Travelling to Paris for a dinner is quite a big commitment: but when the dinner is to celebrate M Lagerfeld, the recipient of this year’s Prix Grand Siècle Laurent-Perrier 2014, there’s no question as to whether one should or shouldn’t go…
It was held at the Pavillon Cambon, on rue Cambon, just across the road from the Chanel mothership. It’s a large, galleried space, where I have been many times for shows during the collections, most notably for Chanel couture. (My report is here.) I would not have recognised it as the same place.
By using the most glorious flowers, in a quite extraordinary profusion, Laurent-Perrier made the room felt like the most luxe, most chic, most glamorous dining room.
We gathered upstairs for a pre dinner reception, where we drank Champagne Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle en magnum. Then we were called to dinner downstairs. When we had arrived, the room was hidden by ceiling high white drapes, which were swept back with some aplomb to reveal a cream and grey room set.
Fortunately, I was on a table with English speakers: including our host David Hesketh MW, of Laurent-Perrier, as otherwise I would have been nodding hopefully for most of the evening. (I do speak French, but not enough to last an entire three course dinner!) In fact I had one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had in ages.
The high point of the evening was the presentation of the wine. To herald each course, a phalanx of white glove-clad waiters descended from the gallery, magnums held at shoulder height, and paraded through the dining room. It was a fabulous piece of theatre.
With the first course we carried on drinking the Champagne Grand Siecle, which accompanied a brandade aux truffes, cocotte en croute de sel. Champagne is quite my favourite drink, and I adore Laurent Perrier, so you can imagine how much I was enjoying my evening.
Then we moved on to a delectable Chateau Canon 2003 - 1er Grand Cru Classe St-Emilion en magnum, to accompany pigeon en feuillete, duxelle de cepes, jardin de legumes. M Lagerfeld gave a very short speech, and then was interviewed on stage.
And then the absolute treat: Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Alexandra Rose 2004 en magnum. It is the most wonderful wine: a blend of pinot noir (80%) and chardonnay (20%) grapes, giving it a glorious salmon pink hue. It has a depth, and fruitiness – berries and apricots, but still retains a delicious dryness.
And a quite spectacular pud: my picture does not do it justice. It’s a macaronade aux deux fraises, with fraises de bois givrees. That translates as an almond-y biscuit base, covered in strawberries, and the tiniest, wee-est wild strawberries, accompanied by a wild strawberry sorbet masquerading as a halved giant strawberry, with a strawberry coulis bringing it all together. It was sensational, and the wine stood up to all the sugary acidic flavours admirably.
And then tiers of petit fours. Goodness, really the most perfect wine and food. A huge thank you to David Hesketh, and to everyone at Laurent-Perrier for a perfect, perfect evening.
Style notes: I wore a Vicki Sarge perspex and crystal neckpiece, and a handmade palladium-plated ear cuff with a Whistles floor length navy lace and crepe long-sleeved evening dress (similar to this one), cream leather Nicholas Kirkwood lace-up stilettos, and a green Valentino evening bag.
Thank you to Vicki for loaning me the jewellery for the evening. www.vickisarge.com