For the presentation of its newest release, the Roma, Ferrari associated with Master Chef Peter Knogl and created a one-of-a-kind culinary experience at Cheval Blanc, the three Michelin stars restaurant at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel.
During lunch, we got to immerse in the universe of Ferrari Roma and could not only see, hear, and feel La Nuova Dolce Vita it exudes, but also taste it! Peter’s signature dish, “Carabinero, Tomate and Jalapeño”, is a symphony of Italian flavors – an edible masterpiece that reflects the timelessness, aesthetics, and emotions that characterize the beautiful car to which it is a tribute.
The Ferrari Roma was presented for the first time in November 2019 at a special event for customers in Rome. The new mid-front-engined 2+ coupé features refined proportions and timeless design combined with unparalleled performance and handling. With its distinctive flair and style, the car is a contemporary representation of the carefree, pleasurable way of life – La Dolce Vita – that characterized Rome in the 1950s and ‘60s.
The Ferrari Roma is not only a prime example of Italian design but also outstanding performance thanks to its Turbo V8 from the engine family, which was named International Engine of the Year four years in a row. In the present version, the engine puts 620 HP on the road at 7,500 rpm and is connected to the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, which was first used on the SF90 Stradale.
The new Roma is the expression of this “Dolce Vita” transferred to our time, “La Nuova Dolce Vita”, so to speak. And in line with our times, Ferrari created an innovative social media campaign, whereby more and more details about the car were progressively released. In order to facilitate the apprehension of the La Nuova Dolce Vita lifestyle concept, the Ferrari Roma was staged at various symbolic locations in the Italian capital and received a lot of praise and applause from both the public and the critics alike.
Now, the concept is introduced in other countries as well and so we got to experience the newest Coupé from Maranello at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel. Il Cavallino Rampante popped up at Cheval Blanc to delight guests with a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds!
Our host was the famous top chef Peter Knogl. His restaurant, “Cheval Blanc” (3 Michelin stars and 19 Gault & Millau points), is located on the left bank of the river Rhine, at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, “Hotel of the Year 2020” by Gault & Millau.
That Ferrari associated with this hotel for the presentation of the beautiful, powerful Coupé bearing the Prancing Horse seems only natural: always at the search for the very best, hosting a lunch at Cheval Blanc corresponds perfectly with the brand’s philosophy.
As main ingredients for his Ferrari Roma signature dish Peter Knogl selected carabinero, tomato and jalapeño. To round off the composition, he added typical Mediterranean ingredients such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These were used in the 1950s and 1960s, and are now being reinterpreted – just like the Ferrari Roma.
Peter Knogl explains: “For me, tradition is the key. It is the basis for a successful product. The dish must inspire me, match my philosophy and not be too complicated for the guest to understand. That is the secret that one needs to keep in mind and that’s what Ferrari Roma and this dish have in common – both delight and reinterpret the tradition “.
This creation was indeed mind-blowing! Perfect in its purity, honest, authentic, and pristine flavors that were elegantly balanced. The taste of Italy captured in its essence. And, like the car, a feast for the eyes. Served on exquisite white tableware, the reds and greens popped. The delicate yellow petal symbolizing the Ferrari emblem. The ensemble, a promise of the amazing flavors we were about to discover!
The collaboration with Peter Knogl sure adds a new chapter to the Book of Dolce Vita. He really managed to capture the essence of this beautiful car, to decompose and to recompose its DNA, and to create a culinary experience to the image of this elegant Coupé.
“Peter Knogl has been pursuing his chosen path in the Cheval Blanc since 2007. He has everything that distinguishes a great Master Chef. Well-grounded, he remains true to his own style but is nonetheless always open to new influences. Transient fashions are alien to him, he prefers to consequently develop his own. His creations, in which French haute cuisine is enriched with Mediterranean and Asian influences, concentrate on the essentials and are always on the search for the masterly symbiosis of the ingredients – prepared from the best that nature provides us with.” Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Together with his team in the Cheval Blanc, they have taken their place among the 100 best restaurants in the world: 3 stars in the Guide Michelin, 19 GaultMillau points, “Chef of the Year” 2011 and 2015, Prix Villégiature Awards 2015 “best Hotel restaurant in Europe”, “Sommelier Award 2019” for Christoph Kokemoor…
Peter Knogl about his work: “My greatest enjoyment: to select high quality products and then prepare them. My greatest pleasure: to indulge my guests with a cuisine full of shape and color, full of taste and the sun. My greatest satisfaction: to impart well-being through my cooking.”
The menu he created for the event with Ferrari Roma did not only “impart well-being” upon guests, it amazed and astounded! Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were invited to an aperitif: Champagne Chartogne-Taillet. Then, we took place at the table and started with “Moule bouchot, citron vert”, followed by “Concombre, yaourt, escabèche”, “Thon, avocat, vinaigrette sushi”, and “Macaron, foie, orange, Garam Masala”.
My favorite was in fact the cucumber soup. Not that the other dishes weren’t spectacular, they truly were! It’s just that I so love the taste of cucumber and, paired with the white wine selected by Sommelier Christoph Kokemoor – Pernand Vergelesses “Les Caradeux” | Chardonnay, 2014, Domaine Chanson – this dish really stood out for me. Then, of course, there were the tuna and the macaron… a pas de deux of salty and sweet, a yīn yáng of the elements, Sea and Earth.
The mussels were attracting all the eyes when they came out of the kitchen. Zingy and salty… the juice of lime in which they marinated was flavorsome enough to perfectly balance the strong minerality of the Chardonnay that accompanied the entrée.
As an entremets, Peter surprised us with “Textures de Champignons et Pata Negra”. This dish did not figure on the menu and was a little bonus really to allow us a glimpse at the autumn flavors. Earthy and savory, the ultra-thin cracker topped with cream and mushroom evoked associations of a fresh leaf that just fell of a forest tree and onto the moss beneath it. The mushroom notes were light and subtle, preparing the palate for what was to come.
The meat course consisted of “Filet de veau, sauce d’artichauts et pousses de poireaux” (Filet of veal, sauce of artichokes and leek sprouts). The veal was tender like butter and cooked to perfection, the sauce smooth and creamy, and the leeks nice and crunchy. Again, a dish that evoked a stroll through the forest at late summer, just at the dawn of autumn, with rustling leaves underneath your feet and golden hues glistening through the trees whose foliage starts to become thinner…
The wine that sommelier Christoph Kokemoor selected to accompany the hearty main course was a Chambolle Musigny | Pinot Noir, 2012, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod. An elegant, earthy, voluminous wine with notes of ripe red fruit, mainly cherries. The promise of an abundant harvest and the upcoming game season.
You know you have reached the height of your culinary journey when you get offered a pre-dessert to cleanse your palate: shiso cress sorbet, sponge cake of pistachio and matcha, yuzu marshmallow.
The pinnacle of any meal, of course, dessert! To sublime our La Nuova Dolce Vita experience, we got served this beautiful trio: Café, Moscovado et framboise, followed by coffee – Macchiato Caldo for me – and friandises. The final treats to round off the lunch were Mille-feuille of Nougat & Hazlenut, French Calissons of Thyme & Mint, Raspberry & Kalamansi swirls.
There are so many more things to say about Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois: the overall ambiance that reins, the exquisite hospitality, the attention to even the littlest detail, it is a GRAND HOTEL indeed! A place where you feel connected to history, where the elegance, the rituals, the service have an “comme à l’époque” flair, but that, at the same time, has a very contemporary vibe. It exudes the type of luxury we all crave: unpretentious, accessible, and enjoyable. You can feel that everybody here strives for the very best. And maybe it is feeling the true passion in the search for excellence that makes you want to be part of this family.
Peter Knogl has been with the hotel for over thirteen years, alongside him Sommelier Christoph Kokemoor. Consistency is one element in the strive for perfection; another is motion. Never standing still, always questioning the status quo, inventing and reinventing, and progressing in time… a philosophy that reverberates with Ferrari, a timeless icon of style and performance.
The clip above is from the official launch campaign and shows some exquisite storytelling! Ferrari Roma is available in Switzerland from CHF 231’000. Photos: Tobias Sagmeister