Laurent-Perrier Tous Les Sens: A Preview

Published on BespokeRSVP on 25th May 2012:

Laurent Perrier Tous Les Sense at Massimo, The Corinthia, London

Flowers aren’t my thing. It’s all that pollen irritating my hayfever. And all that floral femininity making me feel like I have to be all girly. But flowers on a plate, it just makes me all weak at the knees with glee.

At the Laurent-Perrier Tous Les Sens Masterclass at Taste of London this year, it is all about the flowers. Not just to look at or to smell but also to eat. International florist Ercole Moroni leads the class and guides you through a specially created tasting menu of floral delights. As well as exploring the menu and learning about the different flowers on the plate and on the table, you also get to sample a small flight of Champagnes from Laurent-Perrier.

If the preview at Massimo, The Corinthia, is anything to go by, you will surely be in for a treat. We had dishes inspired by apple blossom, green shiso, wild garlic, courgette flower, jasmine blossom, and elderflower, just to name a few; and by inspired I mean it was on the plate. While we sipped the champagne and tried the food, Moroni talked about why each champagne was chosen to match the menu and how they relate to the flowers. By the end of the meal, even I was warming a little to the bouquet.

Laurent Perrier Tous Les Sense at Massimo, The Corinthia, London

The Tous Les Sens Masterclass menu at Taste of London is slightly different though and has been put together especially for the event by specialist caterers, Urban Caprice. Canapé portions of starter, main and dessert will be paired with Ultra Brut, Grand Siècle and Curvée Rosé respectively, from Champagne Laurent-Perrier.

The starter will be Mottra Osetra caviar, apparently the world’s only truly sustainable caviar, on white toast. The caviar is sustainable and ethical because the sturgeons are massaged to release the roe rather than cut open while still alive. The main course is a Champagne infused risotto with asparagus. And finally the dessert is a white chocolate and strawberry sphere with strawberry mousse, macerated strawberries, rose jelly and crystalised rose petals.

Ultra-glam Searcy’s launch at One New Change

Published on Foodepedia on 4th April 2011:

It was 5pm on a Tuesday and the perfect time for some champagne. Well champagne and canapés at the glamorous new Searcy’s Champagne Bar launch, that is. And that’s exactly where I was on the 29th of March.

City workers will probably have noticed a new shopping venue slowly emerging out of the rubble, after months of building works, at One New Change. The new Searcy’s Champagne Bar is right at the heart of it on the first floor, and it is ultra-glam. The decor channels 70s chic with floor to ceiling glass, plush armchairs and a granite bar all designed by Interbar.

Of course the venue is nothing without the champagne and connoisseurs will not be disappointed.

There’s a very extensive selection of vintage and non-vintages, with offerings from some 25 different champagne houses. And with single flutes starting from £8.50 to vintages costing £600 a bottle, there’s definitely something for all budgets.

Aside from having the most extensive champagne list in Europe, it is also the first bar in the UK to decant champagne. That’s right – they will decant a bottle of champagne, of your choice and at your table, into a crystal champagne decanter from Riedel for you to savour. Supposedly this helps to bring out the more complex characteristics of champagne, just as it does fine wine.

The bar also serves a selection of cold dishes, chosen specifically to match the champagnes available. And if the foie gras macaroons and beetroot with orange and ginger canapés I tried is anything to go by, your taste buds will certainly be tantalised.

I’m told the venue is open from 7am to 11pm which means that it’s probably perfect for every kind of occasion – from champagne breakfast meetings to a quick after work drink or perhaps just a break from shopping.

Searcy’s Champagne Bar at One New Change is open now and can be found at 1st Floor, One New Change, London EC4M 9AF www.searcys.co.uk

Entertaining with Laurent Perrier

Published on Foodepedia on 7th December 2010:

The Christmas season is definitely upon us with snow descending across the country and the opening of advent calendars. To ease us into the party season, Laurent-Perrier held a little class on the art of entertaining. I was there to enjoy a little champagne and take notes.

The class took place in the Madarin Bar of Mandarin Oriental, the home of Bar Boulud and the soon to open Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Leading the class were David Hesketh MW, MD of Laurent-Perrier UK, and Lucia van der Post, journalist and author of “Things I wish my mother had told me”. The focus was of course champagne and in particular, the selection from Laurent-Perrier.

Laurent-Perrier can trace its history to 1812 when Alphonse Pierlot was trading as A. Pierlot & Cie in Tours-sur-Marne, Champagne, France. He was a cooper and bottler before turning his hand to making champagnes. When he died in 1881, the company was bestowed to his cellar master Eugene Laurent who ran the Champagne House with his wife Mathilde-Emilie Perrier. It wasn’t until 1887, when Laurent passed away and Perrier took over the running of the company, that the brand Veuve Laurent-Perrier & Cie was established. The brand has since gone from strength to strength before being acquired by the Nonancourt family in 1939.

Today, the House of Laurent-Perrier is the fourth largest champagne brand in the world and remains a family owned business with members of the Nonancourt family on its Management Board.

But back to the evening and learning about the art of entertaining. As the guests gathered at the bar, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle was served in classic champagne flutes and matched to savoury canapés. There was quite a selection, from wild mushroom risotto to roulade of Fois Gras, but the pan-fried scallops with parsnip purée and Alsace bacon and the smoked salmon with caviar on toasted Brioche were particularly excellent.

David Hesketh MWAfter a short while of mingling, the party retired to an alcove of the bar to enjoy more champagne and to learn more about selecting champagnes for different occasions from David Hesketh before being entertained by Lucia van der Post with anecdotes and suggestions on the finer points of hosting etiquette. After yet more champagne, the evening winds down with a selection of sweet canapés including a very moreish praline and raisin feuillîte.

So here is what you need to know:

  • To open a bottle of champagne, you should first release the cork from the foil and its wire cage, minimising the agitation to the bottle. Then hold the bottle at a slight incline, with the cork in one hand and the base of the bottle in the other, gently twist the bottle to ease the cork out. Ideally the sound should be a hiss rather than a pop as it means more bubbles are retained in the champagne itself.
  • A champagne flute should always be used. The correct way to pour is to first fill to 1/3 of the glass before topping up to ¾ full. This allows the guests to appreciate the aroma from the champagne before enjoying the taste.
  • For a bigger party, it’s usually best to select a non vintage. It goes well with most canapés and will facilitate ease of conversation, adding a sense of occasion without imposition. Hesketh suggests the Laurent-Perrier Brut NV or the Ultra Brut for those calorie conscious.
  • For smaller parties of discerning guests, you want a vintage. There’s more depth of flavour and complexity of aroma – the sort of drink that you might enjoy and discuss. Hesketh suggests vintages from the 90s, in particular, 1996 and 2000 from Laurent-Perrier.
  • For special occasion or Christmas lunch, you want something with real complexity. Heskeths suggests the multi-vintage Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle – it even has its own special pewter holder.
  • For those romantic occasions, there’s always a rosé. Hesketh suggests the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rose Brut.

Experience Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle yourself at the Mandarin Bar, available by the glass at £35. It is also available with its specially designed holder from Harrods and Selfridges at £350rrp. A selection of Laurent-Perrier Champagnes is available across the country from Laithwaites.co.uk.