12 days of christmas: amaro… (2018)

– Everything was gigantic in Warsaw.  The buildings were gigantic – enormous concrete structures that stretched as far as I could see.  Those city blocks were gigantic too. What looked like a short walk on a map, to my surprise, took three or four times as long as I estimated. But amidst all of the […]


Everything was gigantic in Warsaw.  The buildings were gigantic – enormous concrete structures that stretched as far as I could see.  Those city blocks were gigantic too. What looked like a short walk on a map, to my surprise, took three or four times as long as I estimated.

But amidst all of the grey I found an idyllic patch of green, the famous Łazienki Park (pronounced WHY-zhyen-kee). Formerly the grounds of a complex of royal residences, it is now the city’s largest public park, where wild peacocks scuttle about the tree-lined trails and the city’s hero Frédéric Chopin is breathtakingly immortalized under a windswept willow.  I loved Łazienki Park so much that I returned every day that I was in Warsaw in the fall of 2005.

It is on the edge of this park that Wojciech Modest Amaro opened his restaurant Atelier Amaro in 2012, which earned a Michelin star a year later.  And now, on the eve of moving his restaurant to a new location, chef Amaro traveled to Napa Valley to be the seventh chef to cook with Christopher Kostow at the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

In the garden.

Chef Amaro is unafraid of strong flavors.  And he combines them in dynamic ways. There was, for example, trout mixed with honey; and smoked eel served with dill and gin.  For dessert, he made a pucker-tart sorbet of sea buckthorn and served it with bitter mustard seeds.

Amaro shared with guests a loaf of “March” bread that had been aged for over two years.  This dark, dense bread is, as he described it, a product of meagre times, when the dark crumbs left in the oven were saved, soaked in water, and allowed to ferment.  Tangy and spicy, Amaro’s March bread was sliced thinly and served to guests along with canapés in the kitchen.

The Restaurant at Meadowood served two courses.  Kostow’s pierogi, stuffed with sweetbreads, was one of my favorite courses of this year’s series.  The dumplings were served three to a bowl, with hedgehog mushrooms and turnips.

After dessert courses were cleared, chef Amaro served a collection of after-dinner sweets.  The most fascinating one to me was a pretzel that was made of a boletus (mushrooms, including porcini stems) mousse that was spread out on a sheet tray and stamped out.  These pretzel molds were frozen (first in a freezer, and then submerged in liquid nitrogen), before being dipped in dark chocolate, which formed a hard shell.  These were served frozen, and in my opinion, best taken with coffee.

Following is the entire menu from the seventh night of the Twelve Days of Christmas with chef Wojciech Modest Amaro of Atelier Amaro in Warsaw, Poland.  Here is a link to all of the photos.


Two-Year “March” Bread


1st Course
Eel, Dill, Gin

2nd Course
Sea Trout
Sea buckthorn, rowan berry.

3rd Course
Coal-Roasted Cabbage
Dried pork, clam buttermilk.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

4th Course 
Hazelnut, truffle.

5th Course
Black garlic, Jerusalem artichoke.

6th Course
Sweetbread Pierogi
White truffle, turnip, hedgehog mushrooms.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

7th Course
Quince, pear.

8th Course
Sea Buckthorn, Mustard

9th Course
Elderflower, chocolate.

“Air Cognac”

Boletus Pretzel

Malt Toffee


Warm Chestnuts
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Wine pairing.

Wine Pairing

Blanc de Lynch-Bages, 2016

Julien Pilon “Millésime,” Condrieu, 2015

Albert Grivault, Meursault Clos des Perrieres, 2016

Bricco Rocche Barolo, 1998

Mescolanza, School House Vineyard, Syrah Blend, 2009

Day 7: Amaro

Below are links to my posts and photos from all Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended. Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)
Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère; La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn; Lummi Island, Washington)
Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s; Portland, Oregon)
Virgilio Martinez (Central; Lima, Peru)
Grant Achatz (Alinea; Chicago, Illinois)
Corey Lee (Benu; San Francisco, California)
Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo; Oslo, Norway)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela; New York, New York)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad; New York, New York)
Nenad Mlinarevic (Focus; Vitznau, Switzerland)
Christian Puglisi (relæ; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico)
Joshua Skenes (Saison; San Francisco, California)
Matthew Wilkinson (Pope Joan; Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan ([One]; Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Isaac McHale (The Clove Club; London, The United Kingdom)
Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread; Healdsburg, California)
Atsushi Tanaka (A.T. Restaurant; Paris, France)
Justin Yu (Oxheart; Houston, Texas)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Mark Lundgaard Nielsen (Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accents; New Dehli, India; New York, New York; London, U.K.)
Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hauske Valtierra (Contra & Wildair; New York, New York)
Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon & Tallula’s; Santa Monica, California)
Ben Sukle (birch & Oberlin; Providence, Rhode Island)
Sean Brock (McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern, Husk, & Minero; Charleston, South Carolina)
Yoshiaki Takazawa (Takazawa; Tokyo, Japan)
Thomas Keller (The French Laundry; Yountville, California)
Eric Werner (Hartwood; Tulum, Mexico)
Jock Zonfrillo (Orana; Adelaide, Australia)
Alexandre Couillon (La Marine; Noirmoutier, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
David Pynt (Burnt Ends; Singapore)
Jessica Largey (Simone; Los Angeles, California)
James Lowe (Lyle’s; London, The United Kingdom)
Kamilla Seidler (formerly of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Byung-jin Kim (Gaon; Seoul, South Korea)
Wojciech Modest Amaro (Atelier Amaro; Warsaw, Poland)

Day 7: Amaro

Photos: Coal-roasted cabbage with dried pork and clam buttermilk; chef Amaro in The Restaurant at Meadowood Farm; Amaro cutting pumpkin bread; two-year old “March” bread; coal-searing smoked eel; smoked eel served on pine branches; Amaro preparing trout with honey; John Hong and Kostow plating pierogis; wine pairings; Amaro and the team at The Restaurant at Meadowood; menu for Day 7 with Amaro; chef Amaro pre-service.

Wojciech Modest Amaro

Categories 12 days 2018

Leave a Reply