Casa del Visitante: 9-Course Food & Wine Paired Menu
In the historic wine region of Maipu, Familia Zuccardi, knows that when it comes to crafting synergy on the palate, success comes down to the smallest of details. The Familia Zuccardi property consists of a winery, olive oil factory, vegetarian bistro, and the Casa del Visitante. In the Casa del Visitante Restaurant, Chef Matias Aldasoro constructs what is nothing short of a foodie’s paradise.
The intimate dining room is set as an indoor patio, ensconced within a garden lush with plant life and mid-summer blooms. The 9-course tasting menu is accompanied by six Zuccardi wines, but not in the way you might expect.
The dining table is adorned with a lineup of every style wine glass – from red to sparkling, white to dessert, and back again – from the first moment it’s evident that the meal is not going to follow the usual rules. And thank goodness.
Had he subscribed to the usual doctrine of drinking from white to red, and bookending the menu with sparkling wines, Chef Matias Aldasoro would likely not accomplish such irreverent innovation with each plate. Though the menu changes seasonally, adapting to feature the fruits of local farmers and the whims of the wine team, it is consistent in one aspect: the meal is always at its most delicious when diners check their expectations at the door.
Chef Aldasoro explained that “the idea is to play with texture and sensation, to mix hot and cold temperatures on the same plate, and even to begin with dessert.”
And it did. The meal began with a warm watermelon steak accompanied by a scoop of goat cheese ice cream and fresh basil pesto. The warm sweetness of the watermelon literally melted into the subtle tanginess of the ice cream. Then the gentle crunch and herbaceous pesto brought everything together on the palate. Hot, cold, sweet, savory, creamy and crunch.
Introduce a sip of wine into the meal, and it’s nothing short of a symphony. It is a menu that invites the diner to engage at whatever level he or she desires – perhaps simply sipping and tasting through each course is enough, content to let the senses blur together in one experience. Or, perhaps it’s more enjoyable to deconstruct, to observe each contrast in turn and to marvel at how such dissonance could ever become so delicious.
As the servers oscillate in and out of the kitchen, they deliver each course and the accompanying wine: a strawberry gazpacho with trout ceviche salad, trout fillet with melon yogurt shooter, a tomato medley with olive oil ice cream, fried sweetbreads with citric aioli dressing, grilled flank steak on a ginger carrot purée, squash cheesecake, and finally, a sautéed melon vanilla crisp desert with mint sorbet.
In the end, it is all a piece of Aldasoro’s plan, “I like that everything is about sensation,” he explains. “That the idea is not simply just to eat and eat, but rather that every bite is an experience all its own.”
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