Dani Garcia

Calima

calle José Meliá
Marbella
Spagna
T. +34.952.764252

Dani Garcia came to everyone’s attention in 2001, when, at the age of 25, the Michelin guide awarded him a star at the restaurant he occupied at the time, Tragabuches in Ronda. It was the only star in the whole of Andalusia, in Southern Spain. Dani has short hair, a round face, is happily overweight and has the hand of a chef who’s used to holding pans. He might come across as being a big softy and, while being very polite, he has both a strong personality and an iron-willed intent to remain faithful to the flavours of his homeland. The collaboration with Professor Raimundo Garcia del Moral of Granada University is important and serious. Garcia has a very friendly relationship with nitrogen but the entire construction of a dish has always been geared towards achieving something good and not something merely attractive or astounding. No one returns for something attractive, but everyone comes back for something good.

In Marbella he chose a splendidly romantic and dreamy name for his new venue twenty metres from the beach (where coffee is served on the terrace): Calima, which isn’t a woman or a flower, but a mist which hides the sea from the gaze of those standing on the shore in the morning. Calima sounds like slow music, a sensation grown from the immensity of the only dining room, from the bog window that looks outside and from food proposals and harmonious, never hasty serving rhythms. And it’s also worth mentioning the phrase the he completes in explanation of his choice: «eterna huida (escape, editor’s note), refugio de la memoria». The menu is an on-going balance of flavours from the past, echoes of childhood and flights towards the future.

The division of the food at the start of the tasting menu is highly original: creative, tapas and all sweet. And if you want to order freely there are some really unique items: cold soups, the sea with the division between the catch from Mediterranean Andalusia and Atlantic Andalusia, Spanish pork, tradition and product, dessert, divided between traditional certainties and rarities dulces. What is so impressive about the dishes is the constant presence of the main flavour. While it might be a lot of hard work, the “Semolina” with olive oil and ham, toasted bread and garlic is characterised by the flavours of a bruschetta, the goat’s cheese with foie gras and green apple is cheese and foie, not a soggy mess, and the fried sole is the sublimation of floured and fried sole suspended over stock... two services in one. Amazement is guaranteed because in the end you can’t imagine how something crispy and fried can remain so authentic in the presence of hot stock and steam. These are all alchemies which, in 2011, earned him two Michelin stars and an endless list of acknowledgments.

 

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Roberta Corradin

For over a decade Roberta Corradin has been covering travel and food for Italian Marie Claire, L'Espresso, La Repubblica, illywords and others. She is a contributor for Food Arts. Her Italian rendition of Spices, History of a Temptation by Jack Turner was awarded with Premio Costa d'Amalfi. She edited the English version of Nonna Genia's Classic Langhe Cookbook. Her fiction works are published in German, French, and Spanish. Her last book Le cuoche che volevo diventare focuses on women and cooking, and was published in Italy by Einaudi in 2008.