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  • Enrique Balestrini

Traveling from a dining table.

The Aruba Marriott culinary team has a new captain and he took us on a journey around the world to showcase what flavors and dishes are part of his essence.

Last Friday night, the Aruba Marriott decided to give a special treat to press members (Congratulations on their day!) and some guests to introduce formally its latest addition to the culinary team: Andrés Dávila.

Chef Andrés Dávila, born Ecuatorian, showcased his skills and influences in a 5-course dinner affair that took us around the world with him. His experiences traveling and living in different countries have enriched his influences and skills and now it's Aruba's turn to have a taste from his silver spoon.

The experience began with a cocktail hour where a Papiamento Rum-based Tamarind martini was the perfect welcome. Sweet and refreshing to combat the heat that the afternoon had left behind.

Once all guests were seated, we found folded in our napkins, a passport that would take us on a journey of culinary discovery around the world, crafted by Chef Dávila. Everybody was in awe of the creative presentation of the menu and many kept it as a souvenir.

Worlds of Bread.

A journey of flavors through Italy, Germany, and Armenia.

A canoe of different bread types was put on the table and served as an homage to the ancient techniques and the historical importance of the probably most important food item ever created. Foccacia, sourdough, and lavash complimented with romesco sauce, infused butter, and stracciatella.

The Ancient Silk & Spices Road.

Clove, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, frankincense, black pepper, cinnamon, and saffron all made their way west using this route during ancient times. Chef Dávila put together this dish composed of 3 elements. Representing the Chinese province of Yunnan, eggplant, tofu, and chimichurri made with coriander. A Satay from Turkey made with Lion's Mane mushroom locally sourced from Farm a Cure Fungi. Last but not least Egypt's original falafel with red beet hummus and pumpkin seeds.

It tasted as good as it looked. Paired with Planeta Etna Bianco, bold white wine with lots of minerality from the volcanic region where the Carricante grape is harvested.

The Voyage of The Beagle.

An ode to the English naturalist Charles Darwin and his 5-year journey on board the H.M.S Beagle and his encounters around the world.

A fish mosaic served on top of a green recao sauce was the focus of this dish. The Rice "Cocolon" cracker that represents the toasted rice that sits at the bottom of the pan was a very cool -and tasty!- accent.

The Zipang sparkling sake pairing was a very well-received surprise. Served directly by the hands of José Mestanza.

Trip through China's forest

This dish was one of my favorites! Dumplings made with shrimp, and then complimented with a pour of mushroom broth were really stunning and tasty. The tapioca pearls added a very interesting visual contrast.

The wine pairing was fantastic and unexpected. MacMurray Estate Pinot Noir. A bodied pinot.

The First Voyage to the New World.

Sous vide cooked strip loin accompanied by a flavor-packed mole made with chocolate, sesame, almonds, and spices. Next to a delicate corn sauce. A dish of contrasts.

Stepping into the roots of Ecuador.

To finish our trip, Chef Dávila presented us with this vibrant dessert. Passion fruit curd, a chocolate sponge cake, and quinoa crackers. A play of textures and flavors.

With this menu, Chef Andrés Dávila officially has dropped the anchor in Aruba. To me, was a wonderful expression of humble ingredients skillfully executed to bring the best out of them and honor their historical significance. A taste of what Chef Dávila can achieve during his tenure at the Aruba Marriott Resort, a new journey that has just begun and that I am definitely excited to witness. Masha Pabien Chef and Bon Bini na Aruba!

Of course, the whole team at the Aruba Marriott was beyond amazing and here they were giving themselves a round of applause for such a memorable service. Thanks guys!

Special thanks to the Marketing extraordinaires Carolina Voullieme and Noemi Tromp and to General Manager Raoul Lemmerling for showing once again how things are done.

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