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Slovenia Dinner

Nova Gorica, March 21, 2014

Tastes of the sea in the Valley of Roses

Pikol Restaurant is situated in the fairy-tail site that is the Valley of Roses of Nova Gorica. From here, Italy is only a step away. Besides the Italian-wide reputation of Pikol, this proximity probably had much to do with the fact that two Italian members, Antonio and his wife Juliana, joined us to share the marvellous tastes on offer.

The dinner was themed “Tastes of the sea in the Valley of Roses” with the passage of winter to spring being an additional inspiration. A warm welcome and a glass of Silveri Penina Cuvee Brut were afforded to everyone on arrival.

For the dinner, the first course introduced us to the “tastes of spring”: wild garlic biscuits were accompanied by Gorgonzola foam, asparagus spread and toč (a sort of a dip) of Mangalitza prosciutto with Balsamic vinegar. Silveri Rebula white wine worked very nicely with the spring sensations of the dish.

The excellent fish course was baked diced Adriatic shrimp mixed with celery and moulded into nicely shaped cylinder. This was set in the centre of an oval plate with an ‘S’ scribbled by black salt ink, and sprinkled by a molecular cuisine inspired dehydrated olive oil. Tiare Sauvignon was perhaps a little too strong to be able to fully enjoy the subtleties of the dish. However each were much enjoyed separately!

Always innovative the Pikol kitchen had a new Valentine’s Day inspired dish: intriguingly it is called “an inside-out egg in the hayloft”. As you can see from the photograph, it is in fact a two-coloured soup (yellow made from baby carrots and ginger, and the white from Jerusalem artichoke), served in sensitively chosen Martini-like glasses set on a bed of hay.

Next came ‘bleki’ – a type of noodle cut into small squares – with Chinese oyster sauce. The Pikol sommelier chose a Limited Edition Malvazia the taste of which was not to be missed.

The star course of the evening was a giant Adriatic bass – only baked with some salt and a few drops of olive oil the chef claimed. Simply cooked it might have been but nevertheless a masterpiece! Silveri Vintage Extra Brut sparkling wine, with its aromas of apples, cinnamon, and raisins was gently sipped in homage to the extraordinary qualities of the fish and its accompaniments.

Dessert was a sweet treat of cocoa crumble topped with blueberry and red orange sorbet and accompanied by lightly-frozen yoghurt foam. The sweet Rebula Teran liqueur nicely partnered the delicate cocoa-fruit combination.

Mirjam Dular                                                                                                                    Photos: Tomaž Dular, Officier