I can’t resist a good Champagne session.
I have often been told that one should select the ideal Mood, find the perfect Food and create the most magical moment with the matching Moët & Chandon champagne.
My mood.. definitely gleeful. It is normally with much glee that I accept any invitation from Moët & Chandon, to an exclusive Gourming experience no less, celebrating the launch of Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage Rosé 2006.
This fun event, where we get to mess up a kitchen and play “masak-masak”, without having to wash up, was held at Starhill Culinary Studio, Kuala Lumpur. Oh yes, gleeful indeed!
So, that sunny afternoon, we met winemaker Elise Losfelt, and she talked about the new Grand Vintage Rosé 2006. It sounded like a great champagne with a bubbly personality, so I really could not wait to get started in the kitchen and make some awesome dishes to pair with some equally awesome champagne. My group had Fatboybakes and Cumi in it, so I knew it would work out well. All I needed to do was to chop vegetables, and this would still be a home run. haha!
the incredibly charming winemaker Elise Losfelt
At this point I feel like I have to tell you something about this humble, lovely, yet incredibly accomplished French lady. Elise obtained a Masters of Engineering with majors in Life Sciences and Economics at Paris’ esteemed Agro Paris Tech in 2008, followed by a Masters in Viticulture and Oenology from Supagro in Montpellier in 2011. She is also sixth generation winemaker hailing from a family of talented female winemakers. She was exposed to the industry at a very young age at her family vineyard in Grès de Montpellier, and is a cunning linguist.. Elise is fluent in French, English and Spanish AND German AND Mandarin. She puts me to shame with that last Mandarin bit.. oh no! But yes, I say it again, a lovely, humbly, rather fun lady whom we had a lot of laughs with. It was just tres tres nice, being in her company.
Chef Wai .. “Don’t mess with my kitchen!”
Anyway, after Chef Wai, Executive Chef at YTL Restaurants, Starhill Gallery briefed us on what to do, to not set his kitchen on fire, it was time to cook.
So basically, different types of food (salty, sweet, sour, tart, fruity, creamy etc) could possibly pair well with Moët & Chandon champagne, but not all types of food, obviously. Our task was to find, which ones did, and to create the perfect dish to pair with two different vintages -the Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial first, then the Grand Vintage Rosé 2006.
Chef Wai took to the floor to introduce the ingredients made available during the session and to make things interesting, there was a challenge (finishing first and fast would be in which ever group’s favour) – four groups, each consisting of three individuals, began our tasks in preparing their four best dishes to be paired with the champagnes.
Our first two dishes were : Smoked Duck with Basil, Peaches, and Capsicum & Scallops with Raddish, Grapefruit and a Mango Chutney, paired with the Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial. Drumroll please… Elise actually loved it.. and so we WON! First round went to Group 3, my group, ahem!
Perfectly seared Scallops! Just look at that.. we had the whole fire in pan thing going.. a pro couldn’t have done it better even if he tried:P
A mango chutney for the scallops.. so inspired!
So, Elise dug into our first dish… and chewed..
and tasted and chewed some more…
Then she tasted the scallops.. and chewed on that…. Finally, after she finished all the other groups dishes, she came back and, pronounced Group 3 WINNER!
Yay! Our winning medallion!
Then, for our second two dishes, we decided to go with some Asian curries, to pair with the more mellow Grand Vintage Rosé 2006 : Chicken Curry with Peaches, garnished with Sage and grated Parmesan, served with toasted buttered baguette & a dessert (because no one else had made one) Strawberries served with Marscapone Cream Cheese.
Moët & Chandon ‘s 2006 Grand Vintage Champagne was a lovely mellow, floral and succulent mouthful – it was noticeably fresh and crisp with notes of nectarine and currant followed by a creaminess as the flavour expanded, leaving a bittersweet note of pomelo. And that is why we chose to pair it with a hearty, rich, thick, flavourful Asian Curry. I think we (Group 3) were the only ones who cooked with the Champagne, adding it to our curry in the last 5 minutes of thickening. This second round, there were actually representatives from each group following Elise around to tastes the other group’s food. This was supposed to give a fair judgement I suppose. In the end, EVERYONE loved Group 3’s (as in our group) curry best, but since we already won once, the winners were selected as Group 4 this time. To be fair. Well done Group 4!
Elise says, ” You must use only the ingredients on the table, and you must not cheat.. and you must remember to keep drinking champagne”. The last part was only too easy to follow!
What Fatboybakes looks like he is doing – paying close attention..
In all reality, what Fatboybakes is really doing…. hah!
See.. we cooked using the Champagne, could have charged a premium for our Chicken Curry! 😛
Doing my bit.. and trying not to burn the bread:P
More Champagne in the curry.. and down my throat too of course.
Ta- dah! We did not have any sugar, so we sweetened the curry using peaches and syrup. We thickened it using the sour cream and we grated parmesan on top to give it that slightly salty tang.
Fatboybakes does what he does best. Makes a fabulous dessert using cream cheese and strawberries.
Again Elise looks so happy when eating our curry…
Oh yes indeed.. she loved it!
And then everyone else descended upon our Group 3 table, to eat our Curry! LOL.. in 10 seconds there was none left:(
So, we had a quick vote and even though everyone voted Group 3’s curry the best, it was only fair that a different group won this time. So Group 4.. the winner!
Bringing a close to the Moet Gourming session, Chef Wai presented his four best canapés to be paired with the two champagnes variants before the floor was opened to a short Q&A session with Elise Losfelt and Master Chef Wai.
This is how the pro does it.. don’t mess!
Officially launched in Malaysia on October 29 2014, Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage Rosé 2006 is only available via order through Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia.
So now you know!
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