A Déjeuner Amical at the Quadro restaurant of the Westin Dragonara Resort
The Malta Bailliage hosted the first Déjeuner Amical of the year at the Quadro restaurant of the Westin Dragonara Resort Saint Julians, on Sunday the 14th of May 2023
In his introductory speech, the Chancelier Mr. Charles Gatt made the following comments:
First of all, he wished ‘Tanti Auguri’ and best wishes to all mothers present at the lunch as it happened to fall on mothers` day.
He then welcomed a number of guests including Heribert and Gaby Grunert, who had been members of the Chaine in the past, Lourie Scicluna, a guest of Elsa Meyland Smith, Captain. Mark and Claire Micallef, guests of Ian and Anne Collins and Ms. Caroline Charge, guest of Clair Hollier.
It had been about 7 years since our last event at the Westin Dragonara. This was a Chapitre and it had been a great success.
The weather was somewhat cloudy but this did not detract from the impressive views from the patio where the pre-lunch reception was held. Both the champagne and canapes were excellent.
The wines for were chosen and paired by our Echanson Dr. Iro Cali Corleo who unfortunately could not attend. They were supplied by P. Cutajar and Co. Ltd.
Following the Chancelier’s speech, Dr Mark Bailey our Charge de Presse, read out the characteristics of the wines which were to be served with the lunch in lieu of Dr. Cali. These can be found below accompanying the menu.
The Chancelier noted that it was Caroline Charge’s birthday and offered her his congratulations, along with the rest of the members. During lunch, the restaurant staff, once they had become aware that it was the birthday of Madame Charge, surprised her with a Happy Birthday plate. The gesture was greatly appreciated by her and all the members.
After lunch, our Bailli Délégué, Dr Joseph Xuereb, gave a short speech in which he thanked all the members who attended, especially in view of the fact that the lunch fell on Mother’s Day. He then discussed all the dishes presented and gave a glowing comment on all of them! (his comments can be found below with the menu, as well as our Echanson’s comments on the wines).
Dr. Xuereb finally thanked the people who made all of this happen - the events manager, Joanne Vella Marshall who liaised with Charles Gatt and Bernd Ritchell, our Conseiller Gastronomique, Dragica, the restaurant manager as well as Sandip, Vincent, and Som for their excellent service and of course the Chef, Piotr Czajkowicz and his brigade for a lunch we’ll be talking about for a long time!
The lunch was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all members as afterward, there were many very positive comments from the members and their guests.
This was a rather new seating arrangement for one of our lunches but a number of members commented that they found it much easier to communicate with several more diners than being seated on round tables of 8 or 10.
After the menu and accompanying comments on the wine and food, you will find a photo gallery of the event.
‘The tuna tartare with gelatin drops, a delicate macaron with cream cheese and chutney and an extremely tasty quail scotch egg in a lemon pastry basket’
Aperitif: Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Reserve
‘Champagne Duval-Leroy is a Champagne house based in the Côte des Blancs subregion of Champagne. It is one of a few Champagne houses that is still entirely family-owned, is recognized for its environmental approach to winemaking, and was the first house to produce a certified organic Brut Champagne.’
Watermelon Gazpacho, feta cheese ice cream, Kalamata olives
‘In the amuse bouche, the ice cream retained both the texture and the taste of the feta cheese. I tasted the gazpacho, the ice cream, and the Kalamata olives separately: beautiful! but as an ensemble, absolutely gorgeous’
White Asparagus tortellini, burrata straciatella, local lobster, gremolata
I thoroughly enjoyed the asparagus tortellini starter - the lobster was beautifully seasoned and the contrast in texture between the velvety stracciatella and the gremolata was delightful. A beautifully balanced dish and a very gutsy one if I may say so'
Wine: Domaine La Gemiere Sancerre (Loire Valley)
‘In 1981, Daniel and Josette Millet built their first winery in a parcel of land called « La Gemière » in the Loire district starting with 8 hectares and now 18 hectares The grape is naturally Sauvignon Blanc and the alcohol level is 13% It has a typical Sauvignon nose of gooseberries and a bit of blackcurrant but with pleasant floral and citrus fruit notes too. The mouthfeel is generous and fruity with white flesh fruits and a clean and well-balanced acidity. The finish is of good length.’
Glazed Duck Breast, plum compote, lemon gras jus, pancetta
‘Our main course was duck breast, beautifully pink and tender inside, perfectly crisp on the outside. The crackling pancetta provided a nice contrast to the plum compote between savoury and sweet as well as in texture and the lemon grass jus bound this dish together very harmoniously. Having these two courses served on warm plates was really the icing on the cake'
Wine: M. Chapoutier Les Varonniers Crozes-Ermitage AOC Rouge (Rhone Valley)
‘Maison M. Chapoutier is one of the most recognizable – and sizeable – producers in the Rhône Valley. It is known for its quality wines from both the north and south of the valley. Chapoutier uses smaller oak casks rather than the traditional large format chestnut foudres as well as keeping the wines unfiltered and unfined, working with only biodynamically or organically grown fruit across all of the vineyards. Chapoutier's La Bernardine is practically 100% Grenache. On the nose there is concentration and intensity, with a dense, spicy, smoky blackberry fruit and a creamy, glossy sheen of old oak. As a youngish wine there will be a plummy depth and may initially feel tight and youthful. On the palate expect dense black fruit and layers of wood, liquorice, plum and espresso darkness, with a core of tight, muscular tannins and acidity. A very well-balanced and intense wine that needs to air a bit in the glass before tasting. So you need to wait 10 seconds before taking a sip!’
Coconut and Malibu parfait, pineapple compote, coconut soil
‘Dessert was deceiving in its simplicity but a blockbuster in taste, the delicate coconut and Malibu parfait marrying nicely with both the pineapple and the Sauternes we were served with it. The sweet course isn’t normally the one I look forward to most in my meals but I absolutely polished my plate with this one!’
Wine: Carmes De Rieussec Sauternes (Bordeaux)
‘Château Rieussec is located in Fargues, in the Sauternes appellation. It makes sweet wines from a classic Bordeaux blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, and was classified as a first growth in the 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac.
In the 18th Century, the estate was tended to by Carmelite monks before being confiscated in the French Revolution. it has now come under the ownership of Barons de Rothschild in partnership with Albert Frére of LVMH. Carmes de Rieussec is the second wine, aged for 18 months. For a second wine, this has impressive quality, almost entirely Sémillon, this wine is rich but not heavy. Lightness comes with the surprisingly intense acidity that balances the rich apricot and honey flavors. Spice, honey and botrytis are the dominant characteristics on the nose . On the palate there is significant acidity with hints of citrus, apricot and lemon curd. The finish is long.’
Coffee/Tea and Petits Fours
Chef de Cuisine: Piotr Czajkowicz