Monday 16 February the Diputación of Malága and Sol wines held a lunch for the press in Vincci Palace Hotel in Calle La Paz. The aim as always was to bring together wine and food writers and to promote the products of a small group of the 800 producers who make up Sabor a Málaga, a trade body dedicated to promoting Malagueña gastronomy in restaurants in the province, nationally and internationally. Coordinated by Pedro G. Mocholí some 20+ journalists from the sector convened for an aperitif of a Puente Nuevo, an organic India Pale Ale from Arriate, near Seville, and named after the famous bridge at Ronda. Amber in colour the ale is just 3.8%ABV (the same strength as a session beer in the UK) and on the nose there are aromas of apple, honey with hops and a hint of patisserie. In the mouth it is immediately refreshing with good bite, sensations of malt and a balanced bitterness, very easy to drink it was a good introduction to what was to prove a very flavoursome meal. Sergio Garrido was the chef charged with bringing together this
representative menu from the South with touches of Valencia and elsewhere in its make-up.His career trajectory starts with a family of chefs ( his grandmother cooked in `El Fuente de Marbella hotel) and includes spells in London and Jamaica before becoming Executive Chef for the Vincci chain of Hotels, most recently working from the Vincci Posada del Patio in Málaga. He is a member of the Eurotoque group of chefs. The menu of five courses began with a Tartar de Salchichón Malagueño, sobre Migas de
Sopa Perota, a dried sausage with a base of vegetable soup with day old bread. This was matched with Don Pepe, Pedro Ximenez , (Bodegas Cortijo La Fuente) from 40 year-old-vines. A solera style dry white wine with more than a touch of Rancío, smooth with hints of almonds, and olives it is meaty balanced and long.The second course was Pulpo Frito, Caviar de vino Málaga y Miel de Caña de Frigliano. the base of the dish was a sauce of sugar cane honey with yoghurt, creamy but a perfect foil for the octopus and needed a big wine. It had one, the stunning white from Lunares, a 2016 white from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, 14%ABV. Golden in colour with a complex intense perfumed and fragrant nose, a mix of pineapple, mango, guava, passion fruit, all of it ripe and in the mouth a full-bodied wine, full of lively fruit but with a perfect acidity and well-integrated alcohol, dense and very round with a long ripe fruit finish. Next was Arroz Señorito con Gambas de Málaga y Caldillo de Pintarroja. Of course the arroz is similar to that produced here in Valencia, a classic dish with peeled seafood, but the addition of the sauce, a reduction of a soup made in Malaga with a type of shark caught locally made it very rich. A young red matched well with this dish, Excelencia de Ronda, a Tempranillo 2015 with a four-month medium crianza is lush, fruity nose with hints of the malolactic fermentation on the nose and distinct cherry tart, in the mouth it was all ripe fruit long but with a nicely balancing acidity which matched the rich seafood well.
The meat course was Ropa Vieja de Chivo Lechal Malagueño, a croqueta served with a disc made with baby goat and was matched with Los Frontones from Bodegas Excelencia 2010 a red with 12 months in oak with a very Bordeaux style, ripe red and black fruit, slightly vegetal and creamy in the mouth.
The dessert was Torrija al Vino and served with Dulce No 12 from Cortijo La Fuente. Amber in colour this Moscatel has big fat legs! An intense perfumed nose is full of floral notes, citrus, orange peel and herbs.In the mouth it is a big fresh, sweet and satisfying dessert wine with a powerful aftertaste.Accompanying the meal three olive oils were available as well. All three are meaty with distinct frutal notes and individual uses with salads etc . The Finca La Torre is ecologic from the Holiblanca variety and full of almond, apple and banana notes on the nose. La Laguna de Fuente de Piedra by contrast is from the Arbequina variety. It is milder and smoother with fresh fruit notes of apple, herbs and flowers and is sweeter in the mouth. Smoothest of all was the Hojiblanca from Aceites Molisur, the reserva de Familia. This well organised and well structured lunch showed off the products of Malaga well and was a good opportunity to taste and match wines from the region with the gastronomy. Our thanks go to our hosts the Diputación of Málaga and the bodegas and olive oil producers together with Sol Wines for this excellent opportunity.