Gelato was served with Chilli Crab as an appetiser. And it even featured in a main course – with Wagyu beef and pan seared codfish.
At last Thursday’s Gelato With A Heart Western dinner, held at the Marina Bay Sands, the humble gelato took centre stage – by being used in every single one of the dishes. This dinner was held as a prequel to the Gelato World Tour 2.0, which will take place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands from next Friday to Sunday.
Menu was created by a team of well-known Gelato Chefs
The dinner menu was created by well-known Chef Christopher Christie from Marina Bay Sands and Pastry Chef Pang Kok Keong, together with Pastry Chef Anthony Poh and Gelato Maestro Jacopo Quaglia. The menu featured combinations of unique hot and cold, sweet and savoury fusions of Eastern and Western masterpieces.
How did the chefs discover that gelato, which is typically served as an Italian dessert, could be paired with literally anything? Said Quaglia, 44, the owner of +39 Gelato Bar at Circular Road, “It came from when we understood that gelato is not just a dessert, but a nourishment, and so it can be matched with other nourishments too.”
Quaglia added, “When we started to study and work on the savoury gelato, ideas on flavours like goat cheese and mashed potatoes with parsley and nutmeg, came to us. Eventually we found we could match hot and cold and salty and less salty flavours. We found it fun to think of how flavours you never imagined, could actually be matched, especially with different temperatures.”
For the dinner, guests were served four rather different and really unique dishes. And gelato featured prominently in every single dish – regardless of whether it was sweet or savoury.
Here are the main dinner highlights.
Cocktail Drink: Lemon Sorbet & Beer
The moment I had tasted this, I realised immediately that it was not an ordinary drink. And the rather large scoop of Lemon Sorbet that had been placed inside the glass of beer, gave it a very refreshing citrus flavour that I thought matched very well with the beer. In fact, the way that it had been prepared, somewhat reminded me of a high-class version of Iced Lemon Tea.
Appetiser: Chilli Crab Cocktail
The appetiser was a Chilli Crab Cocktail. This cold appetiser comprised of Lump Crab and Snow Egg White Ravioli served with Coriander Film and Lemongrass – Kaffir Lime Leaf Gelato.
The moment I took a forkful of this dish, I was completely overwhelmed by the myriad of flavours and textures on my palate.
I was surprised though, that the gelato actually blended in very well together with the rest of the ingredients. I had originally wondered what the dish would taste like, but in fact, Lemongrass flavour in the gelato really brought out the taste of this appetiser.
Main Course: Soya Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Seared Cod
For the main course, I had the Soya Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Seared Cod with Nonya Vinaigrette. This was served together with Roasted Cauliflower Puree, Fava Beans and Calamansi and Candied Ginger flavoured gelato.
Once again, I was completely blown away by this scrumptious dish. The cold Calamansi and Candied Ginger gelato really balanced well with the extremely moist and tender codfish. The combination of hot and cold flavours in my mouth was simply awesome, and it was really a pleasure to feel the gelato melting in my mouth, fuelled by the heat given out by the fish.
As for the soft and succulent Wagyu Beef Cheek, this also tasted absolutely divine when I had it together with a small spoonful of the ice-cold gelato. I really enjoyed the citrusy and spicy combinations of the cold gelato, mixed together with the salty soya-based flavours in the beef – which really gave my taste buds a treat.
The gelato inside this dish was placed inside the Roasted Cauliflower Puree and I thought that this was the perfect combination. As the gelato melted into the Cauliflower Puree, I could taste the lovely Calamansi and Ginger flavours in it, and these too, had really matched up perfectly.
Explained Quaglia , “The Calamansi gives some sourness to this dish and the citrusy required to clean the mouth. The ginger adds something spicy.”
As a whole, I must say that I was really amazed and awestruck by how tasty this dish had turned out. I had originally wondered how the chefs would be able to pull off something as novel as this – and actually make it work.
Dessert: Kaya Toast
Named after the classic Singaporean breakfast, this dessert had comprised of Pandan and Coconut Gelato, served together with buttered bread rusk, peanut nougatine and salted gula melaka cream.
I really loved the combination of textures. The smooth Pandan & Coconut Gelato balanced very well together with the crunchy, grainy peanuts and the crispy, buttered bread rusk, which had practically melted inside my mouth. At the same time, this dish reminded me exactly of Kaya Toast.
Explained Quaglia , who was full of admiration for his fellow chef – who had created this dish, “You really need the fantasy and vision to put together these creative gelato creations. Just looking at what Chef Pang did with this particular gelato dish was simply amazing. It’s not only about the pandan flavour – which was appreciated by local diners, but also by Ang Mohs like me. And the combination of the Gula Melaka and coconut sponge flavours were completely amazing.”
Added Quaglia, “Even as a fellow Gelato chef myself, I thought it was stunning, at how he was able to create a dish like this where you can have three to four textures combined together. And whether you may or may not like the actual flavour, I still feel that the way he put together these textures in the same dish, was out of this world.”
Dessert: Strawberries and Vinegar
For the final dessert dish, we were served with a strawberry dessert – Grand Marnier Marinated Strawberries, Balsamic Vinegar, Pink Peppercorns and Sesame Tuille. This was prepared together with Goat Cheese Gelato.
Once again, the combination of textures and flavours really amazed me. The Goat Cheese Gelato was also the only savoury gelato that had been a part of this dinner, and I thought the taste was really interesting. And it was served on top of a portion of actual goat cheese.
I felt that I could really taste the flavour of goat cheese inside the gelato. This, together with the sweet strawberries & vinegar dish, created a sharp contrast of sweet and savoury sensations inside the mouth, and the Sesame Tulle biscuit gave the dish an extra slightly salty, sesame zest, which too, seemed to have matched well, the flavours coming from the gelato.
Explained Quaglia, “You can play with cheese a lot, such as what we did in this particular dessert. It is just a matter of understanding how to balance the ingredients and you will be able to come up with any gelato that you want. When you want to play with savoury flavours though, you have to play around with the sugars. There are sugars that give you the same gelato texture but half of the sweetness – so play around with these, and you can get savoury gelato flavours.”
Hot Drink: Caffe & Latte Gelato
This post-dinner beverage was also an eye opener. A cup of black coffee was served… and then a scoop of milk flavoured gelato was quickly added into it. Watching the gelato sizzling and melting into the cup of hot coffee was an experience in itself.
Tasting it was even more of an experience. Compared to a typical cup of coffee made with normal milk, this one appeared to be richer and creamier – because of the addition of the gelato. And the taste was delicious.
Dinner also included a charity auction
Priced at SGD288 per person, the Gelato With A Heart dinner also included an auction where proceeds were given to beneficiaries of the Singapore President’s Challenge 2015. Items on auction had ranged from hair and skincare products and vouchers to chocolate hampers.
Followed by the Gelato World Tour 2.0 next week
Following the Gelato With A Heart dinner will be the Gelato World Tour 2.0 in Singapore, where 16 top Asia-Pacific gelato chefs will vie against each other, for the title of “World’s Best Gelato.” This will take place during the weekend of 20 to 22 March, and will be held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
For more information on the Gelato World Tour, go to www.gelatoworldtour.com.
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- Gelato World Tour comes to Singapore
- Singapore National Barista Championships
- Top 16 Flavours at Gelato World Championships Singapore