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Here, a brief review of small and large wonders in the international haute cuisine scene, highlighting five gastronomic delights you should always have at hand.
Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou
G. H. Mumm is one of the world’s largest champagne producers and a leader in sales in France. It is easily recognizable by its characteristic Cordon Rouge, a symbol of the French Legion of Honor. Its exclusive Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou is a tribute to the visionary René Lalou, one of the frim’s most illustrious presidents. Its production is limited to nine harvests, the first in 1966 and the last in 1985. This champagne can only be defined as extraordinary, with fresh citrus flavors, great complexity, and finesse. In the mouth, we can sense outstanding notes of toasted almonds, orange, white flower and acacia honey. Ideal to enjoy alone or in good company.
Moose Cheese is a truly unique and rare product. Those who have had the great fortune of tasting it say it is the finest cheese they ever had. It is made with the milk from only three moose whose names are Gullan, Haelga and Juno. These gentle animals were abandoned by their mother and adopted by the Johannson family in Bjurholm, Västerbotten County, Sweden. They only produce milk from May to September, and expert veterinarians, familiar with the admirable organoleptic properties of their milk, verify its authenticity and superb quality. Milking requires special care because any alteration causes the animal to stop lactating. Each produces about a liter of milk per day, which translates into a yearly yield of only 660 pounds of cheese. The final product contains 12 percent fat and 12 percent of protein and is considered one of the most expensive cheeses in the world with a price that exceeds $250 per pound.
La Maison Fontaine
Absinthe, the liqueur made with wormwood, was outlawed for many years and was attributed hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac properties. Today, we know this is not true, and it is believed that its ban, in 1915, was probably a trick of the nascent-but-powerful French wine industry. The fact is that, in the early 20th century, absinthe had become the favorite drink of bohemians and great geniuses such as Edouard Manet, Toulouse Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Charles Baudelaire, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway, among others. Fortunately, these days we can enjoy this historic drink, once again, in many countries. The most prestigious ultra-premium absinthe in the international market is La Maison Fontaine, produced in the centenarian stills of the beautiful slopes of Portarlier’s Jura Mountains in France. Fifteen natural herbs are used in its preparation to create a stimulating and refreshing drink with hints of anise, fennel, wormwood and lemon notes.
Samuel Adams Utopias
In Boston, Massachusetts, the historic Samuel Adams brewery produces one of the most expensive beers in the world, created for a demanding and very select audience. Rich malt and the complexity of the wood make the flavor of Samuel Adams Utopias unlike any other beverage in the world. The fine ingredients used to make this unique beer include four types of hops and Viennese and Bavarian malts that give it its peculiar bright amber color. For fermentation, it requires the same yeast used for making champagne, and it is aged in Scotch barrels, which previously contained sherry. The result of the entire process is a unique beer with a slightly fruity taste and a deep flavor reminiscent of a fine cognac. Its price is over $100 a bottle.
Rosa Lafuente Preserves
In Villanueva de Arosa, Pontevedra, Spain, is Conservera Gallega SA, a company specialized in the manufacture of canned fish and seafood for more than 100 years. Their products are processed in the traditional way, manually selecting the best ingredients without preservatives or additives. They only work with seafood of the highest quality, and although they usually do business under the name Paco Lafuente, Rosa Lafuente, the director of the company and its founder’s granddaughter, has added her name to a new line, exclusive and exquisite. Rosa Lafuente products include navajas, raw cockles and clams, fried pickled mussels, scallops in sauce and sardines in olive oil, all beautifully wrapped and packaged. The best way to enjoy these delicacies is with a good fruity Galician Albariño white wine. With this combination, pleasure is guaranteed. ■