No, I haven't started blogging in French. This post is just my way of paying homage to the gourmet store that succeeded in taking this passport-less platetrotter on a culinary journey across Spain, France, Japan, Thailand, England and several other countries all in the span of a couple of hours.
I don't like not having a passport. And as mine has been swallowed by the black hole that is the Naturalization and Residency Department to complete the necessary evil of renewing my visa, my fear of being marooned in the desert for an indefinite period of time has become a reality for the past couple of weeks.
Which meant an invite to a food blogger's night at Lafayette Gourmet last Wednesday was a welcome means of escape - if not literally than at least gastronomically. More so because the rumours I had heard about the place in the days leading up to the event was that it was well stocked with all sorts of exotic treats.
I'm happy to confirm all the rumours were true.
While I did spend most of the evening gorging on a seemingly endless parade of
delicious little bites, a quick scan of the shelves (and the pork section neatly
tucked out of sight behind a sliding door) revealed plenty of hard-to-find delicacies - everything from melt-in-your-mouth jamon iberico with a near perfect sweet-to-saltiness ratio, to the quince paste that should have accompanied the manchego cheese I took to a tapas night a couple of months ago - if I had known where to find it in Dubai. With no real chance of boarding a plane to Spain any time soon, those two ingredients instantly took me back to the many evenings I'd spent devouring tasty tapas and pintxos in Madrid and Barcelona last summer.
There were other gourmet goodies that caught my eye. The most intriguing was an Italian fig saba – a smooth, almost liqueur-like fruity must vinegar that I’d
quite happily sip on its own, but would also make a great dipping sauce, salad
dressing or syrup to drizzle over ice cream.
Add to that the extensive selection of ingredients showcased via the mammoth
tasting menu created by resident Gourmet Culinary Director – the energetic
Chef Russell Impiazzi – and you can get an inkling of what's on offer at the
well-stocked food hall or live cooking stations occupying various corners of
The evening’s selection of dainty creations brought together produce from across the world, including (among others) silky Scottish salmon with an avocado salsa, creamy buffalo mozzarella paired with cherry tomatoes, delicately spiced mini Moroccon tagine on a bed of couscous, Japanese wagyu prepared as English Beef Wellington, fun little Asian takeaway boxes of yakisoba noodles and pad thai, mini ice cream cones topped with caramelised popcorn and marshmallows, frozen chocolate pops and – to draw the spread to a comforting close – the best churros and hot chocolate I’ve tasted since my last evening in Spain.
As for the highlight of the night? I’ll award that distinction jointly to the two foie gras mini masterpieces that vanished almost as soon as they arrived – foie gras bonbons dusted with crushed nuts (if you were wondering, foie gras bonbons do taste as good as they sound) and a lightly crumbed foie gras croquette served with sweet cranberry sauce.... mmmmmm, I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking :)
In addition to being created by Lafayette Gourmet’s team of chefs from ingredients found in the food hall, the selection we savoured is part of its catering and events menu – available for a cosy gathering of as few as 10 guests to more elaborate affairs numbering in the thousands.
With an inspired menu of Western, Middle Eastern and Oriental creations on offer - and a long list of ethnic ingredients to explore - I'm already planning a few more trips to Lafayette Gourmet (and I imagine I'll be heading there even when my passport is safely back in my hands).
Here's a quick pictorial tour of the tasters we enjoyed that evening:
The full events and catering menu (and price list) can be found below:
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