If you’re wondering what to eat at Gin O’Clock, scroll down for some inspiring ideas and photos of seven delicious food and gin pairings. Plus a brain-muddling soup trick!
Gin is the star of the show today! The first aromatic, strong alcoholic drink in the world to have been created. We might not often consider pairing food with gin. But they actually make a good match. Why? Because gin is usually mixed with tonic water, making it a rather suitable drink to wash down our food.
Since when has gin been enjoyed with food? For the past 20 years or so. Now, we’re about to enjoy some gin cocktails along with some impressive dishes at Restaurant 1906 in Bled. Not to mention a good dose of fun. Be sure to look out for a twist that’s coming in the third pairing 🙂
“Gin has been enjoyed with food for the past 20 years or so.”Majda Debevc, Teacher at Sommelier Master School, Ljubljana
Guest Chef from Pavus Restaurant
An additional special element at this event is chef Marko Pavčnik of Pavus Restaurant hosted by in-house chef Jure Kordež. Pavus Restaurant, which is situated at Tabor Castle in Laško, has been given a Michelin Plate at this year’s Slovenia Michelin Star Awards.
Marko Pavčnik is head chef at Pavus Restaurant, located at Tabor Castle in Laško
We’re drinking Limbay Gin, and cocktails prepared by the restaurant’s very own gin master, F&B manager Danijel Galjot. Majda Debevc, teacher at Sommelier Master School in Ljubljana, is also on hand to animate the pairing and share heaps of cool facts about alcohol and gin.
On to the pairings…
Bled Cream Cake & Sparkling Gin Cocktail
An interesting take on Bled’s iconic Cream Cake features here as an appetiser. I say interesting because the cream cake that chef Jure Kordež has created as a welcome bite is savoury rather than sweet. This version comes with a rosemary-infused polenta and ‘skuta’ (Slovenia’s cottage cheese) filling sandwiched between two puff pastry layers.
The refreshing gin cocktail here is mixed with a sparkling wine by KLEN’ART (85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir). Plus, it’s got a playful touch to it thanks to the peach and apricot caviar floating in the glass.
A linden leaf adorns the glass. This detail implies a warm Slovenian welcome as the linden tree is a symbol of the Slovenian nation. Linden leaves are also one of the aromatics used to produce Limbay Gin, along with rock samphire, rosemary, and the indispensable juniper.
Smoked Trout with White Tea Gin & Tonic
A tasty cold starter of smoked trout, Pavus Restaurant’s signature dish, comes with a white tea gin and tonic.
The beer ponzu sauce in the trout dish perfectly complements the G&T that contains chamomile and horseradish. And a sage leaf is also attached to the glass by a mini peg for anyone wanting that extra herbal flavour.
Crazy Soup Trick & Granny Smith G&T
The waiter pours a clear liquid into my soup bowl. I sit, wondering: “Is my gin-infused brain playing tricks on me?” Even though the menu states it’s a Granny Smith and celery soup (which instantly tells me the soup should be green), I’m actually eating a colourless gin and tonic soup! It’s gin and tonic infused with celery and lime, decorated with red basil leaves. Ha! They certainly got me! Restaurant 1906 can serve up some pretty cool surprises. Kudos to chef Jure Kordež.
To get things straight, the soup and the G&T have switched roles in this pairing, with the G&T acting as the soup and vice versa. The cocktail is a remarkable soupy concoction of G&T, Granny Smith apple, and celery.
Crunchy Truffled Veg & Spritzy G&T
Give me crunchy vegetables any time. Soggy certainly doesn’t do it for me. Now here’s a SUPER crunchy cauliflower that chef Marko has made even crunchier by adding roasted hazelnuts. And the summer truffle cream that surrounds it: goodness, I’m speechless! I won’t eat cauliflower any other way from now on.
Gin guru Danijel Galjot puts on quite a show as he creates his next cocktail, G&T Pangea. He dexterously places lime and artichoke pieces atop an iced lime dome and sets the whole thing alight. The dome melts and mixes with the gin and tonic. (See fiery picture in photo gallery below.) Finally, Danijel adds some tobacco and hazelnut essence. Quite a work!
Fish Fillet Ravioli & Hemp G&T
Very aptly named No Woman No Cry, our next G&T contains hemp, olive oil, and lime leaves. I can really taste the hemp, which comes in just the right dose and adds a funky punch to the lake perch fillet ravioli with porcini and chanterelles, in a wild garlic fish sauce. (Dish by Jure Kordež.)
Deer Meat & Cherry G&T
If you’ve tried deer meat, you’ll probably agree that it goes super well with sweet sauces like cranberry. In this case, we’ve got a G&T accompaniment featuring cherry and spruce buds with meadow sage. Simply delish! The tender deer meat bathes in a morel cream and black walnut sauce, and is top-notch. (Dish by Marko Pavčnik.)
Mint Parfait & Chocolate Mint G&T
This is the match of matches: A mint parfait dessert on a lemongrass crumble with elderflower ice cream. Finished off with an espresso cup of G&T After Ten with chocolate and mint! What more could I ask for?
I hope you’ve enjoyed my gourmet adventure. I certainly would love to hear about your G&T experiences, or any other food and drink adventures.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time with another one of my food and drink stories from Slovenia! 🙂