WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

01 August 2007

Roussillon Dessert Trophy 2007

This year's sweet-toothed event starts in August, run by the Wines of Roussillon generic body (CIVR) in association with the Academy of Food & Wine. It's a restaurant competition looking for "the most talented pastry chef/sommelier team in Britain," by inviting them to submit a winning combination of a Roussillon Vin Doux Naturel (VDN) sweet wine (white, 'amber' or red) with their dessert fantasy. Eric Aracil, CIVR Export Manager, commented: “The CIVR is proud to support an initiative which recognises excellence in the UK on-trade. The 2007 Roussillon Dessert Trophy puts the limelight on pastry chefs and sommeliers and encourages them to go further in developing their knowledge and expressing their creativity."
Those entering are asked to choose dessert wines off their list from these VDN appellations: Banyuls, Banyuls Grand Cru, Maury, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes. The Roussillon region, or French Catalonia, produces most of France’s VDN wines (see "more wine words" for several articles).
How to enter the Roussillon Dessert Trophy 2007: forms are available from Sophie Brown at the Academy of Food & Wine on 0208 661 4646 or info@acfws.org. Deadline Friday 31st August. If you don't already list Roussillon dessert wines, samples are available from Georgie Hope or Natalie Jeune at Focus PR on 020 7432 9432 or civr-focuspr@focuspr.co.uk.
The final: the trophy will be presented at the Arts Club, Dover Street, London on 1st October 2007. The prizes: the winning chef gets a 4-day course with world champion pastry chef, Olivier Bajard, at the École Internationale de Patîsserie in Perpignan; the winning sommelier spends four days on a guided tour of top Roussillon wine producers. Jury members include Nigel Sutcliffe, restaurant consultant and former director of the Fat Duck, Sarah Jane Evans MW, writer and broadcaster, and Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive of Academy of Culinary Arts.
Last year’s winning team was sommelier Anke Carmen Hartmann and chef Rebecca Kinsella from Chewton Glen, who paired poached black plums and anise chiboust (what?) mille-feuille with Domaine du Mas Blanc's Banyuls Rimage 2003. Carmen Hartmann enthused: “We enjoyed the challenge of combining flavours with textures and found that, for outstanding results, the dessert needed to be created after the wine was chosen rather than the other way round.”

Update 20/09/07: Dessert Trophy finalists announced
And they are (drum roll...):
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, London
Chocolate Gianduja parfait with roasted pear and pecan, Banyuls syrup with pear and cardamom foam.
Wine: 1996 Banyuls Grand Cru, Cuvée André Magnères, Domaine Vial Magnères.
Chef: Hideko Kawa, sommelier: Naoko Tomita.
Hotel du Vin, Winchester
Dark chocolate mille-feuille, poached cherries, coffee tuiles.
Wine: 2005 Banyuls Quintessence, La Coume del Mas.
Sous chef: Adam Fargin, chef sommelier: Yohann Jousselin.
Roussillon Restaurant, London (I should hope so too!)
Honey mousse with glazed dates, pear rösti and Chinese lemon sorbet.
Wine: 1988 Rivesaltes ambré, Domaine Piquemal.
Pastry chef: Heinrich Greve, chef sommelier: Roberto Della Pietra.
Galvin at Windows, Hilton Park Lane, London
Palet d’or of chocolate with spiced ice cream, spiced crunch tuile, roast fig in Mas Amiel 15 YO and fig purée.
Wine: Maury Prestige 15 Year Old, Mas Amiel.
Pastry chef: Peter Bras, sommelier: Charles Segond.
Call back in October to find out which of these yum-inducing creations is the winner... 

Update 7/10/07: Dramatic drum roll... it's the first one i.e. chocolate Gianduja (what?) parfait with Domaine Vial Magnères' 96 Banyuls Grand Cru, by Hideko Kawa and Naoko Tomita chez Gordon Ramsay.