The five-star surroundings of Pine Cliffs Resort were the backdrop once again for latest Chef´s Table event, (the last event we attended was in August, read that article, here) this time featuring the food of Benoit Sinthon Two Michelin star chef of Funchal´s Il Gallo d´Oro.

After arriving we were greeted with a couple of glasses of Quinta de Chocapalha wine, the first ones of many that would accompany our fantastic meal and experience.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

We were seated front and centre with a view of the fabulous culinary team consisting of Chef Sinthon and member of his team from Il Gallo d´Oro as well as members of the Pine Cliffs culinary team plating and preparing all of the courses for the evening.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

Miguel Barnabe, the winery´s representative introduced our evening by explaining that the evening´s offerings would represent the coastal food of the Algarve and Madeira and the “hot days and cool nights”. The Chef adding that the majority of the products used for the evening would be Madeiran or Algerian in origin.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

First Course

The first course presented limpet´s from Madeira as the star. This majestic taste of the ocean was presented beautifully. The limpet meat was gorgeous on a wavy cracker reminiscent of sea waves that in itself was packed with flavour and combined with the limpet meat was such an amazing first glimpse of the night to come.

The wine paired with the first course was the Quinta de Chocapalha Arinto. I loved this paring, the citrus notes and slight sweetness offset the salty taste of sea perfectly.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

Before the arrival of the second course we were treated to some olive oil from the Algarve and some fresh rustic bread.

Second Course

This course was my favourite of the evening! The most beautifully cooked XXL Crayfish (Lagostim) tail was served with ponzu yuzu sauce that provided a wonderful umani note to the dish and also garden carrots prepared a number of ways including; shaved and smoked (my personal favourite) as well as pureed, as a sauce, and also a wonderful compressed terrine of carrot.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

Our wine for the second course was Quinta de Chocapalha Branco, Arinto, Verdelho. This well balanced wine offering amazing citrus and tropical notes. Slightly dryer than the first wine, with notes of stone fruits, it was a fantastic pairing.

Third Course

For the third offering we were offered a wine pairing of Quinta de Chocapalha Viosinho. The wine had more body than some of our previous parings, and had wonderful notes of stone fruits and apples. The bigger body of the wine very well with the next course of food.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

Our next dish the chef called “More than an onion. He was not kidding, the culinary team had disassembled a onion, stuffed a delicious mushroom mixture in between each layer and reassembled it before cooking it and serving it with crispy onions and an onion puree as well.

Fourth Course

For the fourth offering Chef Sinthon took us back from the land and returned to the sea with Red mullet served with a rich eggplant puree and potato drops.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

For the wine we enjoyed a slightly oaky number reminiscent of a fine Chardonnay. The CH by Cocapalha Branco is aged in French oak barrels for 9 months. The wine has excellent acidity and a lovely nose.

Fifth Course

The Chef leads us back to land for one last savory course, Veal cheek with mushrooms and sweet potato. The meat was fork tender and went well with the sweet potato pave and baby corn and eggplant.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

Our pairing sees us venture to a red wine for the first time in the evening. The Chocapalha Vinha Mãe Tinto with notes of black fruits delivered rich and ripe tannins and was a wonderful paring for the veal cheeks.

Sixth Course

For the final course on the menu it was a “Gourmand moment” The delicious desert featured coconut and guave and chocolate and was to die for and a great way to finish off the 6 course meal.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;

The final pairing of the evening was a late harvest wine, Sousa Lopes Petit Manseng. Aromas of honey and candied fruit was followed by a deliciously sweet wine that paired well with the slightly tangy guava in the desert.

One Final Surprise

There was one final treat for us with our after dinner coffee! Three petit fours accompanied our coffee and were a great sweet surprise to end an wonderful Chef´s table evening at Pine Cliffs Resort.

Credits: TPN; Author: Kevin Broderick;