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December 2019

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.

Brett Graham of The Ledbury

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!”

Gareth Ward of Ynyshir's dish - Cod

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.”

Atul Kochar at Kanishka

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.”

Northcote's Lisa Allen paired Ossetra Caviar

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”

Peter Joseph of Kahani

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!”

Beautiful crab from HIDE's Ollie Dabbous

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.”

Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin's scallops

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