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The Balvenie x Garibaldi: A Collaboration of Craftsmanship

As part of The Balvenie and Michelin Guide’s Handcrafted By program, chef Roberto Galetti of Garibaldi creates two new dishes inspired by the flavours of The Balvenie’s whiskies.

While there may be countless Scotch whisky brands that exist in the market, what sets The Balvenie apart is the expertise and tradition that goes into the production of each dram. To them, the perfect single malt whisky first begins with their homegrown barley, that is malted by hand before it is ready for the kiln where it is dried with peat to increase complexity.

The taste of the whisky is further fine-tuned in copper stills, which have seen little variation from the originals used at the distillery since its founding. The drink is then brewed in casks that have been toasted to caramelise the wood sugar, and the duration depends on the intended flavour of the batch. The Balvenie has partnered with The Michelin Guide to present Handcrafted By, a collaboration to showcase the craftsmanship present in whisky making and the culinary world.

Executive chef Roberto Galetti’s passion and skill for cooking exemplifies this well, for it has allowed Garibaldi, his humble Italian restaurant, to be knighted with a Michelin star of approval every year since 2017. Hence, Garibaldi was a choice platform for Handcrafted By.

For this program, he has created two new dishes inspired by the tastes, flavours and scents of the selected whiskies, The Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood and The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask. This exclusive collaboration is available from now till 20 December this year.

Lightly Smoked Scottish Salmon with Fresh Burrata Cheese, Lemon Zest, Toasted Almonds and Fresh Figs, served with Focaccia Bread and paired with The Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood (Image courtesy of The Michelin Guide)

And since whisky is sipped in small quantities each time, chef Galetti decided to embody this characteristic by presenting the appetiser as minute components instead of a heartier, singular item. The salmon is cured with The Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood before being lightly smoked, mirroring the profile of the whisky.

Its 30-year maturation period in port pipes imparts an extra depth and concentration of fruity and nutty flavours, and those are amplified by the fresh figs and toasted almonds. The creamy and easily palatable nature of the Scotch allows it to be a good combination with burrata cheese, a typical Italian starter.

Roasted Chilean Seabass in Hazelnut Crust, Vanilla Scented Potato Gnocchi with Mascarpone Cheese and Crispy San Daniele Ham, paired with The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask (Image courtesy of The Michelin Guide)

The next dish’s initial scent from the gnocchi’s vanilla mascarpone sauce and hazelnut and honey crusted seabass could be puzzling on first whiff, but it all pulls together harmoniously when melded with The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask.

The single malt is matured for 14 years in traditional oak whisky casks, then finished in ones that previously held Caribbean rum, resulting in a well-rounded, honeyed whisky with notes of toffee and vanilla. The salty, crisped ham serves to complement the softer textures of the pasta and fish, and to ensure that the dish’s sweetness does not overpower the whisky.

Through these intricate pairings, diners get to experience the collision of two different worlds of Scottish whisky and Italian food, and how they both share similar stories of success due to their makers strive for excellence in their respective crafts and use of high-quality ingredients.

The Balvenie x Garibaldi experience will be available until 20 December 2020. Garibaldi is located at 36 Purvis Street, #01-02, Singapore 188613.

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Beverly Teo

Editorial Intern

High-spirited, creative, and a little bit ditzy, she dreams of the day she'll be able to adventure around the globe and feast on all the good desserts the world has to offer. When she's at home, you would probably find her obsessing over her dog.

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