I was looking forward to this so much, I barely slept the night before! Seriously.
So what do you get when you combine one of our most well-known and well-loved chefs with an internationally acclaimed ice cream brand? You get #HDxForti!
Yes, that was the hashtag of this exciting once-off collaboration event last week at Forti’s Grill and Bar at the brand new Time Square Casino complex in Menlyn, Pretoria. With some of my favourite foodie friends as company we were looking forward to be wowed by this exclusive opportunity – and boy, we sure were!
This was my second visit to Forti’s, and I still (and probably always will) find it breathtakingly beautiful. A modern, open space with the perfect combination of remarkable artwork, practical functionality and the gorgeous use of colour.
And if Forti (as we fondly refer to Fortunato Mazzone, the inspiring chef and restauranteur and the personality and drive behind Forti’s Grill and Bar) is in the immediate vicinity you can add ‘sound’ to that winning combination as well! But more about that a little later….
The aim of this evening – Forti and his team were put to a challenge, to pair some of Häagen-Dazs’s delicious flavours with a delicious Forti-Style dinner (and don’t forget drinks!) – and of course, he accepted the challenge with flair! And he pulled it off beautifully. We even got a personal tour of this stunning premises and the kitchen – and one thing is for sure, this is a very unique and exciting restaurant, where it is obvious that only the best will do.
But, as usual, I digress!
Firstly, the cocktails! Forti’s approach to this menu in general is to put a creative and experimental twist on ‘retro’ food and drinks. And if you have a (Brandy and) Coke Float, a Martini with Macadamia Nut Brittle, and a Salted Caramel Popcorn Don Pedro in the mix, you know that you have a winner!
The food we sampled on included a deconstructed prawn cocktail, simply scrumptious pork belly and a decadent baked lemon tart – all with a big scoop of Häagen-Dazs added to it, and man – it was a real taste adventure. Complex and complementary flavours, textures and beautiful presentation – a winning recipe.
Häagen-Dazs is such a quality product – it was fantastic to see how it complements these gorgeous creations! And to make this experience even more memorable, we were also treating to a LIVE performance by the most talented opera singers (voices straight from heaven) – and of course Forti joined in! A man of many talents I tell you! O sole mio will NEVER be the same for me!
A special thank you to the man himself, and to Monica van der Westhuizen (Häagen-Dazs’s brand manager), as well as my fellow foodie friends for the privilege to be part of this mind-blowing experience!
Received the official menu of the evening – directly from Forti himself! Check it out and salivate!
Deconstructed Prawn Cocktail as a tongue-in-cheek twist on 1970’s SA retro favourite – Prawn tails poached in Asian cooking liquid with coconut cream and lemongrass, avocado mashed with Häagen-Dazs’s Vanilla Cream to make a beautiful creamy avocado Ice Cream and Thousand Island Ice cream made from Häagen-Dazs’s Dulce de Leche, combined with Mayo and Heinz Ketchup served in quenelles alongside the prawns. This new age Avocado Ritz was served with a Naughty Coke Float, Coke with a shot of brandy, topped with Haagen Dasz Macadamia.
Crispy Pork Belly served with curried cabbage, sweet potato mash, whole roasted baby onions in sweet and sour sauce, pickled ginger and a scoop of Häagen-Dazs’s Cookies and Cream served with espresso martini, Bulldog gin. Häagen-Dazs’s Macadamia nut brittle and Kahlua
Lemon and ginger Tart served with raspberry sorbet served with a twist on a Dacquiri with fresh strawberry, Häagen-Dazs strawberry and cream ice cream and Skyy vodka.
Naughty milkshake – Häagen-Dazs’s chocolate, Amarula and Galliano
Dacquiri with a twist – Häagen-Dazs’s strawberries and cream, strawberry pulp and Sky vodka
Bond Espresso Martini – Häagen-Dazs’s Cookies and Cream, kahlua and double shot bulldog gin
Pina Colada frozen – Häagen-Dazs’s Mango and raspberry sorbet, Bacardi, Häagen-Dazs’s vanilla, Archers
Don Pedro deluxe – Glenfiddich single malt, Häagen-Dazs’s vanilla and cream
Naughty coke float – Brandy and coke topped with Häagen-Dazs’s Macadamia
Aperol Slush – double shot aperol, sparkling wine, Häagen-Dazs’s raspberry sorbet
Death by Chocolate – Häagen-Dazs’s double chocolate Ice cream and Galliano with Vodka