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Culinary Cinema: Red Obsession
by Mary Nyiri

The Movie

Let’s begin with the appetizer: Una Furtiva Lagrima by director Carlo Vogele (France/USA 2012). This short film is more than just a flash in the pan; it is an absolutely delightful fish story.

For the main course I chose the film Red Obsession, because it features the most famous red Bordeaux wines of the world. Glorious aerial and other film footage showcase the Chateaux of Margaux, Latour, Haut Brion, and Petrus, to name a few. Bordeaux has been the signature wine of wealth and power for centuries with its mystique and high prices now attracting new rich and powerful Chinese customers, some of whom simply display the wines like fine art rather than actually drinking them. The film follows the increasing “red” obsession that raises the prices for wines from the most famous vineyards to unprecedented highs, only to be followed by the inevitable.  What I really want to know is was how David Roach and Warwick Ross managed to raise the funds for financing their personal wine tasting tour of some of the finest wines in the world so I can direct the sequel!

The Meal

Upon entering, the Gropius Mirror Restaurant smelled like a street food market in Shanghai. The totally unexpected source of the scent was popcorn. The Amuse am Tisch (literally mouth amuser on the table), was tasty with typical Asian spices including anise, cardamom, fennel and white pepper. From the French amuse-bouche, this small bite before the meal is considered a donation from the chef. Quite frankly, for a meal and movie at an extravagant 85 Euros, I was not amused to find that the chef’s treat was simply flavored popcorn to be shared with the other guests at the banquet table.

Our appetizer consisted of tofu in wine with a Petoncle, Chinese cabbage and black pepper. None of us had any idea what a Petoncle was but the tofu was served with a scallop. Yummy.
 The main course of Lo Bak Go (normally served as dim sum, a rice cake made with Chinese radish or turnip) with halibut, Cabernet-Choy Sum (another Chinese cabbage) and brown butter was nicely flavored but lacked excitement. Dessert came in a plastic bubble. The Azukibohnen (Azuki is the Japenese word for red Adzuki beans from China, Korea or Japan) cream with a red wine chili ice cream and coriander streusel (crumb-like topping) tasted quite good and was certainly the best presentation.

The Michelin man for our meal was Kolja Kleeberg with one Michelin star, 17 points from Gault Millau and 3 F from Der Feinschmecker. His restaurant VAU is located in Berlin Mitte (see for address and menus). By comparison, I have eaten much tastier food on the streets of Shanghai for far less money.  The concept of a movie followed by dinner inspired by the film is a very good one that should attract lots of friends and couples for an entire evening of good entertainment and fine food. My beef: Tickets are almost impossible to secure if you live outside of Berlin (and difficult even if you live there!) and the tickets, except perhaps for the novelty of experience value, are overpriced.

The Wine

2011 Riesling
Qualitätswein trocken
Weingut A. Christmann
Just lovely!

2004 Chateau Palmer
Grand Cru Classé 1,5 l Magnum
Margaux, Bordeaux
My table companions: Schwach (bland), and I agree.

1998 Bernkasteler Lay
Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm
Unfortunately, I have no recollection of even tasting this one!