Club Gascon is a firm favourite with vialaporte, so when chef Pascal Aussignac teamed-up with Martell cognac to create a menu to celebrate their 300th anniversary, we were delighted to share in the experience.
The brief: to bring art, food and drink together in an intimate celebration of French arte de vivre. The result: a stunning menu, supported by outstanding cognac-based cocktails and wines from the Pernot Ricard family.
Clotilde Lataille, mixologist by way of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, opened festivities with two excellent aperitifs. Five o’clock in Charentes, a French take on a summer cup, mixed cognac, ruby red tea, Szechuan syrup, blackberries, lemon and some Perrier Jouët to refreshing effect. A more masculine Can Can 500 combined conac, byrrh (a German vermouth) and an IPA syrup in a robust alternative.
On to the food and a delicate bone marrow and cognac mousse was served, covered with a layer of slightly salty dulse seaweed. Decorative caviar added a buttery burst.
A foie gras lovers dream was next. A cappuccino-style liver cream, flavoured with cognac, dotted with pan fried chunks of foie gras created a rich entrée, balanced with a light, honeyish glass of Perrier Jouët Grand Brut.
Tender mussels, adorned with tapioca sitting in a light, pine smoked sabayon were served for a fish course. Alongside, were sweet roasted leeks and a luxurious poached lobster tail. Another fish course followed, marrying meaty, griddled tooth-fish, with a sweet, pumpkin and cognac purée and a balancing truffle vinaigrette. Toasted seeds and a crisp leaf of bok choy gave some crunch. An extremely well balanced and tasty dish.
Lavish Roquefort and butter filled macaroons and a cognac gel were a firm favourite with the table, followed by Aussignac’s Gascon Mess; a beautiful way to finish the meal. Cognac soaked prunes, orange zest and red berries were covered in a cognac whipped cream and shards of meringue to provide a fitting finale.
Of course, no meal to celebrate Martell’s anniversary could be complete without a glass of their Cordon Bleu or XO blends. Both elegant degestifs with warm, spicy flavours, these cognacs were perfect accompaniments to some inventive cooking, both in and alongside the food. Well done to the Club Gascon team for creating an exceptional memory for this unique event.