I may well be a keen food blogger, but let me confess to you before I begin this article that I am not someone whose pallet is refined enough to tell the difference between a Dom Perignon or a Mumm champagne!
In fact, I would (prior to this lovely evening I’ll discuss shortly) have only been able to give you an ‘educated’ guess when discussing the terms demi-sec or grand cru.
However, I can tell you that I am a big fan of fizz and that after an evening of education, fine food and great champagne at Mirabelle last week I certainly have a far greater understanding of the complexities of champagne as well as the way it can complement foods and should not just be used as a good aperitif.
Confessions over, the night itself was fabulous. Mirabelle is sometimes a nightmare to go to when you need to park nearby but even this was a breeze as we wound our way into the modern elegance of the restaurant.
With the evening a touch more structured than most ‘tasting menus’ (brackets here as I feel that this was not a tasting menu as such but instead an informed journey of different wine and foods over three courses), we sat down to await the first sip of heaven and were not disappointed as the wine expert had picked a fabulous grand cru that really added to the fantastic seafood risotto. The fabulous scallops and the sweet taste of well cooked lobster in the risotto was a treat to savour.
Before long, the next course and the next beautiful glass of champagne was brought to our table. The main course consisted of a fantastic arrangement of a trio of duck (of course cooked in three different ways). The duck a la orange was very enjoyable but not as incredible as the tender duck confit.
I then had a real taste surprise as, for the first time, I tried chaource – the local cheese of the Champagne region. To describe the taste and texture is tricky as the cheese had a rind but also had a semi-hard texture to taste.
With another glass of champagne flowing at the same time it really hit home that this wine (and after all this is what it is) really can be one that is not just a special occasion drink and can be enjoyed as part of a meal.
With so many ‘champagnes’ or versions of champagnes we would never be able to tell apart from the real thing being produced in great locations like California and even Denbies in the UK (who make an excellent sparkling wine), it may one day be a wine that the likes of you and I can enjoy at a reasonable cost rather than instead deferring to cheaper options like prosecco.
Finally, to end a fabulous evening, we enjoyed my favourite classic French dessert – a Tarte aux Pomme – which with the last (and much sweeter glass) of champagne produced a silky sweet end to an amazing evening that really gave me a new appreciation of the many different ways to enjoy French food and wine.
Categories: Restaurant reviews