Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In This Issue

• Manresa’s Mitch Lienhard Wins Top Honors
• Places We Love
• The Little, Sweet Dragon
• The Bywater
• Holiday Pre-Orders Coming Soon to Manresa Bread

Manresa's Mitch Lienhard Wins Top Honors at S. Pellegrino Young Chef Competition

Our congratulations to Manresa’s Chef de Cuisine Mitch Lienhard for taking first place in the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition in Milan on October 15. Mitch took top honors with his “roasted duck with spiced orange and yam” dish, competing against 19 other finalists from around the globe. He was selected by a jury of seven internationally acclaimed chefs including David Higgs, Carlo Cracco, Gaggan Anand, Elena Arzak, Mauro Colagreco, Wylie Dufresne and Roberta Sudbrack. For a full recap, click here.

Places We Love ...

Falling in love with cooking is pretty much the best experience that has ever happened to me. It can be hard and physically demanding but I can’t think of anything more rewarding on so many levels.  Being passionate about one’s métier, to learn and explore affords one great opportunities and experiences, many of which become memories of a lifetime.

I get great pleasure in traveling, visiting and dining in inspirational restaurants and locations; this sense of discovery never gets old. In 2007 I had the chance to visit Olivier Roellinger’s Les Maisons de Bricourt, a Relais & Chateaux property in Cancale, France, a beautiful Breton town by the sea. Olivier was one of the true masters for me of a beautiful and sensitive cuisine—of where he was, where he was born and grew up, and the pleasures of beautiful product and cuisine. It is a meal that remains one of the best of my life, one I return to again and again in memories and dreams.

A lot has changed for Jane and Olivier in Cancale, yet on a recent return visit much has remained the same.

The original restaurant, where Olivier was born, is now his Atelier and production area for his namesake spice company, which showcases his passion of working with the world’s best spices, treating them respectfully and creating many masterful blends. We use them here at Manresa in our search for the best.

Their beautiful restaurant Le Coquillage is fantastic, with new dishes and renditions of his classics all being executed by Olivier’s son Hugo in a masterful way. Housed in the stately Chateau Richeux overlooking the Bay and oyster beds, Mont St. Michel glimmers on the horizon. It is difficult to imagine a more serene and delicious experience.

Best of all, the Roellinger Family has created a new space of six gorgeous rooms just a short walk through the fields and gardens of the Chateau called La Ferme du Vent. With no Internet and no television, La Ferme du Vent features a series of private Celtic baths leads you to a place where you are affected most by the sea, the tides, the moon and the sound of nature all around. All of this is enhanced by a natural comfort—something is seems only the French have mastered.

I give my highest recommendation to all to enter the universe of the Roellinger family. The bounty of the sea, their rhythm with the seasons, the smell of the bread they bake, the aromatic spices, the galettes made with salted butter (which just might be the best cookie in the world), their spirit of generosity and hospitality is worth a special journey from anywhere to create your own memories. Just go. —David Kinch

The Little, Sweet Dragon ...

I have been caught up in a few conversations recently about greatness in wine: what that means, whether we are too concerned with the “great” wines, whether we should value more highly the “merely” good… I am lucky enough being at a restaurant like Manresa that I come into frequent contact with wines we would all agree are “great,” but I keep thinking about (and drinking!) this wine from a variety nobody really considers “great”.

The 2010 Bricco del Drago from Poderi Colla is Dolcetto—and not 100% Dolcetto like the lovely wines of Dogliani DOCG, but a wine that is blended with 15% Nebbiolo, a fairly unusual combination. Dolcetto is an everyday wine in Piedmont: along with Barbera, Freisa, and Ruché, it is drunk with regular meals while the prime Nebbiolo-based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are cellared for special occasions. Dolcetto means “little sweet one,” as the low-acid grapes at harvest have a lovely sweet taste, though the high tannins in the variety mean that there is always an enticing bitterness in the finished wine. In fact, the way good Dolcetto-based wines work on the palate is uniquely Italian in the way they combine bitterness and sweetness in such a delicious fashion.

This unusual blend has been produced since 1969, when Beppe Colla began adjusting the unusually high-quality Dolcetto grapes with a touch of Nebbiolo to “soften” the wine. Now, I am not sure if that is just a bad translation from Italian, but it is hard to imagine Nebbiolo “softening” anything with its ferocious tannin and high acid, but it does give you an idea of just how structured the Dolcetto grapes are from the Bricco del Drago (the “Hill of the Dragon”).

Beppe Colla is a legend in the Langhe hills. He took over the Prunotto winery in 1956 and brought it to prominence, and in 1961 he produced the first labeled single-vineyard wines in the Barolo zone, a concept that is now commonplace. He was also very involved in writing the DOC laws for the Langhe appellations, and possesses an intimate knowledge of the best sites for Barolo and Barbaresco—he is one of the titans of the Langhe along with Renato Ratti, Bruno Giacosa, and Giacomo Conterno… and still going strong at 86! 

This wine may actually make it onto the wine list at Manresa, if I stop buying the bottles from the cellar and drinking them! Jim Rollston, MS, Wine Director

The Bywater

Planning a holiday party? The Bywater now offers several spaces for private events from its bar to its back patio. Work with Chef Dave Morgan to create your own New Orleans-style affair from passed bites and cocktails to a more formal seated experience. Contact Erin Wiley, private events coordinator, for more information: erin@thebywaterca.com

Keep an eye out for new additions to the food and cocktail menus as they head into the cooler season by visiting the website for following The Bywater on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Holiday Pre-Orders Coming Soon to Manresa Bread

The Manresa Bread team is counting down to the holidays and will begin taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving starting in November. This year, Manresa Bread in Los Gatos and Los Altos will be open from 7am–1pm on Thanksgiving Day for pickups. Look out for new seasonal goodies like Pecan Apple Buns, Spiced Pumpkin Pie with pumpkin brittle, Rye Whiskey Pecan Tarts, and Pear and Cranberry Galettes. Visit the website for details on pre-orders and keep in touch with the team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.