Champagne Bollinger & Le Grand Tour
2019 saw the launch of the 2008 vintage of Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année and this was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the finest gastronomic pairings with a Grand Tour des Chefs.
This epicurean journey in Great Britain started in April at the two Michelin starred restaurant The Ledbury. Head Chef Brett Graham, created his perfect pairings with the spectacular Duchy Estate Helford Oyster and enigmatic Hen of The Wood mushroom.
The gourmet voyage continued with a selection of Britain’s finest chefs, bringing their talents together to work on a series of dishes, each focused on a signature ingredient to pair with La Grande Année 2008.
In May, Gareth Ward paired the 2008 with Black Cod at the Michelin starred Ynyshir, on the coast of mid-Wales near the Snowdonia National Park. He commented “Bollinger La Grande Année is a serious food wine, which balances perfectly with the sweetness of the cod. The marinade combines sweet and salty flavours, so it needs something with complexity to be able to match. They taste incredible together!”
Atul Kochhar, famous for challenging the way people perceive and experience Indian cuisine, created a gorgeously spiced and aromatic Classic Assamese Roast Duck Purahah at Mayfair’s Kanishka in June. “This pairing brings a new depth to our taste buds. As this dish is very fresh and vibrant with complex spice undertones, it perfectly pairs with Bollinger La Grande Année 2008’s spicy, fruity and floral notes. The fresh yet creamy finish of the champagne pairs delightfully with the dish.”
In the heart of Lancashire, at renowned luxury hotel with a Michelin star Northcote, Lisa Allen matched La Grande Année with Poulet Egg, Laminated Brioche and Ossetra Caviar. Lisa had the following to say on this culinary coupling “The pairing has been specially chosen to heighten the brioche bread notes from the rich, deep, complex palate that is delivered by the Bollinger La Grande Année 2008. The addition of the ossetra caviar brings a slightly salty, mineral taste that particularly works with the sophisticated effervescence of the wine, dancing over the palate with a creamy saline hint.”
Kahani is one of the top Indian restaurants in London, serving dishes inspired by traditional Indian cuisine in a sumptuous fine dining setting. At the helm is Peter Joseph who chose smoked Malabar Prawns – marinated with traditional Malabar spices from Kerala and served with smoked tomato chutney, parsnip crisps and red caviar. Peter said the salinity from the prawns “combines with the sweetness from the coconut, the spices, the citrus and the smokiness from the tandoori clay oven thanks to the charcoal that we use”
Into November and Ollie Dabbous of HIDE matched his famous soft-shell crab tempura, Thai basil & peppercorns with La Grande Année 2008. Ollie says: “Champagne goes brilliantly with tempura: crisp textures & taste are a perfect match. A nice dynamic, something so indulgent alongside what is essentially fried food. I could manage a 2nd helping!”
Now in December Le Grand Tour has made its way North to Scotland. Last, but by no means least in this journey, comes Tom Kitchin’s The Kitchin in Edinburgh. Tom has chosen Scallops as his hero ingredient to pair with the 2008 vintage of Champagne Bollingers La Grande Année. These hand-dived Orkney scallops were baked in the shell with seasonal vegetables and a white wine, vermouth and herb sauce.
Commenting on his pairing Tom said “With 2008 being one of the best most anticipated vintages of the last 25 years we are honoured to be able to offer such a classic champagne by the glass to our guests at The Kitchin. The firm and meaty character of the La Grande Année 2008 works beautifully with the rich white wine and vermouth sauce of the scallops and the high acid and chalky finish contrasts perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the scallops. The dish shows you that champagne can be a serious food wine even with the richer and bolder dishes and doesn’t always have to be confined to an aperitif, especially in vintages such as the 2008.”
Port Season is here and it’s time for Taylor’s
Welcome to Port Season, a time of cosy nights, crackling bonfires and indulgent celebrations. We think there’s only one way to spend it – and that’s with good food, great wine and even better company.
To celebrate this most wonderful time of the year Taylor’s are launching a new digital campaign that embraces the conviviality and versatility of Port as the days get shorter and mealtimes longer.
The campaign highlights the Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage and the arrival of Port Season, an appreciation of quality in life, cherishing shared moments with friends and family, and savouring these special occasions whilst enjoying a glass of Taylor’s.
LBV was developed as a high quality but more affordable and immediately drinkable alternative to Vintage port to be enjoyed by the glass on everyday occasions. It was originally created in 1970 by Taylor’s current Chairman, Alistair Robertson.
Although many other houses now offer this wonderful style of wine, Taylor’s LBV – the original Late Bottled Vintage – remains the benchmark. With intense berry fruit flavours, this elegant port is ready to drink when bottled, doesn’t need to be decanted and can be served by the glass for several weeks after the cork is drawn.
So whether you’re hosting an autumnal dinner party, a treat-filled Halloween or opening presents on Christmas Day, this is the season for seizing the moment and enjoying all it brings – and at the heart of it all is the food and wine that brings us together. Savour the moment this Port Season with Taylor’s.
Champagne Ayala SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year 2019
Mentzendorff is very proud to announce that Skye Gyngell is the winner of the 2019 AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year award. Renowned for being one of the most forward-looking chefs in the country Gyngell was presented with her award at a Champagne reception at The Goring in Belgravia for the shortlisted chefs, which coincided with the UK launch of the AYALA Le Blanc de Blancs 2013.
The award was launched last year to celebrate the huge contribution female chefs are making to the UK restaurant industry. Commenting on Gyngell’s win, SquareMeal editor Ben McCormack said: “Skye Gyngell is no stranger to London diners, having won a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries Café and then making a solo success out of Spring for the past five years. Recently, however, she has proved that she is much more than a chef by leading the way on environmental issues such as eliminating single-use plastics, reducing food waste and committing to sustainable farming methods.”
Commenting on her win, Gyngell said: “I am so honoured and thrilled to receive this award. There are so many wonderful creative and talented women working in our industry and it’s just so wonderful to be even included among them, thank you!”
Gyngell has championed sustainability since she pioneered the use of local and seasonal ingredients when Petersham Nurseries Café opened in 2004. Spring stopped using plastic straws in 2017 before then eliminating single-use plastics altogether. The restaurant’s early-evening Scratch menu serves up three courses of food that would otherwise go to waste for £20. Heckfield Place, the luxury Hampshire hotel that opened in 2018 where Gyngell is culinary director, will soon have the largest biodynamic farm in England as well as orchards and woodland.
Bodegas Hidalgo – La Gitana and the Carreras de Caballos
Every year, the second and fourth weekends in August see the famous Carreras de Caballos held on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, so what better excuse to arrange a press trip to Bodegas Hidalgo.
When we arrived on the first day, we met Fermín Hidalgo who took us on a tour of the Doñana National Park, the biggest wetland in Europe. The humidity from the marshlands combines with the cooling sea breeze to create a unique micro-climate to Sanlúcar which ensures the flor in the Bodegas can survive all year round, which is essential to Manzanilla production.
On day two we travelled out to the El Cuadrado vineyard, the highest point in Jerez at an altitude of 110m.
Fermín explained the concept of a double terroir, the first of which starts in the vineyards with the palomino grapes grown on the white limestone Albariza soil and a cooling sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.
The second crucial stage in creating the wines comes down to the location and structure of the winery where they are stored and aged, the second “terroir”. When we arrived at the winery in Sanlúcar, Fermín talked to us about the solera system before we tasted the different sherries directly from the casks. Fermín uses a rod with a deep narrow cup attached to the end called a venencia, which is swiftly dipped into the barrels through the flor, before pouring into our waiting glasses without spilling a drop.
That evening we head to the Carreras de Caballos. The origins of the races are unclear, but one story is that fish buyers raced the horses along the beach as they waited for trawlers to bring in their haul to the port. What is known is that a horse racing society was established in Sanlúcar in 1845, creating a tradition that would become a part of the city’s cultural fabric.
The racing takes place along a 1.8km stretch of beach at the mouth of the Río Guadalquivir during the month of August, where racehorses thunder across the sand watched by huge crowds of spectators.