Restaurant-Check: Tierra, Torrico *

It’s been a while since I have eaten in an awarded restaurant due to stress in school and clarifying my future and of course, I've been busy providing you with content from inside the kitchen as well. Nevertheless, here is my report of the Michelin starred Tierra restaurant at the “Relais &Chateaux Valdepalacios” in the middle of the Spanish countryside - between Toledo and Madrid. The area where the hotel is nestled spreads over 600 hectares, meaning there is enough space to raise some venison (which they actually do), plant their own wine grapes and of course, vegetables which is in my eyes a big advantage - for us chefs its always difficult to find good suppliers - even in Spain.

Just like any Spanish dinner, it has started quite late on a beautiful Saturday night. Daniel and I took this opportunity to compensate our early arrival to the dining room with our first welcome drink: a typical “cerveca” - in front of the fireplace in the hotel hall before entering the restaurant. We rapidly decided both for the long gastronomic menu including 18 dishes in total and of course, we didn’t need to drive a car as well, so it was quite an easy decision that we are going to enjoy the whole wine pairing. A small detail which probably just professionals might recognize: the food is cooked on a “Molteni” stove and yes it is also a dream of mine to cook once on this kind of kitchen gear ;) as well as owning an open kitchen as Chef Chuchi Hernández Munoz.

Starting with an assortment of different amuse bouche containing puff pastry with jambon Iberico and tomato (one of my favorites), baked brioche with caviar and trout tartare which was really well prepared. Combined with a very fine glass of Grand Cru Poirot Rosé Champagne, it was a perfect start into a very good dinner.

Daniel's favorite dish of this dinner was the first starter: white asparagus presented in two different textures a soup and the tips, truffle, caviar, and foie gras. That this amazing dish was served along with a Gewürztraminer from New Zealand, was new to us. I mean the majority of human beings would like this kind of meal. Even though for my personal taste, there was I little bit of salt missing but 50% of our table loved this dish.

The next two courses where on the one hand veal tongue, thistle, and partridge served with a beautiful sauce and a really perfectly confided egg yolk with chanterelles and green bean sauce and of course hand cut black truffle stripes and on the other hand a very good seasoned cockles dish. At this moment I have to mention that the wine pairing to these two dishes was absolutely outstanding. The Spanish white wine called Rita Syrah and Garnacha fitted flawless to the tongue, in addition, the German white wine classic Riesling Spätlese 2016 was like the perfect match for the green beans.

We move on to the next course, in my eyes, a perfectly cooked piece of pork belly (for sure sous vide) with tender celery and vegetable jus, served with a nice glass of rose wine from nearby the Toledo region in Spain. By the way, the old town of Toledo is absolutely worth a visit!

I’ve never eaten in a Relais & Chateaux restaurant or hotel where they did not serve a high-end fish dish like turbot or sole; so our fish course was a technical proper seared filet of sole with brussels sprouts and avocado cubes and saffron foam, served with a good glass of Rioja white wine.

 Our first meat course was a sous vide cooked tendon with cauliflower and very nice reduced demi-glace sauce and morels which is one of my favorite mushrooms all-time. The second main course which we got was something special for both of us. Now we didn't go far and were served the venison loin - perfectly presented and cooked - which they actually hunt on their own huge property. The wine journey took us to Spain again, the excellent red wine by Dominio de Atuta winery from the Ribera del Duero region fitted perfectly to the main courses.

Every dinner has to come to an end, in our case “the end” started with a selection of international and domestic cheese prepared from the vast cheese trolleys right in the entrance of the dining room. The next dessert was a variation of wild berries including sponges, espuma, and wild berries sorbet, in terms of acidity unique! The very last two plates were on the one side a really nice prepared round millefeuille with pistachios and mango mousse. On the other side, the last served plate out of the kitchen was an assortment of chocolate and cacao. All these dishes were combined with different sweet wines like the famous Tokaji winery from Hungary.

To end a quite perfect night, the waiters presented us a few sweets as well from a trolley with different kind of French pastries like macarons, lollipops or jellies.

One of the biggest advantages in gastronomic menus like the one we enjoyed that night, is that there is a lot of courses with different textures flavors and platings. For me as a chef, it is not just eating, it is more or less research and getting new experiences.

The Dinner was provided in addition to our stay at Relais & Chateaux Valdepalacios, however all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.