Food & wine pairing
Josep Roca El Celler de Can Roca ★★★”, Girona
A family affair
Following the appearance at CHEF-SACHE of two of the legendary Roca brothers – head chef Joan and patissier Jordi – it’s now the turn of the middle of the three siblings to take to the stage.
As the sommelier of one of the world’s most famous and awarded restaurants, Josep’s theme is of course food and wine pairing – which at El Celler de Can Roca is a masterclass in itself. I once saw how Josep casually mentioned to Joan that a certain wine “smells of sardines”. Joan wrote the word ‘sardines’ on a chalkboard and later developed a sardine dish to go with the wine. In this way, the usual creation process – the sommelier choosing a wine to go with a dish – was turned on its head.
This process was demonstrated even more forcefully with a dish that I sampled at the end of 2004. Bernhard Breuer, Riesling’s Mr Big, had just died. Rieslings are among Josep’s favourite wines, and in Breuer’s honour a dish of bouchot mussels was served. But the mussels were simply vehicles for aromas – aromas of the Riesling served with the dish. Each individual mussel contained a different aroma, right down to the distillate at the bottom of the shell. Highly impressive.