On a Wednesday night when I had no particularly inspiring plans a rather exciting invitation came through twitter. Would I like to attend a food and cognac pairing at a pub on Exmouth Market, somewhere I have long read about and never visited let alone looked up on a map?
So at 7.30 I joined around 20 other young things from the press and blogging world in the upstairs room of the Exmouth Arms (part of the Bar Works group). The lovely Rebecca – Courvoisier Brand Ambassador – handed me a large glass of punch barely before I had my coat off and the combination of cognac, apple juice, apricot brandy, mint and more was beautifully refreshing on a sultry evening.
By 8pm we were sat around two long tables as head chef Paul explained the experiments he has been conducting with cognac and food, communicating the inspiration behind what was to come.
Starter: VSOP Exclusive with Squab, foie gras and pea shoots
The oily texture, tobacco and spice flavours were tempered by the strong game flavours and the fresh young pea shoots lightened the dish
Main: VSOP 12 Year Old with Grilled lobster and spring vegetables
(NB Courvoisier are the first company to introduce age statements to their cognacs, does the average consumer know what VSOP means, or XO…?)
The lobster was not overly salted since there was samphire on the plate and the seasoning was overall to be kept very simple to highlight the quality of all the flavours. This was definitely the favourite of the night in terms of the drink. The lobster tail meat was lovely but I still do not get the fuss, scallop was lovely, with the beard left on too!
Dessert: XO with Chocolate and Hazelnut cake
The intense nuttiness of the cognac is reflected in the pudding and the smooth ice cream softens the spice and allows the palate to linger longer
Then we finished with a sneaky taste of the 21 Year Old Courvoisier which was presented by itself to express its power, flavour, body and length…it was good that is for sure. However I have been lucky enough in my time to try Louis XIII and Hennessey Paradis and so if you are going to make a special cuvee then make a SPECIAL cuvee.
(Many thanks to @ginmonkeyuk for the invitation)