Moonlit French Dinner

Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - September 20, 2019 - 12:00am

Titania Wine Cellar and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu recently hosted an event called “Moonlit” at the BLU Bar & Grill. Tita Meneses Trillo, renowned gourmet and wine connoisseur, personally came to Cebu from Manila to welcome guests and friends from the hospitality industry to a French dinner with fine wines from Mouton Cadet Baron Philippe de Rothschild. 

French cuisine always awakens memories of my first taste of these delicious dishes in 1974 at the Au Bon Vivant, Manila’s first French restaurant. In 1996 I was invited to join a gourmet club, which gave me access to more French cuisine and some of the finest dishes of the world. In 2002, excuse me, I was invited to join The Freeman as food writer.

The recent “Moonlit” dinner began with the Huître Chaudes or Hot Oyster (Seared Oysters, Champagne Crème Fraiche & Caviar), paired with the Mouton Cadet Bordeaux Blanc 2017. Oysters are rarely served raw and the crème fraiche (like sour cream, with higher fat content) replenishes the lost moisture, while it also imparts its taste. Caviar gives a slightly gritty texture when the eggs pop and a rich salty fish flavor is released. Nice!

The second dish served was Coquille St. Jacques or Scallops with Assorted Shellfish in Mornay Sauce. The taste of scallop was bland so it needed tweaking, which Executive Chef Juanito Abangan did by using the mornay sauce, a white sauce (Béchamel) with grated Gruyère cheese added to it. The Bordeaux Blanc 2017 started to mesmerized me!

The Mouton Cadet Bordeaux Rouge 2016 was poured and the third plate was served, the Foie de Canard (Duck Liver), Macerated Strawberries and Vanilla French Toast. To produce a really fatty liver (foie gras), the duck is given special feeds. Foie Gras is the mainstay of many French dinners. The red wine toned down the rich oily taste with help from the sweetness and acidity of the strawberry fruit.

The Main Dish was the Filet de Veau or Veal Fillet, paired with the Mouton Cadet Medoc 2016 (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). The taste of the veal tenderloin was raised to next level by the Fricassee de Girolles (Sauce of Chanterelle Mushrooms). The creamed water cress and glazed carrots augmented the presentation of the dish.

Cheeses (Fromage) are often presented as a separate dish in a French dinner and Tomme de Savoie, a cheese from the French Alps, was used in the “Moonlit” dinner. It was served with Quince Jelly and Assorted Greens with Baguettes and Crackers. Later, I asked for another shot of Bordeaux Blanc 2017 and it did complement the cheese.

A bottle of Mouton Cadet Sauternes 2016, a dessert wine was opened and the Fondants Chocolat with Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream was served. The fondant is a chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate center (chocolate lava cake).

The dinner was lovely and my thanks to Titania Wine Cellar and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu for the invitation.

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