Each Friday, the Crescent Lake Club brings you the latest Foodie Find — a review of a dish, cocktail or even restaurant that you’ve been missing out on!
One of the best — and most heralded — developments at Walt Disney World of the last decade was the arrival of Jaleo by José Andrés at Disney Springs’ West End. Jaleo overtook the location previously occupied by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck in March 2019, and has since been one of the best dining experiences on property.
For this week’s Foodie Find, we’re taking a deep dive into the history of one of the best and most iconic dishes on the Jaleo menu — Aceitunas clásicas y modernas, or Classic and Modern olives.
Aceitunas clásicas y modernas are described on the menu as ‘Ferran Adrià’ liquid olives and stuffed olives with piquillo pepper and anchovy. What is “Ferran Adrià’ you might ask? Well, it’s not so much as a what, but a who!
Adrià is a Spanish master chef, most known as one of the godfathers of molecular gastronomy and then man behind El Bulli — which was often described as the “World’s Most Perfect Restaurant” — helmed by Adrià and his pastry chef brother Albert, boasting three Michelin stars and named No. 1 restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine a record five times until its closure at the end of the season in 2011.
One of Ferran’s most important contributions to global cuisine was his creation of “culinary foam”, a preparation in which he would create foam and repurpose organic ingredients without the use of traditional foam components like cream of egg white, ultimately adding lechtin and learning the use the molecular components of ingredients to transform them into other food items, with the process evolving so far as to turn almonds into cheese or asparagus into bread.
One of Adrià’s most iconic dishes was “Liquid Olives”, where he used multiple processes to take the juice of an olive and reconstitute it to resemble and taste like an olive, but with a completely different texture profile. This tasting is offered in a spoon with olive oil and is often paired with a traditional olive for a texture and flavor profile comparison.
So you’re probably thinking … OK, what does this have to do with José Andrés and Jaleo?! Well guess what … Andrés got his start at El Bulli under Adrià at the age of 18! This partnership lasted for about three years until Adrià fired Andrés and he decided to make the move to the United States. And the rest is culinary history!
Don’t worry — it wasn’t a bad falling out, as Andrés and Adrià kept in close contact, going so far as to teach a Culinary Physics course together at Harvard and even open a Spanish food hall in Manhattan with along with Albert Adriá.
So that brings us back to Jaleo! The signature jewel in Chef Andrés culinary empire (there are four current locations, with another two opening later this year, including a restaurant in Dubai), most of Andrés restaurants pay homage to Adriá with the olive tasting. So let’s take a look at what you can expect when you try the Aceitunas clásicas y modernas at Jaleo at Disney Springs!
The dish comes with the “Modern Olives” in their traditional presentation — in a curved tasting spoon, floating in a pool of fresh, light olive oil. Once these liquid olives hit your mouth, it’s just a burst of everything olive — the brine, the salt, the flesh. Everything you’d truly expect in an olive! The “Classic Olives” are a little different in Chef Andrés presentation — as he often pays homage to the flavors of the sea in his preparations, these green olives are pitted and stuffed with a small sliver of piquillo pepper and a sliver of anchovy and are served in a anchovy can in a pool of the same fresh olive oil. These young green olives can be quite dense, but on first chew you’re rewarded with the flavor of the anchovy for extra saltiness and the bright, sweet flavor of the piquillo pepper to round out the flavor profile.
If you’re an olive fan, you’ll want to keep coming back to Jaleo for this dish … but if you’re not? You just enjoyed one of the most celebrated and ground-breaking food creations in the history of modern cuisine!
The Aceitunas clásicas y modernas are $12 and are available on the tapas menu.