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Vila Joya and the Douro Boys

23.11.2015

Vila Joya, the undisputed Number One culinary address on the Portuguese Algarve, hosted a gourmet festival and over the course of six days served the most exclusive creations of fifty-one chefs from the most famous restaurants in Europe. Joy Jung chose the motto ‘Traditional crEATivity’ for the festival, and laid down the ground rule that all dishes and menus must be based on authentic tradition. Together with Austrian chef de cuisine Dieter Koschina, she invited the Douro Boys to accompany this festival of authenticity with their wines on an exclusive basis.

Douro Boys Vila Joya präsentiert seinen Küchenchef Dieter Koschina © Vasco Celio Stills
Chef de cuisine Dieter Koschina from Vila Joya. © Vasco Celio - Stills

The theme of the gourmet festival was this: a return to classical and time-honoured themes; to understand them, respect them and possibly to interpret them anew – and the five wine estates from the Douro (Quinta do Vallado, Quinta do Crasto, Niepoort, Quinta Vale D. Maria and Quinta do Vale Meão) fit in perfectly with this. Dieter Koschina tells us: The Douro Boys are the pioneers of Portuguese wine. They have not only reframed the Douro region in a position of prominence throughout the world, but have done so for all of Portugal as well – and without sacrificing any of the character of its heritage.

The gourmet festival Tribute to Claudia took place this year for the eighth time, and honours the memory of Joy Jung’s mother Claudia. Over the course of six evenings, 51 master chefs collectively provided evidence of their culinary artistry. Among the famous names on the roster were:
Chef Alfred Prasad (India), Chef Peter Hagen, **Michelin Restaurant Ammolite (Germany), Chef Hans Neuner, **Michelin Restaurant Ocean (Portugal), Chef Martin Klein, *Michelin Ikarus (Austria), Chef Fernando Agrasar, *Michelin Restaurant As Garzas (Spain), ‘Chef of the Century’ Eckart Witzigmann (Germany) and many more.
This symbiosis of creativity and beauty, brought to life by Dieter Koschina, has in the meantime evolved into one of the most important and internationally recognised gourmet festivals. And one further little highlight: Dieter Koschina celebrated a birthday of sorts this year: it was exactly twenty years ago that he won his first Michelin star – and he has held two stars now for sixteen years, uninterrupted.

Douro Boys Hauptspeise © Vasco Celio Stills
© Vasco Celio - Stills

The Vila Joya – the ‘house of joy’ – or translated literally ‘the jewellery box’ – is a small oriental palace on the exotic Atlantic coast, currently home to a gourmet restaurant, a boutique hotel and a spa, in a storybook setting. In the past year, the gourmet restaurant was chosen by S. Pellegrino and Aqua Panna as #22 of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.’ Its cellar stores some 12,000 bottles of the world’s very finest wines. Valuables are indeed kept in a jewellery box – so certainly a fitting name in this case.

Douro Boys Vorspiese © Vasco Celio Stills
© Vasco Celio - Stills

The Douro Boys, a group of five renowned wine producers from the Douro Valley (Quinta do Vallado, Quinta do Crasto, Niepoort, Quinta Vale D. Maria und Quinta do Meão), have since their founding in 2003 travelled the world together, in order to enthusiastically make the public aware of the unique nature and heritage of Douro wines. The five estates not only lead the quality parade in the Douro, but are numbered as well among the best and most in-demand wine producers in all of Portugal.

Douro Boys Joao Ferreira Alvares Ribeiro Francisco Olazabal Dirk Niepoort Christiano Van Zeller © Pedro Lobo
In front: João Ferreira Álvares Ribeiro (Quinta do Vallado), left: Francisco Olazabal (Quinta do Vale Meão), Miguel Roquette (Quinta do Crasto), Right: Dirk Niepoort (Niepoort), Cristiano van Zeller (Quinta Vale Dona Maria) © Pedro Lobo
PICTURES (downloadable)