To describe Hélène Darroze as inspiring is an understatement. Her wealth of culinary experience and accolades speak for themselves, but I'm also in awe of her generosity and humility. So I felt a teeny bit starstruck every time she popped in to say hello in between courses at her Sommelier's Table lunch at The Connaught. A clever twist on the concept of a chef's table, Hélène designs each menu to match the sommelier's choice of wines. Today we discovered the world of Pinot Noir and the key ingredient was the cep mushroom.
Pink garlic, cep, parsley and lardo di Colonnata; served with the 2011 Pinot Noir, Terravin, Marlborough, New Zealand.
A cep lasagne with frog leg, ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano; served with the 2010 PInot Noir "Barda", Bodegas Chacra, Argentina.
Grouse Wellington with foie gras, cep, fig and whiskey; served with the 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin, Olivier Bernstein, Burgundy, France.
The signature savarin of apple and chestnut, dribbled with Francis Darroze's Bas-Armagnac; served with Champagne Eric Rodez, Blanc de Noirs, Grand Cru, Ambonnay.
Every course was subtle and clever, and I particularly loved the intimate dining room with a view into their limestone wine cellar. You can find out more about this experience and make a reservation here. You won't regret it. Disclaimer – I was invited to dine as a guest but all views are my own.