Champagne with Luxe Food
3rd February 2012
Hosted by Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy at the Phillips de Pury Auction House, I serenaded the launch of Dom Pérignon 2003, with a Champagne and food pairing of true elegance and uber sophistication.
In 2003, with the harsh frost in April and then a scorching summer heat wave, Mr. Geoffroy nervously took the plunge in August to harvest and produced a beauty. He himself, proclaims that the vintage could match Dom Pérignon’s celebrated vintages from 1947, 1959 and 1976.
Usually a fan of Dom Pérignon Rosé, last seen at the CriticalCouple’s supperclub (excess that would have made the Benedictine monk blush), I was ready to sample a flute or two…
On to the Tasting:
The nose was very light, with gentle hints of grassiness and a touch of aniseed. On the palate, it was layered, with a distinct mineralized quality, initially with iodine taste like a Islay whisky and then lingered with a sweeter floral finish.
This was my first tipple, expertly guided by Mr Geoffroy, I was then led onto a Tasting room. My Guide & Sommelier for the evening, was no other than the charming, Douglas Blyde. Seated at an island tasting table, Douglas took the helm, with the click of a finger changing the colours of the room, indicating the arrival of each course. The food pairings were designed by Mr Geoffroy, inspired by his global travels and used the finest of ingredients, naturally to match the pedigree of the Champagne.
Inspired by Alain Passard’s dish of L’ Arpege (Paris), the egg shells I’m told were sanded by hand, to get a perfect finish. The white shells were laiden on an abstractly contrasting Kala Namak black salt. A very soft set creamy liquid, when entered, erupted with a beautiful yolk. The mix was seasoned with quatre epices (ground white pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger) and sweetened with maple syrup. The lasting taste of the Dom Pérignon, lengthened the sweetness of the dish. This was a ‘quelle surprise’ for the diners as this was a sweet dish, so we were starting with the dessert first!
A clever dish, designed to look like a dessert, but in fact savoury, to the end. A current trend of the moment, to present a savoury dish, but deconstructed with dessert elements. The jelly was tart, a stark contrast to the bursting fishy Prunier St James caviar. This combination was slick and defined the iodine notes in the Dom Pérignon.
A risotto like no other that I’ve tasted and probably the most luxurious. Created using seven year aged Acquerello Carnaroli rice, parmesan and flecks of saffron. As if that wasn’t enough to entice a girl,the rice was laced with delicate gold leaf, glistening in the sumptous rice. The parmesan and saffron were great umami partners that heightened the iodine effect in the Dom Pérignon.
A generous portion of foie gras, when sliced was silky smooth. It was draped with a piquantly spiced mole, with a velvet finish of rich cacao. This was hedonistic, the Dom Pérignon did a great job of cutting through the richness. It was a well deserved decadent end to the meal.
What I loved, was that they let the Champagne speak for itself, for instance, the decor of the room (especially the Phillippe Starck chairs) simple and elegant.
Yes, the dishes were luxurious, but with pairings that complemented the Champagne, instead of upstaging it.
It was a superb evening and I must thank the Dom Pérignon (LVMH) Team for the invitation, beautiful photo’s (c/o Jon Bradley), Mr Geoffroy and Mr Blyde for their excellent hosting.