Vila Joya in Albufeira has this year been joined by Ocean, the gourmet restaurant at the luxury Vila Vita Parc resort, after being awarded its second Michelin star, just two years after gaining its first star in the world-renowned restaurant guide.
Portugal boasts a further ten restaurants with a single Michelin star, which are São Gabriel, Henrique Leis (both in Almancil), Willie’s (Vilamoura), Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais), Tavares (Lisbon), Largo do Paço (Amarante), Arcadas (Coimbra), II Galo d’Oro (Funchal) who are joined by newcomers Feitoria (Lisbon) and The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia).
Amadeus in Almancil lost the Michelin star it has held for many years.
The awarding of a second star to the Ocean is recognition of talented Austrian chef Hans Neuner and his team, and puts Hans – still only in his mid-thirties – in the same illustrious company as other international two-star Michelin chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux Jr, Marcus Wareing, Thomas Kellermann and Hans van Wolde.
Whilst Hans’ mantra of ‘keep it simple’ might initially seem at odds with the normal Michelin philosophy, his seasonally changing menu is seemingly technically perfect and exacting, and showcases a remarkable and incredibly distinctive light touch.
In a statement sent to The Portugal News, Vila Vita explained: “Ocean prides itself on modern, fresh and individual food with a Portuguese signature. A strong focus is placed on using the best local products, including fish and seafood from the Atlantic, fruit and vegetables from the farms of the Algarve, and meat and game from the Monchique mountains and the Alentejo, including Herdade dos Grous, Vila Vita Parc’s country estate.”
Michelin meanwhile revealed that “this is a very special year in Spain and Portugal. Faced with a severe economic crisis, many hotels and restaurants are working hard every day to stay in business. This does not mean, however, that they have abandoned their commitment to excellence. On the contrary, quality has improved and the true values of Iberian cuisine are reflected more fully than ever on restaurant menus.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed this week the Vila Joya resort will be hosting it’s sixth ‘International Gourmet Festival – Tribute to Claudia’ with Michelin Star chefs from across the world, between 12 and 22 January 2012.
A total of 65 Michelin Stars from Portuguese, French, German, Italian and American chefs will be taking part in the 2012 gourmet festival that was created to celebrate the life of the resort’s founder, Claudia Jung.
As in previous editions, a unique meal will be prepared by the guest chefs each night throughout the 10 days.
Dinners will be priced between €350 and €600, or guests may purchase passes that include accommodation at the hotel.
Traditionally held only in the Algarve, this year’s edition of the gourmet festival will also be hosted in other parts of Portugal, namely in Lisbon, as well as including side activities such as wine tastings, a golf tournament, a karting tournament and an after party with music from internationally renowned DJs on the closing night.
Aside from Vila Joya’s head chef, Dieter Koschina, others who have been invited to take part include Hans Neuner from The Ocean, Albano Lourenço from Arcadas da Capela, Vincent Farge from Henrique Leis, Benoit Sinthon from Il Gallo d’Oro, Torsten Schulz from São Gabriel, Vitor Mator from Largo do Paço, Aime Barroyer from Tavares, Willie Wurger from Willie’s and Jose Avillez from Belcanto. Portuguese Michelin star chefs José Cordeiro and Ricardo Costa from Feitoria and Yeatman restaurants will also be taking part.
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