Skip to main content


Sept. 18 2015 03:26 PM

Malva flies under the radar

Roberto Alcocer’s quiet perfection in the Valle de Guadalupe

Yellowtail crudo with jicama, kimchi and habanero
Michael A. Gardiner

It is no longer a secret that one of the great culinary destinations in our region is Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe. It did not remain a secret for long. There’s the media-juiced star power of Javier Plascencia’s Finca Altozano, the Michelin-starred juice ofDeckman’s en El Mogor and the utter perfection of Laja and Corazon del Tierra.

 "It is hot and the foodie media is all over it."

So Roberto Alcocer and his Malva Cocina de Baja California (Km. 96 Route 3, San Antonio De Las Minas, Baja) are something of a rarity: a brilliant chef and great restaurant working a known patch of turf under the radar and beneath the glare of the media. 

This won’t be a secret for much longer.

Like a number of the better restaurants in the Guadalupe Valley, Malva’s “dining room” is outdoors, under an open palapa. 

The heady atmosphere floats over the Valle vineyards and is licked by the coastal winds. 

Our multi-course menú experiencia began with a duo of oysters, one grilled with a serrano-butter sauce featuring the flavor of the chile rather than its heat; the other raw in a mignonette sauce made with Chinese black vinegar. 

It was a subtly promising start to the meal, neither groundbreaking nor obvious, but about contrasting flavor profiles and textures.

The fireworks started with the next course—yellowtail crudo with jicama kimchi, a habañero mayonnaise and a nori seaweed garnish. 

With three such assertive elements I was expecting a powerhouse but received a finessed study instead. Rather than weighing down the kimchi yellowtail the mayonnaise served to elevate the crudo.

The highlight of the meal was the ensalada del huerto. 

The words translate as “garden salad,” but it was so much more than that. While salad dishes are less “cooked” than they are curated, this was very much both. 

It was a vegetable concerto in the key of pepper (sweet and shishito) with raw ingredients—most notably fresh figs—playing with pickled, puréed, roasted and toasted ones all tied together by vinaigrette. It was enough to restore the faith of a fallen vegetarian.

There was a luxurious cream of chicharron featuring nuggets of cheese melting in the soup. There was a perfectly roasted block of escolar over Southern-style grits and tomato purée with pickled onion and purslane. 

But if that salad was not the dish of the day those honors would have to go to lamb—slowly roasted in a wood-fired oven for 14 hours and then pressed into a perfect cube—sitting atop a creamy cauliflower pureé bathed in a reduction sauce from the same lamb. Deep. Rich. Profound. Perfect.

With a résumé that includes Sergi Arola’s groundbreaking La Broche in Madrid, Enrique Olvera’s Pujol in Mexico City (number 16 on the San Pelligrino Top 50 restaurants in the world), that Roberto Alcocer can cook should not surprise. 

That Alcocer and Malva are not more frequently mentioned at the top level of the Valle’s culinary treasures—now that’s a surprise. And that too might—indeed should—change soon.

Popular posts from this blog


While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???

In alphabetical order by Country....



Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST

Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.

However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.

Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…

Mangoes date back 65 million years according to research ...

Experts at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP) here have traced the origin of mango to the hills of Meghalaya, India from a 65 million year-old fossil of a mango leaf. 

The earlier fossil records of mango (Mangifera indica) from the Northeast and elsewhere were 25 to 30 million years old. The 'carbonized leaf fossil' from Damalgiri area of Meghalaya hills, believed to be a mango tree from the peninsular India, was found by Dr R. C. Mehrotra, senior scientist, BSIP and his colleagues. 

After careful analysis of the fossil of the mango leaf and leaves of modern plants, the BISP scientist found many of the fossil leaf characters to be similar to mangifera.

An extensive study of the anatomy and morphology of several modern-day species of the genus mangifera with the fossil samples had reinforced the concept that its centre of origin is Northeast India, from where it spread into neighbouring areas, says Dr. Mehrotra. 

The genus is believed to have disseminated into neighb…