Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Slow food

Špajza's beautiful garden and rustic interior
Every once in a while my quiet suburban life is interrupted with tiny occasions of splendor and luxury. It's these moments of pure indulgence that make life sweeter. The truly memorable part in this instance comes from the accompanying gesture of kindness and friendship.
Susan and Martin the pattern makers extraordinaire have sent me and Mr. C a gift certificate for a dinner in one of Ljubljana's most prised restaurants. Špajza (which is an old Slovene word for cupboard or pantry) is situated in the old part of town. It's a sweet place with a romantic rustic interior and a beautiful courtyard.

Amuse-bouches and walnut liqueur
Without going into details about our hosts' generosity let me just say we had the equivalent of The Grand Tour, a seven course meal complete with amuse-bouches in the top photo, a cheese plate and the complementary digestif (Williams pear liqueur). Every course came with an accompanying glass of wine. And since I chose the fish degustation menu and Mr. C had the meat degustation menu the wine selection never intersected.

Cold and warm appetizers
In my opinion the main indulgence of slow food eating is time. Slow food is all about relaxing  in the slow paced evening of a wonderful mix of aromas, flavours and textures. It's also about enjoying the sights and the sounds of the surroundings but mostly it's about having a wonderful time with the person or persons you're dining with.
The passage of time is noticeable from the photos of the dishes from early evening (before sunset) into late night.

warm appetizer and first main course
I've copied the menu from Špajza's webpage to give you a glimpse into our fingerlicking extravaganza:

~ Meat menu dégustation ~

Pâté baked in puff pastry

Au gratin truffle polenta with boletus mushroom foam

Homemade chanterelles gnocchi with nettles and almonds

Lamb from the oven with a Port reduction sauce

Pineapple - tomato mousse

~ Fish menu dégustation ~

Tuna carpaccio with sesame and celery

Crab soufflé on spinach foam

   Saffron risotto with scallops and chanterelles

Cod fish fillet with carrot, green beans, black olives, cherry tomatoes and lemon

  Elder cake

Second main course and cheese plate
Even though playing favourites isn't my thing I have to say the saffron risotto with grilled scallops was perfection. As for dessert, Mr. C's pineapple and candied tomato mousse was refreshingly new and original.
I could devote an entire blog post to the wines we drank :-) 
Thank you Susan and Martin for this memorable evening! If you ever come to Ljubljana we're definitely taking you here :-)