Life begins at 50…

… or does it?  Some of you may know that I recently started my 51st year, but I’ve not noticed much difference. 🙂  Having said that, any round birthday is a good reason to celebrate.  I was very lucky to have good friends with me to mark the occasion in a rather spectacular manner:  a trip to El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain.  Girona is only a  two hour drive from Saint-Chinian, and the restaurant has been voted Best Restaurant in the World, and has been given three stars by the Guide Michelin.

I’m not really in the habit of going to three star restaurants – the trip to Girona came about by chance rather than design.  I was sitting with my friends one evening, and we were talking about how difficult it was to get reservations for El Celler de Can Roca – bookings have to be made 11 months in advance, and the tables are usually booked very very quickly!  Flippantly I said, “Why don’t I e-mail the restaurant to see if they have a cancellation over the next few days?”.  I received a fast reply to my e-mail, and the next morning we had a reservation for the following week – never in my wildest dreams had I thought that it would happen!!

The restaurant is in a very unprepossessing neighbourhood of Girona.  Its interior is very modern and pure, and the dining room is arranged around a triangular lightwell, which is planted with trees.  The tables were spacious and beautifully set with white tablecloths, starched linen napkins, Riedel glasses and silverware.  I felt far too self-conscious to take pictures of anything but the food, although the atmosphere was in no way ‘starchy’.  The staff were all very friendly and incredibly professional, and the service was smooth and unobtrusive – the restaurant was running like clockwork!!

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After we had sat down, we were served a glass of cava, with compliments of the house, while we perused the menu and the wine lists.  The choice of menu was easy – there were only two, and since this was probably a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience, we opted for the tasting menu.  Half our table ordered the wine pairing – a different wine with each course – fourteen glasses!!  Luckily the glasses were not very full!

I leave you now, with the photographs of the meal – it was a fantastic dining experience, and a brilliant start to my 51st year!

Appetizer The World

Appetizer The World

Thailand: Thai chicken, coriander, coconut, curry and lime
Japan: miso cream with nyinyonyaki
China: pickled vegetables with plum cream
Peru: “Causa limena”
Korea: panco fried bread, bacon with soya sauce, kimchi and sesame oil

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Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona: Breaded squid, Kidneys with sherry, Pigeon bonbon, Salt cod with spinach and pine nuts, Campari bonbon

Green olive ice cream

Green olive ice cream

Starfish

Starfish

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Coral: ying-yang oyster, seabream ceviche

Summer truffle brioche

Summer truffle brioche

Here is where the main courses start:

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White asparagus with elderflower, mullet roe, dried apricot, ginger and acacia honey hollandaise sauce

Cherries marinated on a bed of cashew, smoked eel and "beurre noisette"

Cherries marinated on a bed of cashew, smoked eel and “beurre noisette”

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Tartar of tomato and watermelon

Langoustine with cocoa bean sauce Black mole with chocolate and mantis shrimp cream with coconut and boletus edulis

Langoustine with cocoa bean sauce
Black mole with chocolate and mantis shrimp cream with coconut and boletus edulis

Baby squid with tempeh of "ganxet" beans

Baby squid with tempeh of “ganxet” beans

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Prawn marinated with rice vinegar Prawn’s head sauce, crispy prawn legs, seaweed veloute and phytoplankton

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Red skate confit with juice of charcoal-grilled pepper and rhubarb

Blackspot seabream with "samfaina"

Blackspot seabream with “samfaina”

Iberian suckling pick with salad of green papaya, thai grapefruit, apple, coriander, chilli pepper, lime and cashew

Iberian suckling pig with salad of green papaya, thai grapefruit, apple, coriander, chilli pepper, lime and cashew

Lamb with eggplant and chickpea puree, lamb's trotters and spicy tomato

Lamb with eggplant and chickpea puree, lamb’s trotters and spicy tomato

Veal oyster blade and marrow, tendons and avocado

Veal oyster blade and marrow, tendons and avocado

We are now starting with desserts!!

Turkish perfume: Rose, peach, saffron, cumin, cinnamon and pistachio

Turkish perfume: Rose, peach, saffron, cumin, cinnamon and pistachio

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Orange colourology

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Orange colourology – cracked open!

Cuban cigar box: chocolate with mil, vanilla, dried plum, tobacco leaf and cocoa

Cuban cigar box: chocolate with milk, vanilla, dried plum, tobacco leaf and cocoa

Just when we thought there was no more to come….

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12 thoughts on “Life begins at 50…

  1. It looks absolutely incredible… albeit a tad pretentious!
    I knew there was a reason I was collecting all those rocks!

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  2. Lieber Andreas, erst einmal herzlichen Glückwunsch nachträglich! Bin erstaunt, weil ich Dich für jünger gehalten hatte. Keine Sorge indes: Das Leben beginnt bekanntlich mit 66 Jahren, Du hast demnach noch etwas Zeit, Dich darauf vorzubereiten. Vielleicht solltest Du vorsorglich damit beginnen, Golf zu spielen. Das Golfen ersetzt angeblich so manches andere.
    Zu beneiden Dein Aufenthalt im 3-Sterne-Restaurant in Gerona, und die Fotos sind exzellent. “Unsere” drei Sterne in Fontjoncouse können sich aber auch sehen lassen.

    Ich hoffe, wir begegnen uns dieser Tage mal wieder, vielleicht nächsten Dienstag beim marché nocturne?

    Herzlich

    Siegfried

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  3. How fabulous! What a wonderful celebration of your milestone. My daughter and her husband enjoyed eating at El Celler de Can Roca a couple of years ago and we were envious of them then; now of you too! And Girona is such a beautiful little city in its own right. Thanks for stimulating our memories and our appetites too with the gorgeous photos.

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  4. Woo! My mind is BLOWN! I wasted no time posting to Facebook, and forwarding this to every foodie friend I know (in case, like me, they’re slow to check Facebook). HAPPY 50TH! and thanks for this amazing look at what’s cookin’ at The Best Restaurant in the World! XXX

    Liked by 1 person

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