Festive entertaining at home masterclass
Looking for inspiration for taking your entertaining skills to the next level over the festive period? You’ve come to the right place. Following the success of their sell-out masterclass at Taste of London, Christophe Marleix, head chef of The Grill at The Dorchester, and Daniel Brennan of Champagne Laurent-Perrier, share their show-stopping dishes and recommended champagne pairings
The perfect aperitif
Party tip: Put your champagne in the fridge the night before serving to ensure that it’s properly chilled. Never be tempted to put it in the freezer to chill as this will damage the quality.
As a first course, Christophe recommends serving Hansen & Lydersen smoked salmon, a delicately flavoured salmon with a unique smoky and oily character, which works particularly well with the acidity of the Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut. This champagne can also be paired with other seafood starters such as oysters or crab. Alternatively, for a tempting vegetarian option, the crisp Ultra Brut balances out the creamy flavours of goats’ cheese.
A light, fresh and elegant drink, Laurent-Perrier Brut is the ultimate all-rounder. This champagne is simply a ‘vin de plaisir’, which literally means ‘champagne to enjoy’, a perfect opening to a dinner party or celebration. For a wonderfully dry and crisp aperitif champagne, Daniel Brennan recommends Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut. This is champagne in its purest form as no sugar is added at the end of the fermentation process, resulting in a more subtle flavour.
Party tip: To open champagne like a professional, start by removing the foil around the cork and loosening the wire cage. Hold the bottle at 45 degrees, grip the cork and twist the bottle. As the pressure on the cork increases, hold it firmly and ease it slowly with a ‘hiss’ rather than a ‘pop’. When serving, hold the bottle with your thumb under the indent in the base of the bottle.
A touch of decadence
For your second course Christophe recommends The Grill at The Dorchester’s signature starter, lobster chowder. This is a refined and decadent dish that is guaranteed to be the talk of the dinner party. Daniel’s recommendation to accompany this is Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle. Made from the best vintages of the Grand Cru villages and aged for at least ten years, this champagne offers subtle aromas of honey, hazelnuts and brioche with every sip. For alternative food pairings, Christophe also recommends black truffle risotto, wild mushroom pappardelle, pan-fried red mullet or veal with a cream and sage sauce.
Party tip: A tulip-shaped glass is the best way to enjoy beautiful champagne. Slightly wider than a flute, it allows more of the aromas to reach the senses but narrow enough to retain the bubbles
Something rosé and rare
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is one of the rare rosé champagnes made using the maceration technique, instead of simply blending red and white wine. Grand Cru pinot noir grapes are pressed and left in contact with their skins. This process gives the champagne its distinct light pink shade and a delicious red fruit taste, making it the benchmark for rosé champagnes around the world.
An unexpected pairing
For a main course, Christophe likes to serve organic braised lamb shoulder with Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé. This unexpected pairing is a pleasant surprise that is sure to be the talking point of a dinner party. The secret to this great match is the richness of the lamb balanced by the sweetness of the rosé. Other recommended pairings include venison wellington, charcuterie and even Asian cuisine, such as a chicken tikka masala or tandoori chicken.
If this all sounds a little too much like hard work, experience these outstanding pairings and hospitality with Christophe and the team at The Grill at The Dorchester.