Tonight is a special night, different from all other events I've been to. I've been a member of Rotary Metn for many years until NoGarlicNoOnions' commitments obliged me to stop many recreational activities like Rotary and Scouting. Tonight, I was back to meet my old friends for a dinner unlike any other, organized by the Rotary Clubs of Metn, Sahel Metn, Beirut Cadmos and Keserwan, catered by Le Fleruron in collaboration with Chateau Fakra.
The ATCL (Automobile and Touring Club du Liban) was hosting the event.
Meeting early, the event was scheduled to start at 7:30pm. A welcome drink followed by an organized seating, each on his table. Wines toured around, bites of salmon, others of blue cheese with walnuts, we were warming up before the event officially started.
So I walked to the buffet table before it was devoured. Tonight's magnificent innovations were created by Chef Hervé Gerard, a man I met at Ricky's three years back, I didn't know that he had left O Monot hotel until tonight, where I discovered his collaboration with Le Fleuron.
The floor was given to the Rotary presidents who introduced their clubs and the Rotary organizations. Afterwards Mr. Joseph Abi Ghanem, wine maker and consultant at Chateau Faqra enlightened us on the background and history of Chateau Faqra and Le Fleuron had their words to say on this night specially dedicated to taste and the awakening of our palatial buds.
On the buffet:
- Parma ham and melon with balsamic vinegar
- Salted macaroons with foie gras and salmon
- Hummos Franco-Libanais the way the chef sees it
- Bresaloa Parmesan
- Walnuts Sables
- Quinoa Salad
- Foie gras with mango chutney brochette
- Crab fresh cup with apples
- Sea bass tasty at with Japanese salmon
- Vegetable Tiramisu
- Bell pepper crème brûlée
- Tai chicken and shrimps
- Salted Eclaireurs with bell pepper and confit tomatoes
- Riette of sea bass with gelee d'agrumes with asparagus and avocado
- Mango and raspberry and magret of smoked duck
- Moelleux de volailles
- Homemade macaroons
- Mini cakes
An overview of the food:
- The salted macaroon of foie gras and salmon is really breathtaking. It's not really salted, but uses the normal, crunchy macaroon dough and its light sweetness filled with a watery but intensely flavored mousse of foie gras. Impressive to say the least; the textures and flavors are exquisite.
- A foie gras and chutney mini burger followed. A brioche bun that's not chewy but airy filled with a layer of tender foie gras and the chutney to add the needed sweetness. That's gourmet food indeed.
- Hummos with a French touch. A light purée of chickpeas with some salt, lemon, olive oil and tahina filled in mini plastic cups and mixed along some parsley and lightly crunchy black olives.
- Toast, two balls of melon, a toasted basil leaf and balsamic vinegar. Simple yet innovative and extremely tasty. Bravo.
- The salted sablés are awesome.
- Quinoa salad with cubes of blood oranges and avocados. Yummy! Perfectly cooked al dente and full of taste.
- Yum... I've had some nicely tender and flavorful bites of birds. That's good, really good.
- Two layers of Magret of smoked duck topped with a leaf of rocket with mango cubes and a raspberry. That's finesse!
- Did you ever imagine eating a salted tiramisu? Hervé created magic in a cup, a salted tiramisu with style, the same ingredients, the same flavor but no sugar. A layer of tiramisu cream topping another of crunchy diced vegetables. That's genius work!
Now for desserts:
- I can proudly and fairly say that I've rarely had macaroons that good, that tender and that flavorful in Lebanon. Not empty, crunchy biscuits but real tasty macaroons and the chocolate used is this dark one without a sweet aftertaste. I wish you could try them! The pistachio... Ouf!
- I believe you know a good pastry chef from the simplest dish: a strawberry tart, and the one I had tonight will stay in my mind for a long time. A crunchy dough, a rich cream and some fresh strawberries with an adequate amount of sugar.
- The chocolate tart is mouthwatering. A chocolate dough crumbling like a house of cards while the dark chocolate mousse caresses your palatal buds at the same time. A dream!
- The chocolate cake is also great.
- The Mille feuille, even though the filling inside was hot, it was still crunchy.
- Chocolate cream in a cup: lovely and not gooey.
Impressive to say the least... I left amazed. Chef, accept my personal regards.
I started by a white wine from Faqra. Light and fruity, this wine is aromatic with a long lasting note. Lightly fruity with floral notes. An interesting drink if I may say. The red wine was stronger on the palate, a full bodied wine needing more aeration.
Et voila, a night dedicated to taste where I had the chance to witness living proof that buffets can be tasty despite the small sized bites.