- September 17, 2018
What’s not to love about fine champagne? So when offered a seat at a diner that paired wines from Pommery with the expertise of food historian and chef Samantha Bilton who could I refuse.
The wines from the house of Pommery are very good indeed, steeped in traditions created by Madame Pommery, yes another strong woman from an age dominated by men, but also looking to the future with some innovative new ideas from their cellars. Each wine proved to be an excellent match to Sam’s dishes, and although you might struggle to fine Pommery on the supermarket shelf you will find it on wine lists around the city now and in independent merchants.
Sam’s menu was created to match the wines but also to reflect classic recipes spanning several hundred years and the work of some of history’s greatest chefs.
We started with crab gougere, the finest way to eat choux pastry in my view and these were exemplary, crisp buns filled with sweet white crab meat and the right amount of the musky brown flesh to make it special.
Our first course was a fine rabbit rillette, all too often a disappointing dish but here made with real skill, the rabbit flavour perfectly matched by the seasoning and the texture light and creamy – I could have eaten this again and again.
The expertise of food historian & chef Samantha Bilton
Next a perfectly poached slice of salmon in a crayfish infused cream sauce, vibrant with tarragon, and on the side a salad of cucumber marinated with a dash of aniseed spirit. Classic combinations finely delivered and a perfect balance to the sparkling delight in the glass.
Next came a stuffed chicken thigh with potato and cabbage and a rich sauce. Give me thigh over breast any day, more flavour and better texture when cooked well and this was. Sam was certainly giving this history based menu her all, and whilst staying true to the origins she was also adding an element of modernity.
Throughout Miriam, brand ambassador from the wine estate, filled us in with the history of the wines and funny tales too. Her knowledge is immense but she matches it with both wit and charm.
Finally a baba, a classic yeast risen cake with rum syrup served with a rose and raspberry sorbet. Wow! What a sorbet, one to certainly attempt at home, and a perfectly structured cake too. If I had one complaint, and this is for the whole evening, it needed more rum syrup. I like a wet baba and the structure of that yeasted dough can certainly handle that.
The guys at Blanch House certainly know how to stage a food event, perfect service in great surroundings. Look out for future food events on their website.
This was a Brighton and Hove Food & Drink Festival event