It’s a Thursday, and the end of another busy day for the publisher and editor of abcMallorca. Helen Cummins loves to entertain friends at her home, but her work schedule means midweek entertaining can be a challenge – with little time to plan, shop for and prepare a dinner. Despite a day that was full of appointments, Helen is expecting friends for dinner at her Son Vida home. But this dinner is in the hands of Zelebri, the new online private dining platform, which offers the culinary services of some of Mallorca’s top chefs.
Tonight María Solivellas and a team from Zelebri are in charge of everything, the table, the kitchen, the dinner itself, the service and the cleaning up afterwards. For time-challenged people, for those who don’t really enjoy cooking, or who would like to impress their guests with exceptional cuisine, Zelebri offers a new solution.
At six o’clock the front door bell rings. The advance party of the Zelebri team has arrived, to create the setting for this dinner party: two arrangements of tropical flowers in shades of red; a variety of wines that they put in the fridge; a set of wonderful red water glasses, plates and cutlery; linen tablecloth and napkins; candles and other decorative objects – all of these coordinating perfectly with Helen’s dining room. The table is ready for dinner.
After half an hour, a smiling María Solivellas arrives. She is the owner of the restaurant Ca Na Toneta and of La Coquería. Today she is wearing a long black apron embroidered with the name Zelebri in fine white letters. Two assistants come with her, bearing bags full of ecological vegetables from María’s garden, extra virgin olive oil Solivellas from the family farm, Mallorca’s ‘porc negre’ meat, fresh fish, and other delicatessen items. And, of course, the dough she has already allowed to rest for a while, for her unique ‘xeixa’ wheat ‘cocas’.
Helen accompanies the team into the kitchen and, before she can explain anything about its layout and equipment, they have started working (as they say in Spain, ‘manos a la masa’). They’re peeling, chopping, grinding, lightly frying and baking. As Helen prepares the champagne glasses for the arrival of her guests, she watches the coordinated efforts of the team: “There’s a completely new buzz in my kitchen – a sound I’ve never experienced here before,” she says, smiling.
At eight o’clock, the apéritif is ready and the guests arrive. Being inquisitive, they look into the kitchen and greet María. Expectation is enormous for this inaugural event. One of María’s assistants surprises everyone with a new rosé wine, Privat – a very good one, that is already establishing a place in the wine sector. Zelebri´s team of sommeliers has also suggested wines to match María’s menu. Helen and her guests smile, drink a toast to the evening ahead, and chat in a relaxed fashion.
Everyone takes their place at the table on time, for dinner to begin. Looking rather glamorous and cool for someone who’s been working in an unfamiliar kitchen, María Solivellas enters the room with a tray of ‘cocas’ of caramelized onions, artichokes and ‘jonquillo’, which everyone eats informally, using their fingers. Some of the guests are already getting their mobile phones out of pockets or handbags to take photos of the chef and her renowned ‘cocas’ – which are every bit as good as those sold at her business in Santa Catalina market.
The entrée arrives: a superb ‘coca’ of purple carrot with ‘botifarró’, served with Ruchel, an excellent Godello white wine. Next, the team serves ‘sopes mallorquines’ of jarret, a local fish with a unique taste. A superb Artazuri rosé wine is the perfect match. It’s time for the main plates: ‘escabeche de jurel’, for which, surprisingly enough, a Prieto Picudo de Pardevalles (a red wine) is the best match, and a meat dish, a ‘carrillera de porc negre’ with a pomegranate sauce, and the softest, silkiest ‘cremoso de patata’. Helen and her guests agree that this dish is wonderfully paired with the DO Toro, Corral de Campanas red wine.
Chef María Solivellas joins Helen and her guests at the table for the dessert – a very fine ‘biscuit de tortoni con mermelada natural de albaricoque’, which is enjoyed with a sweet wine of the Monastrell variety, from Murcia. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of compliments about the dinner, and the service provided by Zelebri.
Amid such a convivial ambience, aided by fine food and wines, it would be easy to linger late into the night, chatting, but there are the obligations of another working day ahead. As Helen says goodbye to the last of her guests, she does so knowing that her kitchen needs none of her attention: “Zelebri has taken care of that too!”
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