Almost everything is ready for El Celler de Can Roca’s historic visit to Chile, which will take place in just a bit over a month, from August 28th through September 4th. The Roca brothers are working on the final details of the menu they will offer during the dinners served at the nation’s capital.
After visiting four different cities (London, Hong Kong, Phoenix and San Francisco), Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca will conclude the BBVA – El Celler de Can Roca 2016 Tour in Santiago de Chile. Once they arrive, they will put to work all the knowledge that Josep and Jordi amassed during the frantic weeks that they spent learning about the South American country. An ending that, in the words of the own pastry chef from Girona, will be stellar.
The details of the menu presented to Chilean reporters
On June 16th, during an event held at El Celler de Can Roca, the brothers presented some of the progress and improvements on which they had been working to render the final recipes that will be served during the Chilean leg of the tour.
The menu consisted of a delicious five-sandwich starter, each one representing a different region of the planet (Thailand, Japan, Peru, Korea and, of course, Chile), which they called “Eat the World (Comerse el mundo)”. Chile was already represented by their rendering of the traditional empanada de pino (an empanada with a seasoned mixture of ground beef, onions, raisins, black olives, and hard boiled eggs), which they prepared using a pork rind cone instead of the traditional pastry, stuffed with prune and minced meat seasoned with merquén (smoked chili pepper).
The following dish was another five-sandwich combo that revisited the early days of the Roca brothers’ career. Fried calamari sandwich, cod with raisins and pine nuts, pickled mussels, pan-fried kidneys with sherry sauce, and a Campari cocktail with grapefruit juice. After that, Chile was brought back into the spotlight through two traditional recipes, humita (Chilean tamales, so to speak) and sopaipilla (a type of quick bread), made from paper and with a taste reminiscent of pebre (a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers). Of course, the Roca brothers did not forget about the famous apio-palta (a traditional celery and avocado salad), with green apple balls, onion, beet and cochayuyo (a large robust kelp species).
Menu that the chilean journalists tested last 16th of June
The Roca brothers also presented a curanto in a wide-rimmed glass with a seafood preparation. Inside the recipient, leaves and branches that give off their aroma through a small hole. All this, accompanied with a glass of pulmay (curanto cooked in a pot) stock. All this was served before their tribute to Neruda with a soup in a deep bowl, with diced conger, potato and onion, to finish with a lamb with chuchoca (coarsely ground dry corn) and beef recipes.
Jordi Roca added the finishing touch with his desserts, a version of the mote con huesillo (a traditional Chilean summer-time non-alcoholic drink made from wheat and peaches), adding maize, merquen and pisco. The youngest of the three brothers prepared two desserts: an apricot made with sugar glass and stuffed with tangerine, egg yolk and orange blossom ice-cream; and a lactic dessert with dulce de leche and a fresh cheese, guava and yogurt ice-cream.
Jordi Roca visited a women's prison in Santiago.
The previous visits
This trip will allow the Roca brothers and their 40-member team of chefs and waiters to pay homage to a cuisine that is gradually opening up to the world. During their first exploratory visit, they had the opportunity to learn about the centuries-old tradition of Andean-snow ice-cream, as well as to visit some of the Colchagua wineries or the Elqui valley. In Talca, Jordi Roca’s was treated to a sampling of ice-cream that combined the sweetness of banana and the texture of snow.
But it wasn’t just the local products that captured the Roca’s imagination, but also the way in which they were prepared. For example, during their stay at Easter Island, Jordi Roca learnt about an ancestral dish, curanto, a preparation of shellfish, fish and meat cooked in a hole dug in the ground whose bottom is covered with stones which are heated in a bonfire until red and then covered with banana leaves. “Coming here has always been a non-stop learning experience, but this time it’s been even more so, thanks our visits to Easter Island and the Andes,” said the youngest of the three brothers.
During his stay at the Latin American country, Josep Roca also emphasized the importance and the role that Chilean wines will play in their world tour. “I tasted extreme wines, matured at high altitude or near the sea,” said the middle sibling after visiting the Limarí valley, where he met Felipe Muller, from Tabalí Winery.
A traineeship at El Celler de Can Roca
Once again, the Roca brothers will choose two young cooks from each one of the cities comprising the itinerary of the BBVA 2016 Tour. The selected candidates will be invited to complete a 4-month traineeship at the Girona restaurant, an initiative aimed at both promoting local talent, and boosting the careers of the trainees in the culinary world.
Also, this year, a contest has been organized together with digital newspaper Emol. Participants enter a draw the chance to win one of five double tickets to attend the Roca brother’s exclusive event in the Chilean capital. Here you can find the contest rules.