuces. And I will be honest, when I saw the menu listing a dessert of strawberry marshmallows, my spirits fell. But in the spirit of adventure I decided to try it with an open mind and it was delicious. The sorbet scoop was the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the fritters well done without being dry. I would honestly score the Pastry Chef, Beverly Bogatsu, a higher mark if the dessert did not go against my fundamental rule for desserts. 4/5