Pure Chablis, Pure Heaven

Due to the technical nightmares I was talking about in my last post, this blog post is also disgustingly late to go up on the blog (sorry sorry sorry). On top of that, I may or may not have misplaced the SD card which held all the photos from this event on it – and lets be honest – when writing a post about food and wine, one should always have mouth watering photography to be served alongside the descriptions.

Thankfully – the missing SD card was found safe and sound. I had put it “somewhere safe”. Don’t you all do that? – put something somewhere safe, so safe in fact, that you can find it. I learnt how to do this from my mother, the queen of ‘I’ll put that somewhere safe for you’. I had cleverly placed my SD card in the coin section of my purse when swapping cards over whilst out at an event, so that I didn’t loose it. Joke’s on me I guess. 

But back to business…

A few weeks ago I was very kindly invited to a fabulous wine tasting & dinner at The Chancery restaurant with Pure Chablis wines, hosted by the even more fabulous Douglas Blyde. (Find him on twitter – you will not regret it.)

Now this was my first ever event as a blogger. To say I was nervous is a total understatement. I had a quick stalk of the attendees list and lets just say, I was the novice of the group. I am normally pretty anxious before events even when I know people in attendance, so to turn up without one ally was pretty terrifying. But I had two options – to sit at home, talk to my dog and cook a standard dinner or go to an amazing event, talk to new, exciting, interesting people and eat amazing food whilst drinking exquisite wine..

So I bought a new pair of shoes and headed into town. 

I arrived early, sat in the Cafe Nero by the tube, gave myself a pep talk and then walked/wobbled in my new gorgeous-but-deadly Zara heels towards The Chancery. (A 3 minute walk from Chancery Lane tube for people in normal shoes, took me about 10).

As soon as I had hobbled down the stairs to the bar, I got chatting to a few of the other people who had also arrived slightly early and we were off. I met some truly great and talented people that evening, and it was such a brilliant event. 

We started a glass (with a few refills here and there) of the Petit Chablis Dauvissat 2012, my first taste of a Chablis wine with some apertis in the bar. 

The aperitifs – Truffle Arancini & Crab Beignet. Sublime. Had far more than is socially acceptable.

We then headed over to The Chancery‘s private dining room, just down from their main restaurant, for a dinner prepared by chef Graham Long, and to learn more about these Chablis wines.

The Chablis wine region is in northern France, around Bourgogne in the Yonne region between Paris and Beaune, a short hop from the Champagne region. But Chablis only produce still white wine, no bubbles. The wines are made from a single grape variety, Chardonnay which comes in different denominations – Petit Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. 

These are characterised by precisely defined production areas and specific production conditions – which is what we were lucky enough to be tasting that evening. 

Douglas talked us through each wine, and we were informed about what the geography and climate is like where the grapes are grown. The soil is Kimmeridge clay with outcrops of the same chalk layer that extends from Sancerre up to the White Cliffs of Dover. The Grand Crus, the best vineyards in the area, all lie in one small southwest facing slope located just north of the town of Chablis.

Below is a map of Chablis region – so when I am naming the wines we tasted, you can see where they are from. Genius.

Onto the food menu – oh wow. Such original, incredible ingredients, all designed to match the wines we would be tasting. 

With each course, you had two glasses of wine to taste. I have been wine tasting before in Argentina, and I love the whole performance of a tasting. The swilling, the smelling, the resting, the open mouth slurping to get the air in over the wine. Long gone are the days of drinking the cheapest bottle you could find at the campus supermarket and hello the more expensive days of enjoying different flavours and gaining a knowledge for what you like and what you don’t. 

Our glasses were named glass 1 and glass 2 so it would be easy to remember which wine you were tasting and which was being discussed. Really easy to grasp on the first two glasses, much harder to remember by the last few. 

Or just try them at the same time..

It was a very Rock & Roll evening

The first course was marinate raw hand dived scallops with cucumber jelly, avocado cream, sesame filo and shiso dressing. This was served with a 2012 Garnier & Fils, Grains Dores and a 2014 Louis Moreau. 

The best thing about an event filled with bloggers and food journalists, is they understand the struggle – when your food comes, you can’t eat it – oh no. You have to photograph it from every angle before you can even think about tasting your food. It is a humorous sight to see – food is placed down on tables, cameras go up.

But my word was the food photogenic. It basically screamed “Take my photo! Look at my presentation, my colour combinations, my composition and my different textures. You can spin the plate round as much as you like, whichever angle, it will always be my good side”.

No evening is complete without a miniature dinosaur – thanks to Matt

The second course was a Tartare of Trout with poached apple, nettle puree, macadamia nuts and trout eggs. This course was served with Chablis Premier Cru 2011 Jean Marc Borcard, Montee de Tonnerre and a 2012 Val de Mercy, Beauregards.

This was my favourite course – I am a tartare lover but never had a trout tartare before. The textures and flavours of this, especially with the wine number 1 (which I think was the 2011 Jean Marc Borcard) was sublime.

Onto the next course – roasted quail. But not just roasted quail – Roasted quail, cannelloini of the leg and foie gras with sweetcorn, hazelnuts, pickled mushrooms and wild garlic. I mean, this is just #foodporn now. 

With the quail, we were onto to Grand Cru wines. When this was announced, it was greeted to cheers and applause by members of the event. These were my favourite wines of the evening – the Chablis Grand Cru 2012 William Fevre, Les Clos and the 2013 Samuel Billaud, Les Preuses. (I like to think this was because my palate was very appreciative of the wines by this point, and not because the previous wines lulled me into a sense of loving all wines).

When these courses were over, we were introduced to the chef, Graham Long, who talked about the food. He definitely deserved the cheers and applause he received. The food utterly amazing. 

Then, even though everyone was suitably stuffed and merry, it was onto the cheese course from Neal’s Yard Dairy. No british meal is complete without cheese after all. This was served with the exquisite Mature Chablis 2003 Domaine Pinson, Chablis Premier Cru Forets.

After this, Douglas was showered with paparazzi treatment and then it was off home for me. What a fantastic first event to go to – a huge thank you to Douglas for inviting me and to The Chancery & Pure Chablis.

And you know what they always say, “Give Kimmeridge a young ozone and anything is possible”. 

Hope you have enjoyed the post – if you pop down to dine at The Chancery or get a bottle of Chablis wine (some are actually available in Waitrose and I have all the other stockiest if you want to know), let me know what you think – I would love to hear from you, 

Lots of Love 

Cocoa Chelsea xx