|Ruinart paired champagne with each flavorful course.|
I don’t usually look forward to Mondays. The first day of the workweek is the most hectic for me, and sometimes I barely have time to grab a slice of pizza, let alone enjoy an elaborate sit-down meal. But this particular Monday was an exception –– I anxiously awaited this day –– and for once, I had prepared to leave my office to head out to lunch. Chef Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s in Miami and Ruinart Champagne collaborated on this edible feast for an intimate group. I had great company with other NYC bloggers.
|Though the apartment building was unassuming, the luncheon setting was a spacious Greenwich Village loft. Who couldn’t live here? Or, at least eat lunch… photo via Joy McKinney for Ruinart|
Set in a spacious Greenwich Village loft with an unassuming exterior at 130 West Third Street, our luncheon started off with mini fried chicken biscuits, shrimp ceviche, and oysters wrapped in toro with mustard seed ponzu. The champagne was NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs in Magnum. I could’ve easily made a delicious and filling meal out of the hors d’oeuvres and the first wine pairing, but I knew this was only an intro to the chef’s menu and the bottles of Ruinart bubbly to follow.
|These oysters were the most succulent I’ve ever tasted.|
Even though I’ve indulged in my share of multi-course meals with wine pairings, this lunch was definitely a day of “firsts.” This was my first experience with Ruinart –– the oldest champagne house in the world –– and my first time eating Bernstein’s creations.
This Monday also marked my first meal with champagne-only pairings, and all I can say is “Wow!” I’m not sure what I was waiting for, but this is proof that champagne can accompany any plate and bring out the flavors in each. Sparkling wine is not just for a pre-dinner cocktail, a dessert beverage, or a toast on a special occasion. During this delish lunch, I realized that I should drink champagne more regularly and with all types of food. I found Ruinart’s champagne and each of Bernstein’s dishes to marry perfectly.
After the fried chicken, oysters, and ceviche with the NV Blanc de Blancs, this was our menu:
Smoked, sous vide salmon with poached egg and caviar hollandaise, served with 2002 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
Duck breast cassoulet with duck confit, duck sausage and foie gras, served with NV Ruinart Rosé in Magnum.
Roasted fig, confit of kumquat, poached pear, piave, aged gouda, testun with baguette tuiles, served with 1998 Dom Ruinart Rosé.
All three dishes were delicious, but my absolute favorite was the salmon course. I nearly licked the plate on this one. The poached egg was runny, the caviar added the right amount of salt, the Barney Greengrass smoked salmon was the perfect temperature (often I find smoked fish to be too warm or too cold), and the sous vide salmon was the most decadent part of the dish for me, prepared almost rare with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. I could eat this plate again and again, and drink the 2002 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs with it each time!
From savory to sweet, salty to tangy, a bottle of champagne enhances most any meal. In the words of Frédéric Panaiötis, Chef de Caves for Ruinart, “You don’t need a special moment to drink champagne. Champagne makes the moment special.”
Every bite of food was decadent, and Ruinart champagne made this Monday lunch complete.
|Panaiötis shares a few thoughts on Ruinart.|
|Chef Bernstein keeps a tidy kitchen!|
|Assembling the cheese plates–-photo via Joy McKinney for Ruinart|
|Panaiötis and Bernstein toast the afternoon.–photo via Joy McKinney for Ruinart|
|Fresh flowers add the finishing touch to the table.|
|You can never have too much champagne.|
|Our candlelit table|
|Chef Bernstein describes the salmon dish.|
|Here I am with Frederic Panaiötis and Nicolas Ricroque of Ruinart, after our lunch. Note: It’s a Monday, and we are smiling and happy. This is what great food and champagne does!|
Sending a big thank you to Ruinart for this sensational afternoon –Merci!