The big reveal of the collaboration between Dom Pérignon and Ferran Adrià, Spanish chef extraordinaire, took place in Barcelona. Although it was a seated meal, the message to press was clear: “This is not a dinner”.
Dom Pérignon’s Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy has known Ferran for 20 years, and he was the natural choice when the bubbles master decided to bring someone in to assist with decoding the brand in order to innovate each vintage.
Considered one of the best chefs in the world Ferran ran the famous elBulli restaurant in Spain for 10 years. The restaurant was a foodie phenomenon: only open for six months of the year, it received two million requests a year for bookings. After closing the restaurant in 2011, he launched the elBulliLab in Barcelona where he feeds his passion for gastronomy.
From the moment we stepped into the industrial space where the event was held, the focus was on the experience and the taste sensation. Each guest was led to a podium on which stood the hero of the night – the Dom Pérignon 2005 vintage. White dividers were slowly released from the ceiling enveloping each person in their own pod for a solo tasting. It was the most intimate expression of champagne.
Ferran – known for his ‘snacks’, over 400 signature bites that he created between 1994 and 2011 – served 29 of them to complement the four facets of the wine: minerality, intensity, seamlessness and harmony.
‘Instead of the champagne being the accompaniment to the food, we wanted to create an experimental experience where Dom Pérignon was the centerpiece or the sun and the snacks the satellites or continuum around it,’ explains Ferran.
The Minerality Act included elements such as delicate mango leaf, melt-in-the-mouth mimetic peanuts, yoghurt pistachulines and beetroot and yoghurt meringue. Guests were seated at tables of 10, which were closely placed but subtly separated through dividers and lighting, encouraging the diners to concentrate fully on each taste experience.
Then the dividing wall lifted to expose guests at the adjacent table for the Intensity Act. Now we experienced the lingering tastes of a sublime tomato and olive oil air bag, Parmesan ice cream and a raspberry fondant topped with wasabi, among others. For the final two acts – Seamlessness and Harmony – the curved wall dividing the space lifted, for the coming together of all 40 guests. The intricate snacks included black sesame and miso sponge cake, oyster with walnuts, raw prawn, seaweed with a spherical emulsion of Dom Pérignon 2005 and fried rabbit ears. While the raw prawn didn’t go down too well, the fried rabbit ears got rave reviews.
We look forward to the release of the next vintage – we cannot even begin to imagine what these two creative masters will come up with! Watch the video here.