A Savoie Lunch for London Branch
Alan and Stephanie Shepherd have been regular visitors to the Savoie region of France for some years, and have hosted Savoie food and wine events for IWFS on a number of occasions. This time it was a lunch for the London Branch, at their home in Camberley.
Whilst previous events have tended to favour traditional Savoie recipes, this time they looked to what some of the younger Savoie chefs are doing, inspired in part by their visit to Jean Sulpice at Val Thorens, reported elsewhere in this issue.
The aperitif was a Brut de Savoie, from Les Rocailles, a vineyard near the village of Les Marches. This is a blend of local grapes and Chardonnay, and was thought by many of those present to stand up well against Cremants from better known regions such as Bourgogne and Alsace.
The starter featured towers of haddock and crushed potato, served with whipped cream and chives, and a spinach and tarragon coulis. It was accompanied by two white wines – an Apremont Prestige from Les Rocailles, and a Cuvee Shiste from the Coteau de Cevins, Domaine des Ardoisieres. Apremont is a well known local wine from the Jacquere grape, but this one is somewhat unusual It comes from Vielle Vignes, and is somewhat more refined and without the slight ‘petillance’ associated with most Apremont. The other is very much a boutique wine; a blend of Jacquere with Roussanne and Pinot Gris, and much admired by local chefs such as Sulpice.
The main course was a Sulpice recipe – rack of lamb, baked in a sage bread crust, served with a herb jus, carrots and green beans. This was accompanied by a Mondeuse Arbin from the Cave de Cruet, and Cuvee Amethyst from the Coteau de Cevins, Domaine des Ardoisieres. The latter is a blend of Mondeuse and Persan, a grape found more often in the Northern Rhone, which is not that far away. The former is an up-market commercial wine, the Amethyst again a biodynamic locally-admired boutique.
For dessert, Stephanie prepared caramelised pears, served with a coffee egg custard, hazelnut crisp, coffee ice cream and whipped amaretto cream – another Sulpice recipe. This was accompanied by a ‘vendange tardive’ Roussette from the local Altesse grape – ‘Seduction d’Automne’, Les Rocailles, which went down very well with the pears although it is not nearly as thick and sweet as most dessert wines.
The event was a great success socially, and conversation continued late into the afternoon.