by Virginia De Masi
MONACO. The pleasure of a getaway for two with Belle Epoque charm, or precious moments to savor with the family…in the heart of Monaco the Monte -Carlo Beach Resort is the dream hotel for a Mediterranean stay with its exceptional Spa Cinq Mondes at the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, the Olympic swimming pool, the beach and spa facilities, as well as the pool bar and the restaurants Le Deck, La Vigie and the legendary Guide Michelin star Elsa with its new chef Benoît Witz! In the Elsa dining room arrangements have been made to enable social distancing, with limited place settings, additional spacing between the tables, and special floor markings to ensure a safe and optimal experience.
The decoration is elegant and refined, just like the cuisine. The azure shades delicately suggest the contours of the Mediterranean coastline. From the terrace, time stands still for a delicious moment of communion with nature, revealing a magnificent view over the sea and the Riviera.
BENOÎT WITZ, a doyen of the Monaco gourmet scene and a creative mastermind who works hand-in-hand with the producers and farmers of the region, is the new chef of the Monte-Carlo restaurant Elsa. The first 100% organic restaurant table certified since 2013 by Ecocert (level 3) to receive a coveted Michelin star reopened in July after the pandemic lockdown. Although born in Alsace, Benoît Witz has a passion for the southern cuisine and pays homage to the Mediterranean and its flavors with a healthy and authentic cuisine in harmony with nature.
This recipe represents the harvests made in Italy and one of the highlights of his career: “…the discovery at Louis XV – Alain Ducasse of the menu called Les Jardins de Provence. A menu based on vegetables, with vegetables and nothing but vegetables.” says Benoît.
VEGETABLE SOUP FROM THE GARDENS OF PROVENCE AND PISTOU by Benoît Witz
For 4 to 6 people
Ingredients: 3 pieces of purple artichoke, 1 fennel, 1 medium carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 white onion, 1 green zucchini, 2 potatoes, 2 tomatoes, 150 g peas, 50 g beans, 50 g green beans, 2 cloves garlic,1,5 l chicken broth, salt, pepper, olive oil
For the pistou: 3 cloves of garlic, 20 g pine nuts,10 g parmesan,12 cl of olive oil,1 bunch of basil
Method: Wash the vegetables. Peel the celery stalk, onion, carrot, potatoes. Remove the peel of the tomatoes in boiling water, cool them in ice water then cut them into petals and cut into small 5-6 mm cubes. Chop celery, carrot, onion, fennel, potatoes and zucchini. Peel the artichokes after having stripped them, removing the green and hard parts. Cut the artichokes in half and thinly slice them. Crush the garlic in a saucepan, stir-fry the vegetables except potatoes, zucchini and tomato in olive oil for 6 to 8 minutes. Season to salt, pour the hot broth over the vegetables then add the potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes. During this time, shell the peas and the broad beans, withdraw the ends and the tails of the green beans and cut them into 1.5 cm sticks. Add the green vegetables and the tomato and cook for 5 minutes.
Prepare the pistou: Peel and degerm the garlic and mash it with the pine nuts, the Parmesan and a pinch of salt. Add the mashed basil leaves and drizzle the preparation with the extra virgin olive oil. Pour the soup into a soup tureen with a little pistou and mix. Serve it hot with the rest of the pistou on the side.
Delights from the Jardin des Antipodes in Menton and the Domaine d’Agerbol by Virgilio Ferrari in Roquebrune Cap Martin, Alpilles Lamb, local fish, sweet zucchini and citrus fruits from Cap Martin allow the creation of Benoît Witz new signature dishes à la carte, making exciting waves in the gastronomic high press.