Samui Wining & Dining
Immerse Yourself in Truffles

The Cellar at Conrad Koh Samui, brings something truly special to the table.

 

14-15It was once believed that truffles grew where lightning struck the ground. Perhaps what adds to the mystique of truffles, is the manner in which they're harvested. Pigs and dogs, with their sharp sense of smell, are trained to sniff out these fungi that never emerge from the ground – like hidden treasures, literally worth their weight in gold. They are highly prized as a food. In fact, they are often referred to as 'the diamonds of the kitchen'. Edible truffles are a delicacy in Middle Eastern, French, Spanish, Northern Italian and Greek cooking, and are used to flavour international haute cuisine. In Italy's Piedmont and Umbria regions, the heart of truffle country, harvest season is a time of celebration for both truffle harvesters (known as trifolau) and the townsfolk that host the ever-popular truffle festivals.

    Located at the south-west tip of the island, The Cellar at Conrad Koh Samui, brings a taste of the truffle festival to Samui, by way of an 'Immerse yourself in truffles' dinner. It's held every Thursday night, and features a specially designed degustation menu with wine pairings.

      Starting from 7:00 pm, the resort’s Executive Chef Konrad Inghelram, (yes, his name really is Konrad) presents a specially created menu with wine pairings by the resort’s award-winning sommelier, Khun Charuk Chochan (Khun Cha), to create a memorable dining experience in a unique and exclusive setting. This new promotion promises to impress even the most discerning connoisseurs.

      Now truly special food, should be served in an equally impressive venue, and The Cellar certainly makes the grade. On first arrival, one wonders at the name 'Cellar' as the entrance is at the highest point of the resort. Cellars are usually underground, are they not? But, as you enter through a heavy wooden door, walk down a dimly-lit, winding staircase, to a solitary room lined with vintage wines and original artwork, it becomes apparent that you are in a fully functional wine-vault tucked deep into the mountainside. Sitting at the chunky wooden table, it's easy to imagine you are at any of the world's best vineyards – all that's missing are a few cobwebs strategically placed over the bottles. But hey, this is the Conrad after all, so not a cobweb in sight. This venue is the ideal place to host a special occasion. Menus are carefully selected, with the chef and the sommelier working in close collaboration to please the most ardent foodie or serious wine guru.

       So what's so special about Thursday nights? Well, the Truffle Night offers a delightful six-course set menu, each course perfectly paired with a wine selected by Khun Cha. She is knows her wines, and is keen to share this knowledge, enthusiastically telling you why she chose each wine, in a relaxed chatty manner.

       The menu's opening act is hand-dived king scallops ceviche, with a cauliflower purée, and white Alba truffle vinaigrette. A glass of Follador Prosecco Extra Dry NV, from Veneto, Italy, complements it perfectly. Next are grilled artichokes and black truffle velouté, with a truffle foam, served resembling a cappuccino. With that, enjoy a glass of Grosset Picadilly Chardonnay 2008, from Adelaide Hills, Australia. Don't rush, there are still four more courses to follow.

      Third on the menu is the Gulf of Thailand prawn risotto, with wild mushrooms and a black truffle cream. It has a delicious earthy flavour, from the combination of mushrooms and truffle. Khun Cha's choice of wine for this dish is Fromm Winery La Strada Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand. After this, cleanse your palate with a pomelo granite.

      Meat lovers will enjoy the next course of beef tournedos rossini, in a Madeira sauce, topped with foie gras and black truffle, and served with baby spinach. Perfectly paired to the meat, is a glass of Bruno Giacosa Barbera d'Alba Falletto Superiore 2006, from Piedmont, Italy. This wine is particularly more-ish, with it's spicy tones and hints of cassis and cedar on the nose.

      Next you'll wish you never had that slice of house-made bread, as black truffle panna cotta with almond biscotti arrives at the table. Force yourself to indulge – it's worth it as the soft white panna cotta goes perfectly with a crispy chocolate-coated almond biscotti. The dessert wine to accompany this is a Felsina Vin Santo 2003 produced in Tuscany, Italy.

      Finishing off this superb menu, are aged Taleggio macadamia nuts, truffle honey, quince paste, and oatmeal biscuits. Chocolate truffles served with tea or coffee, round the meal off.

      Vegetarians will be impressed that Chef Konrad concocts a special, and equally as impressive menu for non-meat eaters. Just let them know when booking.

 

      Now that your mouth is watering, best you get dialling, as there is only ONE table available at this exclusive, intimate venue. Yes, just one table, which seats a maximum of eight comfortably. And, the truffle menu is only served on a Thursday night, so book before the waiting list gets too long. You're probably thinking that the Conrad is a little too far to drive, especially after generous quantities of good wine. Not to worry. An exclusive limousine service can be arranged to pick up guests from anywhere on Samui, and this is included in the price per head – Which is 3,200 baht++ per person food only, and 5,500 baht ++ with wine pairing.

 

      As The Cellar is tucked underground, it would be best to arrive early, and sip a few cocktails at the outdoor lounge overlooking the Five Islands. The Conrad is perfectly positioned to make the most of the spectacular sunsets, so take in the view before descending into your underground chamber of delights.

Rosanne Turner


 


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