SALVADOR SALAS

It's all about personal goals

Even before prices began to soar, it was hard to justify spending hundreds of euros on a single meal

ANDREW J. LINN

The culminating point of any serious mountaineer's career is finally summitting the last of the world's 8,000-metre peaks. There are 14 of them and to have 'collected' the entire batch will have cost hundreds of thousands of euros and several years of one's life. But who is really interested? Probably just family, friends and other mountaineers. So why go to a lot of trouble and expense for what seems like a very modest reward. One's ego of course is the biggest winner.

And what about eating in all the world's three-starred Michelin restaurants? We know from the moment we make the reservation that we will be paying through the nose, so is the experience worth it? Maurixzio Campiverdi, a 70-year-old Italian writer, thinks so. His new book, Tre Stelle Michelin, deals with his experience over forty years, and contains fascinating details about these near mythological establishments.

Inevitably Maruxzio's character comes through in this anecdotal work, and his passion is a key ingredient. At the outset there were no more than a handful of such establishments, co-surviving happily with agreeable family-run places with excellent food but without the pretentiousness that is too common today. Current stratospheric price levels are also another factor that has put this type of restaurant out of reach for most customers. Maurizio agrees that few people can afford to drop 400 euros on a meal, no matter how much it 'moves' them, and he concedes that the current tendency to elevate chefs to a status that would have been inconceivable not so long ago has not been helpful.

WINE OF THE WEEK

  • Clos Ancestral 2020

  • A very interesting wine from the never-standing-still Torres family stable Using grape varieties that are on the point of disappearing is more than worthwhile, and this particular grape, the red Moneu, was one of those. Organic and therefore not cheap, from Penedés at around 16 euros.