The simple elegance of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel’s iconic 1919 restaurant set the stage for a special food and wine pairing event with guest chef, Peter Schintler. Schintler, owner and executive chef of Puerto Rico’s world-renowned restaurant Marmalade, came to the island as a consultant and has since made a name for himself as one of the best in the restaurant world.
Born in Iowa, Schintler earned his fame working as a chef in some of the most prominent restaurants in the world, including Le Cirque in New York City and La Contea in northern Italy. He found his passion in creating chic vegetarian and vegan cuisine, always with an eye on sustainability and a focus on farm-to-table ingredients. The menu at Marmalade, located in Old San Juan, spotlights Schintler’s affinity for local ingredients and pays homage to the cuisine of the Taíno culture, the native people of Puerto Rico.
Condado Vanderbilt welcomed Schintler to be the star of the first evening in 1919’s guest chef event series on March 9. Patrons of this intimate affair were treated to a six course dinner with an expertly-selected wine pairing for each dish.
The night started out with Schintler’s elegant array of canapés served alongside a glass of Besserat de Bellefon’s lively brut champagne. The second course featured a marinated scallop crude served atop a green tea soaked grapefruit with fennel gelée and sesame-sunflower crumble. This bright dish was paired with a luxurious Hungarian wine, the 2015 Bestek Dulo from Erzsebet Pince, which has tasting notes of ripe autumn fruits, pear, stone fruit and some spice. Another seafood dish followed, this one a kelp cured cod with local sungold tomatoes and parsley-pickled mustard seed jus. The cod paired nicely with another wine selection from Erzsebet Pince winery, this time the 2012 Kafir Dulo which boasts a long, crisp mineral finish with lemon zest.
The local ingredients shone in the fourth course, an ancient grain dish of gnocchi with kale-walnut pesto, parsnip, local pumpkin and mustard green sprouts. The course was paired with the vibrant berry notes of the 2014 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, California. Another Californian wine, the Vine Cliff 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, was poured alongside the next awe-inspiring course, squab with charred eggplant, young lettuce, freekeh and comte churros. Diners ending the evening with a dessert of warm chocolate cake complete with coffee ganache, citrus curd and praline. The rich flavors of chocolate and coffee were paired with a third Hungarian wine, the Tokaji Hannah Cuvee Late Harvest 2011.