Travels

Having dinner at the Riff Restaurant in Valencia

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Ventresca with lettuce

It was the night of San José and, in Valencia, they burned the failures one more year while the people attended excitedly to this show in which the fire devours the fruit of the arduous annual work of so many people. Tears ran down the cheeks of many of the Valencians, excited ... And far away from there, in the beautiful region of the German Black Forest, at that moment, a mother was experiencing the most beautiful sensation that could exist: giving birth to a child . Thus was born Bernd H. Knöller, on March 19, a few years ago, although his jovial character and healthy appearance made me think that there could not be so many.

Who knows if that coincidence in his birth linked his destiny to what is his city of residence for so many years.

The chef and owner of the Valencia Riff restaurant -one of the five that have a Michelin star in the capital of Turia-, Bernd H. Knöller He received me when he arrived at his restaurant located at number 18 Conde Altea street. He was accompanied by his inseparable Paquita Pozo, the Granada sommelier who has become almost the chef's family after more than a decade working together.

The Riff presented me with two different environments in the same space: a few small tables arranged in line and three or four round tables separated by white curtains that veil the gaze just enough for diners to feel a certain intimacy.

Nice with sauerkraut

I chatted with Bernd for a while and Paquita showed me my table. Soon, Bernd reappeared carrying his cookbook, Ànima Mediterrània, in your hands. A work that took him more than 3 years of work with the photographer, and personal friend, Xavier Mollà. He conceived it as a different book where it was not only a question of showing a list of recipes where the quantities without soul are what they send. Half a liter of water here, a cup of rice there ... No, Ànima Mediterrània He wants to go further and deals with the people, the earth, the sea and the history behind each dish and each bite.

The result worked in every way and is a book of good recipes, luxury binding and even better photos and stories. Not in vain, He was elected Best Chef Book of Spain in 2012, competing for the world scepter in Paris in 2013.

I began to look through the book but I had little time because the first dishes began to seduce me in less than five minutes. More than a dozen different food would make my experience in the Riff the best -likely speaking- I've had in a long time.

Skilfully combining fish, meat and vegetables I tried several dishes from the two main menus offered by the Riff.

Manchego smoked rice and arugula

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