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concentrated ingredients. Small quantities of salt are naturally present
in most foods, but water dilutes its taste. By removing some of the
water, you dial up the taste of salinity. Ingredients are frozen, the
water extracted and what's left is a concentrated taste.
Dishes at the 7 Salt Bar include a oating island (meringue) on a
semi-gelled celery extract, chicken skin with cultivated mushroom
extract, and dim sum with mushroom and pork extract. The dishes
didn't taste 'salty' by any means, but the natural presence of salt
was surprising. And so was its eect
on the Champagne, which seemed
to gain a new dimension.
After walking along a dark corridor
adorned with piles of salt from all
over the world - myriad colours
and textures re ected in an endless
mirror - we nally enter the Orangery.
Alléno is busy at an open kitchen
set in the middle of the room,
green bottles hang from the ceiling
and the vintages for our dinner are projected on the wall in Moët's
chalkboard-style writing. There's a urry of social media-snapping as
Federer dons an apron to 'help' Alléno plate up one of the dishes.
Set and match
Then it's eyes down for the next 'zone' - the Cookooning Cellar oers
sit-down dishes paired with Moët's 1985 and the newly released
Grand Vintage 2006, which has been sleeping for almost eight years
in a 28km labyrinth of cellars beneath the town of Epernay. The 1985
displays all the hallmarks of an older sibling to the '06. It has more of
those biscuity, bready characters you expect with older Champagnes,
but it still packs a fruity punch. The '06 is the other way around,
with the fruit at the fore of a delicious biscuity background.
Pike terrine brioche with Paris mushroom extract and butter
with lobster coral make a hearty accompaniment to the 1985,
while potato and onion preserve with roasted lamb, cooked in a
'cocoon' (a porcelain dish designed to 'release the true nature of
the product' within) is a bold match for a fresh, fruity 2006.
Next, we're plunged into darkness at one end of the main
Orangery, where three shot glasses sit under a spotlight.
Clearly no-one ever told Alléno
not to play with his food - the rst
glass contains an ingredient that
underwent the extraction process
once, the second, twice and the third,
darker, liquid was a triple extraction.
The idea is to demonstrate how
intense a taste becomes when it
is concentrated. And the taste? A
powerful punch of parsnip, served
alongside Grand Vintage 1999.
As we emerge from the dark room, darkness has fallen outside and
in the open kitchen dishes have been replaced with a DJ. The nal
'zone' is the Delice Club and revellers take breaks to nibble on sweet
morsels such as pear pod chocolate, strawberry soup and a beer pie.
This time, Moët Brut Impérial is poured from gold magnums.
The whole point of Gouez and Alléno's culinary adventure is
to highlight that great Champagne is a great wine to enjoy with
food - with extra special emphasis on 'enjoy'.
LE � at The Orangery runs until 9 July. For more information or to try
making some of Alléno's dishes yourself, visit moet.com. Meanwhile
turn to p.174 for our exclusive interview with Roger Federer.
WE'RE PLUNGED INTO DARKNESS
AT ONE END OF THE ORANGERY,
WHERE THREE SHOT GLASSES
SIT UNDER A SPOTLIGHT
Clockwise from left:
a savoury oating
island; chef Yannick
Alléno (left) with
Roger Federer; pike
in the Orangery
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