A couple of weeks ago, I was excited to attend our annual lunch at Le Gavroche, Michel Roux Jr's two Michelin star restaurant in Mayfair. Having become an avid fan of Masterchef recently, I was eager to see if Chef Michel himself would be in residence and I was not disappointed, finding him mid-photo shoot, as I arrived at this iconic French restaurant.
Yapp Brothers have been holding such an event for customers at Le Gavroche, once or twice a year for over twenty years. Today, we were expecting around 100 for a lunch specially devised for us by Michel and accompanied by carefully-matched Yapp wines to complete the gastronomic experience. And what an experience it was!
Our guests were greeted with a glass of Crémant de Limoux Brut from Philippe Collin, a Champenois who moved to Limoux in 1980. This excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend has become a staple of the Yapp portfolio, gaining much kudos with the press and featuring in the Independent's 'Top 50 Wines for Christmas' last year.
Suitably gee'd up by the fizz, the assembled crowd moved downstairs to the restaurant to enjoy a pre-starter of Ballotine de Volaille, Celeri Remoulade et Vinaigrette de Truffes with a 2008 white Côtes du Luberon from Château la Canorgue, famous as the setting for the film 'A Good Year' starring Russell Crowe. The wine was showing particularly well and the lemony flavours were ideally suited to the richness of this immaculately-presented dish.
Next up, Ragout de Langoustines et Pied de Cochon à la Graine de Moutarde. The sauce was so full of flavour and our white Crozes Hermitage 2008 from Olivier Dumaine lived up to it manfully. A new wine to the Yapp stable this year, it was recently recommended by Jancis Robinson as a wine with 'explosive fruit on the palate and very fresh and mouthfilling.' The main course of Roasted French Partridge with a Brandy Shallot Jus was served with a brace of reds - Domaine Paul Misset's sublime Nuits Saint George 2002 and a Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalan Carignan 2007, from Domaine Ferrer-Ribière's precious parcel of 130 year-old vines, that is brimming over with warm, autumnal fruits making it a current favourite with everyone at Yapp Brothers.
Jason Yapp had met with the Gavroche team the previous week to do some serious food and wine matching and this was not lost on the guests on my table who pronounced the dessert, Golden Pineapple and Warm Almond Cake with Rum and Raisin Ice Cream, to be the most heavenly match for a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2006 from Domaine de Durban. Indeed it was, with neither the wine nor the dish being outshone by the other but coming together to round off the meal to perfection.
After much witty repartee from Jason Yapp, a brief, insightful address from Michel Roux Jr, and the most divine menu with some superbly matched wines, our 100 or so guests couldn't fail to go away happy and nor, for that matter, could I.