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Malta Gala Dinner

St Georges Bay, October 18, 2013

A night of bursting flavours and epicurean wines

It was another night of splendour for the Bailliage at The Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, feasting on the most amazing combination of ingredients and wines which satisfied all the taste buds.

Photos (c) The Corinthia Hotel

Members and guests were welcomed in the intimate setting of the hotel’s Grill 3301. It was a sparkling night, not only because the moon shone through the clear skies and over the calm Mediterranean Sea, but also because of the bubbles of the excellent Franciacorta Brut ‘Cuvée Prestige’ by Ca del Bosco from the Lombardy region of Italy. Delicious canapés were served to accompany the well-made, balanced sparkling aperitif, a wine made mainly from Chardonnay, but with small percentages of Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco.

After some catching up and introductions to warm up the evening, guests settled down to a pre-dinner welcome address by Chancelier Charles Gatt to formally open the eighth and penultimate dining event for 2013.

Charles announced that the dinner was being prepared by Executive Chef Kevin Arpa, who is renowned for his culinary creativity. Present to show confidence in his staff, including the excellent detail in service, was host and Corinthia General Manager, Maître Hôtelier Stuart Chappell.

Charles also extended a special welcome to a new member, Chevalier Alexander Marcar and welcomed Dr Ramiro Cali-Corleo, a newly-appointed Chargé de Missions on the National Council. Based on his track record Ramiro will organise the Bailliage casual dinners normally held between gala events.

The dinner started with an exquisite asparagus and vanilla velouté, porcini mushroom puff and thyme oil, downed with a clean, pleasing citrus nose and taste but very smooth Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Clos Henri from Marlborough (New Zealand). The Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2011 has won Top 100 and Blue-Gold in the Sydney International Wine Competition 2013.

The same wine accompanied another interesting dish, a grouper and octopus carpaccio, basil and lemon jelly, petit salad and caviar dressing.

In transition to the main course, guests were treated to an innovative black velvet sorbet, exotically presented in ‘flaming’ ice bowls.

Then it was time for a slow-roasted loin of lamb, crispy belly, caramelised shallots tarte tatin, wilted greens and Barolo jus. This was the most delicious main course one can imagine. Its partner was an equally sophisticated Chateau Sociando-Mallet 2008, Haut-Médoc from France. The wine paired well with the food, with a nose of dark berries, currant and toasted oak.

The palate was cleaned with white chocolate mousse, green apple purée, apple ice-cream, accompanied by an interesting fruity Moscato d’Asti Zagara 2012 by Marchesi di Barolo, Piedmont, Italy.

One cannot but compliment vintners Paolo Bonnici & Son Ltd for their outstanding choice of wines which complemented throughout the high level of food served.

The very pleasant evening was brought to a close by the Bailli Délégué Dr. Joseph Xuereb commenting on the food and wines. It was with much pleasure that he toasted the Executive Chef, his Brigade and all who served the dinner so impeccably.

Ingrid Zerafa