Sunday, 13 April 2014


Frank Sinatra is quite an authority when it comes to, well, just about anything. But when he sings "I get no kick from Champagne. No, alcohol doesn't move me at all" I find myself disagreeing somewhat vigorously. Champagne is one those things which injects a bit of much needed luxury into any day. Just the sound of the bottle being popped open makes one's hands spontaneously clap! And an old adage states it is the only socially acceptable drink any time of the day.

A little while back I had the opportunity to expand my enological expertize at Pernod Ricard with the Brand Ambassador of the world famous Champagne house. There were bloggers from all walks of life: some always have a bottle in the fridge, some hadn't even tasted Champagne until now (and to start with Mumm? Some really have it going on...)

The goal of the house (founded by two German brothers, by the way!) is simple: excellence. Known for the red ribbon on the label Mumm is one of the leading Champagne producers and many associate it with moments of great success and exceeding oneself: it has, since 2002 been the official Champagne of the F1-circuit, after all. Originally Champagne was a tipple reserved for the kings and as a bona fide royalist (the tiaras! The palaces! The weddings!) I couldn't help but get all giddy as I studied the list of all the royal families that,with their royal warrants, have made Mum their official Champagne purveyor.

Though with events such as Pernod Ricard's recipe contest I have recently made even more of an effort to learn about the successful marriage between food and wine, the versatile nature of Champagne and the wonderful matches it, too, produces did take me by surprise. Mumm alone has several Champagnes and they each have their own distinct personalities that truly blossom when paired with the right food.

Blanc de Blancs, made entirely out of Chardonnay grapes had small bubbles and delightfully light and crisp feel to it. It immediately made me think of white fish and seafood. For instance scallops in a sauce to which butter lends richness and lemon some zing would compliment the acidity of this one wonderfully.

Cordon Rouge on the other hand was a fine example of the traditional holy trinity of Champagne grapes that is Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir gives it so much more complexity and body. I wonder - is this our wedding Champagne...?

This worked superbly with saltier canapés and was particularly spot on with Serrano ham bringing its nutty notes to a whole new level. I'd steer clear of very mature hams (or paleta) as their leatheriness might be a bit overpowering.

Rosé is synonymous with summer and Mumm's rosé Champagne combined fruitiness and acidity in a way  that turned out to be perfect match for tomato and coriander salsa served with grilled scallops. Champagne mellowed the acidity of the salsa bringing the tastes to perfect balance. It also had the body needed to carry stronger flavours such as Dijon- capers- mousse that these potatos were topped with.

Demi Sec worked sublimely with treats with berry notes and balanced the sweetness of the marshmallows in an exciting way.

A big hand goes to Pernod Ricard and the lovely ladies at communications agency Deski - who knew learning could be this much fun!




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