Saturday, November 27, 2021

Champagne x Chef

I know I shouldn't have expected less when the ever elegant champagne house of Krug created an event for the launch of their new 2008 vintage, converting the space adjacent to Wanchai Pier into a whimsical theme with jaw-dropping harbor view to show forth in the background. Somehow they still managed to go beyond my imagination. 

Normally we would have begun such launch event with their chef de cave Julie leading us into a tasting session of their new release in person, but instead we were connected to the team virtually in the room near the entrance which reminded me of the backstage of a classic opera house. Of course that didn't take away our excitement of being able to preview their new vintage release first-hand, with intense aroma of zest and dried fruits, well balanced citrus acidity, honey, wheaty and marzipan notes on the palate and a long after-taste. That with the beautiful series of canapes prepared.

We were then led into the space further in with the "Act 2", with a special musical performance by the local group Manvsmachine, which a commission piece collaborated with the champagne house to "pair" with the new Krug 2008 and the Krug Grande Cuvee 164th Edition, which were released a few months ago. More gimmicky than everything if you ask me, but it was nice to chill at the lounge setting with the skyline backdrop, with the glass in hand of course, while enjoying the avant-garde jazz piece performed by the talented trio. 

The Third and Final Act was the one I anticipated the most, with the long table lunch prepared by Chef Guillaume of Caprice, who was also one of the "Krug Ambassador". We started with the familiar Crabe Royale d'Alsaka, one of Guillaume's signature dish, served with crustacian jelly and a quenelle of oscietre caviar on top. The rich umami flavor from the dish with the hint of minerality matched up perfectly well with the equally rich Krug 2008. 

A month ago we went on a Krug champagne "run" when a few pairing dishes were presented by various chefs in town using the single ingredient theme of "onion". Our next course was the one created by Chef Guillaume, with the beautiful marriage of seared foie gras and the airy espuma prepared with Cevennes onion and saffron. The slightly roasted and caramelized flavor from the sweet onions worked well with the acidity of the Krug 164th edition, added to a new dimension of taste on the palate. I am glad to be able to try this creation at last. 

Our main course was kinmedai (goldeneye snapper) served with champignon mushrooms done two ways (sauteed duxelles underneath with more raw ones shaved on top) The fish fillet was slow-cooked skin-side down and underneath was the rich vin jaune sauce. Chef Guillaume worked on his sauce like wizardry and the combination of the distinctive flavor of Vin Jaune and the sweet undertone was heavenly. I like the wine pairing of Krug 2006 too, just as beautiful as their later release but with more time to mature, and more intense on the palate I reckon. 

Dessert was a simple one yet cleverly executed with the fig and chocolate mille feuille, paired with the Krug Rose with dried fig and apricot notes and lively bubbles, capping off this perfect and tipsy afternoon completed with everything beautifully curated. 

(Event was by invitation)

When? October 26 2021
Where? Pier 1929, Wanchai Pier, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Onion Royal from Cevennes, Saffron, and Foie Gras
2008 Champagne Krug Vintage Brut
Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee 164eme Edition Brut
2006 Champagne Krug Vintage Brut
Champagne Krug Rose 25eme Edition Brut
(Champagne Krug)

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