Champagne, usually uncorked for New Year’s is too often pigeonholed as a celebratory drink for toasts and overlooked as a light, crisp companion for food.
To explore its versatility and invaluable characteristics, visiting Winemaker from the House of Veuve Clicquot France, Pierre Casenave recently hosted media in a food pairing luncheon at the lavish Brasserie Enfin in the Klang Valley.
At the venue, we were welcomed to a beautifully decorated setting with a flute of the signature Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. Members of the media were thrilled to know that they would be treated to two other variants; the fruity pink bubbly, Veuve Clicquot Rosé and the legendary, full bodied Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004.
The event then formally begun as Pierre Casenave raised a toast with all those present, marking the start of the culinary journey through the heritage of the House of Veuve Clicquot, its vineyards and winemaking process, paired together with the specially prepared menu by Brasserie Enfin’s executive chef & owner, Chef James Won.
The flaunting of the culinary expertise of the brasserie started with a delightful serving of the first entrée; scallop torchon with chicken skin and caviar, binded together with an oyster emulsion. The first entrée, paired together with the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut, brought out the freshness of the seafood and provided a harmonious finish to the dish. The luxurious pairing of the seafood and champagne proved to be a perfect complement, cutting through the brininess of the caviar and freshness of the scallop.
The second entrée, grain fed lamb eye of short loin carpaccio with confit of strawberries, puff cherry and tied in with a champagne mustard was served next, boldly coupled together with Veuve Clicquot Rosé. This was a surprising match with the entrée, bringing out the flavours of the carpaccio and red fruits. The fruity essence of the red and white wine blend rosé brought out the full-flavours of the strawberries and cherries and made the lamb carpaccio a favourite, even amongst non-raw meat lovers.
The main course for the afternoon comprised of a premiur plat with three cuts of pork; pork shoulder, pork belly and pork ribs, paired with the sumptuously lush Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004, which made a delightful finish to the main dish. This vintage, made from a special harvest of perfectly healthy grapes, was peerless with the hearty meat dish as it showcased perfect balance of flavor, texture and structure.
Dessert was then served; an enjoyable sweet pairing of a citrus gelée and cloud served with the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. The pairing accentuated the fresh and citrus assemblage notes in the Yellow Label Brut, kept the palate fresh and balanced with additional richness and persistence to the fruity citrusy finish.
As the culinary journey wound to a close, Pierre Casenave reminded us that good champagne isn’t only a good pairing for any food adventure, it’s also a bond which unites daring, confident and sophisticated individuals just like the woman behind this quality and fine champagne; Madame Clicquot.