The champagne house Veuve Clicquot hosted a lunch in Paris in which eight chefs, hailing from Switzerland, France, Italy, Japan and the UK created dishes using only the produce from Veuve Clicquot’s garden in Reims to perfectly match La Grande Dame, its prestige champagne. The results were anything but expected. Candice Tucker reports
Over 200 years ago Madame Clicquot, the founder of Veuve Cliquot is said to have said, “If, in the search for perfection, we can take two steps at a time, why be content with just one?” This single statement was the inspiration behind Veuve Clicquot’s plan to gather some of the world’s greatest chefs to create a fine dining meal solely using produce from the estate’s garden, where “Grand Cru” vegetables mix with Grand Cru grapes. The event was intended to show that La Grande Dame, is a champagne to be enjoyed at the heart of any meal to compliment the fine food.
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The participating chefs were picked from regions renowned for their culinary traditions. Representing France were esteemed chefs Amélie Darvas and Emmanuel Renaut. From Italy, Domingo Schingaro, Enrico Crippa and Alberto Toè. Sally Abé represented the UK and Dario Cadonau, Switzerland. Japanese culinary excellence was demonstrated by Kanji Kobayashi.
What made this event so extraordinary was not just the culinary talent on display, but the unique constraint faced by each of the chefs: dishes had to be crafted using only products from Veuve Clicquot’s garden, while perfectly matching La Grande Dame champagne.
The dishes that emerged from this culinary challenge were nothing short of spectacular. Among them were Cadonau’s garden herbs and yellow beets presented with an intricate lace pattern detailing framing the plate, constructed using herbs to adorn the dish with edible flowers, resembling the picture of a garden.
Domingo Schingaro created a dish based on lettuce with almond and anchovies; whilst anchovies might normally be the focal taste of a dish, they were simply used as a condiment in this case, not taking any attention away from the star of the show, the lettuce cooked to crunchy perfection in a yuzu sauce.
The champagne’s complexity, with its layers of citrus, floral, and fruity notes, found its perfect companions in the carefully composed dishes. The result was a symphony of flavours that danced on the palate, highlighting the quality of both the champagne and the garden produce.
The champagne was also poured into both narrow and wide glasses, depending on the meal, changing both its taste and texture to match the food being eaten.
Veuve Clicquot’s Garden of Gastronomy event in Paris was a celebration of culinary creativity. This event highlighted the versatility of prestige champagne in fine dining and showed how a delicate complex and multi-layered champagne like La Grande Dame can be a brilliant match to an astonishing variety of food.
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