Gastronomic Award Lunch
With my daughter from the UK to accompany me (there she is the glamourous one on my right!), I attended the Gastronomic Award Lunch hosted by the Academia Gastronomica de Malaga where I was to be proclaimed Best Inland Hotel in Malaga province. An honour indeed. And a great lunch as you would expect from a gastronomic academy.
After the usual appetisers of jamon (which comes in many sades – this was of course the very best “de bellota” or fed on acorns), almond cheese from Malaga, olives from Alora, and some lovely croquetas made from aubergine and sprinkled with cane syrup – a reinvention of a popular Malagueña tapa.
Then the meal started. I was so interested that they were serving Ajo Blanco, one of Andalucia´s famed cold soups but which I have always hesitated to serve as it is so rich and doesn´t seem to go with wine very well. But it worked so you can expect to see it on our summer menus. Whilst it is traditionally served with floating white grapes, the Academy paired it with dry figs and tataki de tuna.
The fish course was John Dory with esencia de carabinero (a deep sea cardinal prawn), quinoa cooked in squid ink with a sprinkling of lemongrass.
Next up was a steak. You couldn´t have a gastronomic award lunch in Spain without a steak! It was a bit of a dilemma for me as I haven´t eaten a steak for probably thirty years but I felt I had to make an attempt. We were sitting at a round table of eight people, all of whom would have put great value on the meat, so I ate little bits and it was the tenderest meat I have ever tasted. Very yummy sauce of coffee and brandy.
Dessert was utterly divine and I don´t normally eat them either. (you will begin to think I am a picky person!) Ginger sorbet with apricots and rosemary flavoured chocolate.
Chocolate truffles – three flavours – and coffee to finish. Each course accompanied by a delicious wine.
All in all it was a fantastic lunch. Thank you to the illustrious Academia for selecting Hotel Los Castaños to honour this year.