Recently I was invited to attend the MOET & CHANDON GOURMING and it was a total fabulous experiencing as I got to not only taste but actually drink the MOËT IMPÉRIAL Champagne and also the MOËT GRAND VINTAGE 2004. “Gourming” is an abbreviation of two words: ‘Gourmet’ and ‘Tasting’. By combining them together it formed the word “Gourming”. Therefore Gourming the word had been used by Moët & Chandon to create this culinary workshop, with the aim to revive the art of elegant snacking and to understand how different types of food and cuisine can pair well with Moët & Chandon champagne.
At the Gourming Workshop, we were divided into small groups of 4, perhaps no more than 12 pax per session where we were given free creative reign to discover and create a dish that best complements the champagne. During the workshop Chef Nicolas Isnard presented all the ingredients to us and each group created several recipes by following their own inspiration and then tasted them with two champagnes: Impérial and Grand Vintage. Chef Nicolas Isnard together with his team assisted and guided us. The idea of this workshop is to identify on how and why certain aromas and tastes work better with champagne. Not only that Chef Nicolas Isnard also prepared three of his dishes paired with the selected Moët & Chandon champagnes and the two were just terrific and left me speechless.
Chef Nicolas Isnard was born in August 1977, the 18th, in the south of France, next to the Mediterranean Sea: “The sea was my childhood and hs taste for cooking came from his grandmother. Curious, fond of food and gourmet, he learns how to cook by her side.
“At my grandma’s it was polenta as starter; the dish was pizza and pasta for dessert. Italian cooking is a cooking of products, more familial than French cooking, more popular and more shinny. You need to have the right tomato, the right pasta … no artifacts”
Then, he teaches how to cook to … his father. From his youngest times, he allowed himself not to follow exactly the recipes. He likes to try different quantities, try out non-common mixings. As bored at school, he decided to live from his passion. He is the only one in his family to cook for work.
One of his children might follow his steps…
Cooking as life learning process
From his years of learning in Sète, at the Terrasses du Lido, Chef Nicolas keeps the rigor with a big R, the discipline, and the rules to live in community.
Cehf Nicolas develops his sense of effort, the taste of a work well done, no matter what it is.
From Matignon to Dijon, the head and the hands in the stars:
His passion, energy and rigor allowed him to evolve, and work at the end of his apprenticeship, at 22, as a Chef de partie for a Relais & Château 1-starred Michelin restaurant: “Le Prieuré”.
In 2000, he did his military service, which he completed as a cooker in Matignon. He stayed there for 10 months, and keeps a dazzle memory of the official residency of the French prime minister.
At only 23, he became the second in command at “Le Vieux Logis”, a 1* Michelin restaurant in France.
A year later, he joined La Rotonde restaurant, in Lyon, a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant, with the team of Philippe Gauvreau. Nicolas is Chef de partie in a team of 25 people. He learns how to generalize luxury products, by creating for example, lobsters tagine.
He became Head chef of the Auberge du Vieux Puits restaurant at only 25. This restaurant is today a 3* Michelin-starred restaurant, headed by Gilles Goujon. That is where he met his actual business partner, David le Comte and also his wife Cécile.
The day of the annual closing of the restaurant, Nicolas got in touch with a head-hunter, who offered him a spot as a Chef in a starred Relais & Château restaurant, which was what he wanted. He talked about it with Gilles Goujon, who encouraged him to accept the position.
Le Château de Curzay employed 31 people in total, 12 in the kitchen. The owner was also the proprietor of another gastronomic restaurant offering to his client Italian cooking, in Switzerland. Nicolas spends his time between the two restaurants, and leads the Italian one to its first Michelin star.
During this time, he created his first revisited onion soup, and the Vichyssoise oyster.
L’Auberge de la Charme : a 4 person adventure
In June 2008, with Cécile Sagory, David le Comte and Jessica Jean, he bought the Auberge de la Charme à Prenois, a few kilometers from Dijon.
Together, they decided to face the challenge of making their clients forget the former chef known for his molecular cuisine.
Their cuisine: a mix between tradition and innovation. Within a year they got a Michelin star.
With David Le Comte, in 2010, Nicolas dedicates a book to the egg, with 30 original recipes with a simple title: L’œuf. From his experience, Nicolas’ has developed the signature of cooking l’œuf parfait. What product is more simple and symbolic than the egg?
In May 2011, the 4 associates decide to erase the menu to affirm their audacity, and develop the national, international and local clients.
A mix of countryside, city all around the world and… people
Even if the sea soothed his childhood, as a grown up Nicolas lived mostly in the countryside: in Dordogne, in « Les Corbières », in Poitou then in Burgundy.
From the laidback charm of the French countryside, he is able to harness his culinary expertise for consulting activities in cities such as Beijing, Dubai, Macao, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, Singapore, Saigon, Casablanca around the world
Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific Regional Brand Ambassador Arnaud Mirey is a French professional in wines and spirits graduated with honors from the Wine and spirit Educational Trust of London. He is the Regional Brand Ambassador of Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific, since 2008.
Arnaud studied French culinary art for five years and worked the last ten years as “Sommelier” and manager of star Michelin restaurants, private clubs and luxury wine cellars in Paris, London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
In Hong Kong, his roles included a position as Maitre D’ and Sommelier of Restaurant Pétrus Hong Kong, where he was responsible of the Five Star Diamond and 2 Michelin star Restaurant Pétrus and its wine list, which won the “Best Of” award of excellence for having one of the most outstanding wine list in the world, from the Wine Spectator magazine.
Arnaud is also the founder and creator of Aromaster, the world’s most complete wine aroma collection, a reference for wine schools worldwide, available in 12 languages and accessible via www.aromaster.com
He is a member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux (The Bordeaux Guild), Order des Coteaux de Champagne (The Champagne Guild) and the Shanghai and Hong Kong Wine Society.
The first tasting of Chef Nicolas Isnard’s was his SCALLOP CARPACCIO with Cucumber Tagliatelle, Yuzu Vinegar and Coconut Milkshake was so deliciously refreshing and smooth in texture. The refreshing sweetness of the scallop paired so well with Moët Impérial and having the present of the coconut milkshake make the golden bubbly liquid so irresistible. The present of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage was good too but I still prefer Moët Impérial on this note.
List of Aromatics, for the bitterness the ROCKET LEAVES / GRAPEFRUIT ZEST, sweetness FIG / COCONUT MILK, Saltness came the ANCHOVY / SEA SALT, as for sourness LEMON JUICE / CUCUMBER was provided, where as others, BUTTON MUSHROOMS / VINEGAR and as for ingredients that are less desirable MUSTARD / CUT CHILI / ARTICHOKE came to play.
When a whole scallop was placed right infront of me, I had it lingered with some of the ingredients from the aromatic list and I like it paired with mustard . . . . yes that day my taste buds really amazed me too. I found the combination truly captiviting and sipping into the Moët Impérial was just brilliantly spot on. The combination of the scallop and sea salt too got my attention, it just pleased my tasting so brilliantly and this time I paired it with the Grand Vintage and it was thrilling indeed.
Next dish that came over was Chef’s CHICKEN FILLET With Potato Gnochi & Eggplant that looked so perfect. I can smell the seared chicken and it was moist inside. For this I like the pairing with the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage as the browning of the chicken had let loose a beautiful fruity and flora aroma and so luxuriously to drink. Just loving it so much.
MOËT IMPÉRIAL. THE LIVING LEGEND.
The flagship of Moët & Chandon, Moët Impérial is the most accomplished and universal expression of its style. It reflects the diversity and complementarities of the three champagne grapes and the richness of the region’s best vineyards to reveal the magic of the world’s most loved champagne.
Moët Impérial distinguishes itself by a bright fruitiness, a seductive palate and an elegant maturity, that continually seduce and delight.
Moët Impérial is a harmonious blend of the most diverse selection of crus in Champagne, with a perfect balance of the three champagne grape varieties (30% to 40% Pinot Noir, 30% to 40% Pinot Meunier, 20% to 30% Chardonnay). The use of 20% to 30% of carefully selected reserve wines completes the assemblage and enhances its maturity, complexity and consistency.
The color is an elegant golden straw yellow with green highlights.
Its aromas reveal a bright fruitiness – apple, pear, white peach and citrus fruits (lemon) – with floral nuances (lime blossom) and elegant blond notes (brioche and fresh nuts).
The palate is seductive and lively, combining smoothness with finesse, elegance with radiance and followed by a delicate fresh finish to reveal the magical balance of champagne.
Moët Impérial can be served as a prelude to dinner and all the way through to dessert. It is perfect with sushi and dumplings, shellfish and fish in light sauces, poached, roasted, or lightly sauced white meats, and fresh fruit salads that are not too sweet.
MOËT GRAND VINTAGE 2004. GRACEFUL.ELEGANT.SLEEK
Every Grand Vintage is unique and original, the cellar master’s personal, free interpretation in service of the singular qualities of that year’s grapes.
Grand Vintage perfectly embodies the three essential values of the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage spirit:
– Freedom of interpretation
– Selection of the year’s most remarkable wines
– Respect for the individuality of each vintage for finely aged champagnes which stand out for their maturity, complexity and charisma.
The Year’s Climate and Harvest
Plentiful, in excellent health and beautifully ripe were the key characteristics of the 2004 harvest. Throughout the entire growing season the weather was unusually mild and particularly favourable to thriving vines and exquisitely mature grapes. After a somewhat dry spring the vines flourished in the early summer rains and subsequent hot sunny weather. Very warm temperatures later in the season created the ideal conditions for a harvest which was both extremely abundant and at the perfect stage of ripeness.
– Chardonnay: 38 %
– Pinot Noir: 33 %
– Pinot Meunier: 29 %
– 5 g/litre
Maturation in the cellars
– 7 years
Ageing after disgorgement
– 6 months minimum
An Elegant Colour
– A brilliant light yellow
– A fine, jewel-like bead
A Refined, Pure, Precise Bouquet
– Fruity notes of white peach, lemon, pineapple, green banana and pear
– Floral, botanical scents of mock-orange, herbal tea and honeysuckle
– Spicier, sweeter nuances of pepper, brown sugar, marzipan and candied melon
A Graceful Palate With A Light Airy Structure
– Straightforward yet complex, with a sleek, pure savour leading into a long, languorously rich finish
– A light, lively, supple structure with mineral overtones
– Bracing, refreshing notes of rhubarb and grapefruit with a touch of mint
I am always a true sucker when comes to pasta, I just love pasta and having a good pasta paired with champagne, it’s heaven. That day I had the chance to taste a delicious pasta PENNA PASTA with Olives and Parmesan with both Moet Grand Vintage 2004 & Moet Imperial. Here I found both champagne were very truly awesome and definitely a great threesome. Both got me so excited too and the idea of having a bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne at home and pasta can be easily executed.
At the end of the MOET & CHANDON GOURMING I truly understand how to differentiate flavours in a cuisine such as the bitterness, sweetness, sourness, saltiness that can be harnessed to complement and even enhance enjoyment of my every glass of the Moët & Chandon champagne. Just brilliant and I truly had fun !