How to Pair Champagne and Food
At the invitation of K&L Wine Merchants and Gray Westby, the champagne buyer for K&L, I recently attended a dinner and tasting of Krug Champagnes. It featured the new Krug releases and was held at the Quattro restaurant located in the Palo Alto Four Seasons Hotel.
This was a memorable evening in all respects. Highlights were the great Krug Champagnes, the fabulous food, and the wonderful company featuring the presence of Margareth (Maggie) Henriquez, who for the past three years has been the president and CEO of Krug. And, all were new to me. The new Krug Champagnes included some of the best young Krug Champagnes of my experience. The food prepared by chef Marco Fossati was artistically presented and absolutely delicious. And, there was the opportunity to meet and chat with Maggie, which was very special. As well as being a totally knowledgeable and delightful person, Maggie is doing an absolutely remarkable job as head of the venerable house of Krug. Following is a brief history of Krug past and present, notes on the food and wine pairings, and notes on the Krug Champagnes.
Notes on the Food and Wine
The meal was especially created to match each dish with the characteristics of the different Krug Champagnes. Chef Marco Fossati worked ahead of time with members of the Krug team to create each dish. The pairing of the remarkable dishes that chef Fossati created and the great Krug Champagnes resulted in a meal that will forever last in my memory as one of the finest expressions of the marriage of food and wine that I have ever experienced.
Krug Grand Cuvée
The current release of Krug Grand Cuvée was served as an apéritif. It was wonderfully rich with a creaminess matched by bright acidity. It has the distinction of being the first grand cuvée to have the code (311032) on the back label which can be accessed on the Krug website www.krug.com.
Lobster Crudo, Dill, Watermelon Prosciutto
Duck and Taleggio Poppers
Pancetta-Wrapped Bay Scallops, Banana Saffron Crema
Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000
The newly released 2000 Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs was wonderfully fresh with a nice crispness that was beautifully matched with this unusual and delicious assortment of appetizers. The lobster and dill with the sweetness of the watermelon and the savory saltiness of the prosciutto was wonderful with the fruitiness of the Clos du Mesnil, while the duck and taleggio poppers were a match for the richness that is expressed in the wine. The last appetizer, pancetta-wrapped bay scallops with banana crema, was brilliant and brought out all of the floral and citrus notes in the Clos du Mesnil, which melded together seamlessly with the savory subtleness of the dish.
candied hazelnuts, orange confit, gingerbread arc
Krug Vintage 1998
This was an unusal dish that was as tasty as it was beautiful with the crispy gingerbread arched over the fontina cheese accented with porcini curry and candied hazelnuts and orange confit. The savory sweetness of the dish with a delicate spice was beautifully matched with this 1998 Krug having a rich brioche character accented by hints of peach and spice and a nice citrus crispness.
Paine Farm Squab
breast & thigh "en roulade," pain d’epice sauce
dried fruit condiment
Krug Vintage 2000
In Champagne, squab is a classic dish to be served with champagne. However, it is not often done here. The rare Paine Farm squab was roasted with black truffle and sage under the skin and the jus flavored with marsala and star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. The richness and phenomenal depth of flavors in the 2000 Krug were a terrific complement to the savory spicy sweetness of this dish.