Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Iceland: La Primavera

Photo by Emily Clack
So the judging begins at La Primavera with my team of judges, Marcus Jernmark of Aquavit and Fridrik Sigurosson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland. 
Photo by Emily Clack
La Primavera is a contemporary Italian restaurant which merges Northern Italian influences with local Icelandic products. Owner and chef Leifur Kolbeinsson spends a lot of his time in Italy studying and mastering the techniques and philosophy of the Italian cuisine. La Primavera has taken the pleasure in introducing Icelanders to the delicacies of Italian cuisine.

Photo by Emily Clack
Luigi Pomata of Sardinia teamed with La Primavera to create a delicious menu for Food and Fun. His specialty is clearly Mediterranean cooking and fish is his favorite. He also loves lamb and is a long time fan of the unique Icelandic lamb. 
Photo by Emily Clack
When we got to the restaurant, I quickly asked the bartender about the infamous Brennivin (aka "Black Death") that I heard so much about.  He quickly poured us a taste.  Brennivin is a brand of schnapps considered to be one of Iceland's signature liquors.  It is made from fermented potato and flavored with caraway seeds.  Similar to an anise flavor, but a little lighter.  It actually goes down pretty easily. 

We began our meal with Langoustine wrapped in crispy bread served with the cream of Gorgonzola and balsamic vinegar. This was my first time tasting langoustine which I like to refer to as "baby lobster".  I loved the combination of textures with the crunch of the bread and the tenderness of the seafood.  I'm not the biggest fan of Gorgonzola, but the dish still had great flavor.

Next we ate cannelloni with ricotta mousse and herbs, seafood carbonara sauce and basil pesto.  I liked the pasta, but I didn't like it with the raw shrimp.
My favorite lamb dish of all the restaurants was Chef Luigi's lamb wrapped in prosciutto with mushrooms and black truffle sauce.  It was cooked perfectly and I loved the way the lamb tasted with the mushrooms.  Yum!

The best dessert of the competition also was Chef Luigi's small cake of chocolate and pears with a saffron sauce vanilla ice cream.

I loved the meal.  We couldn't stay and dine all night...we still had two more restaurants to try before tomorrow.

All photos by Emily Clack

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