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December 13, 2017

From Forest To Fork With Krug Champagne

By Chris Boyle

Michelin star chefs join forces with Krug Champagne for the third edition of its single ingredient book series. Krug x Mushroom From Forest to Fork, challenges the perception that Champagne is merely an aperitif or celebration wine, and displays how 18 Michelin star chefs paired creative mushroom dishes with the prestigious Champagne House’s Grand Cuvée in their own unique way.

To mark the occasion, Krug visited Birmingham’s Lickey Hills with expert forager James Wood, and Glynn Purnell; chef, restaurateur, and one of the Krug Ambassador Chefs featured in the book. The insight into mushroom foraging was followed by a six-course pairing menu at Purnell’s eponymous restaurant in Birmingham city, where each dish was inspired by, or containing, the protean mushroom.

Krug’s philosophy is to produce the best possible Champagne every year, whereby the Grand Cuvée blend takes priority over the vintage, a rarity in Champagne, but one which results in a rich and complex wine. Krug Cellar Master Eric Lebel draws on its abundant library of 250 wines from the year, 150 reserve wines across approximately 14 different years, and 4,000 tasting notes to create a multilayered, elegant, and powerful wine. From Forest to Fork showcases the art of pairing a single ingredient, in its many expressions, with Krug Grand Cuvée. The first publication of the series featured potato, followed by egg.

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Purnell’s dish featured in the book is inherently British, incorporating Marmite and Montgomery cheddar as its key ingredients. The Montgomery cheddar reflects parmesan cheese that was used as a pairing when Krug first visited Purnell’s restaurant. The umami flavor of the cheddar complements the Champagne’s toasted buttery brioche notes, while the Marmite provides a secondary British component. “I wanted that romantic British feel to it, and to show that a humble thing like Marmite can bring out different flavors of such exclusive Champagne,” said Purnell.

Since developments in Birmingham during the early noughties, the city’s gastronomic dining scene has been on a steady incline. “It’s really gained pace and become a great city to visit for tourism and to eat,” commented Purnell. And this has only increased since Purnell achieved the first Michelin star for the city when he worked at his previous restaurant, Jessica’s, before opening his own. Much in the same way, Champagne is beginning to break out from its mold as purely an aperitif, a concept many other producers are also fighting for. Krug is arguably even more susceptible to food matches, even with different courses, since it openly addressed that the annual Grand Cuvée would be slightly different each year in taste, unlike other non-vintage Champagne.

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“Krug’s unique art of understanding each plot as a single ingredient made us curious to discover what culinary creations a single ingredient might inspire in our Krug Ambassador Chefs,” said Lebel.

From Forest to Fork explores how 18 of the world’s finest chefs express themselves through one sole ingredient – the humble mushroom – to pair their own imaginative dish with the prestigious Krug Grand Cuvée. An introduction by Olivier Krug preludes comments from the likes of Christian Le Squer, Cassidee Dabney, and Umberto Bombana, and excerpts from authors Tara Stevens, Robyn Eckhardt, Joe Warwick, Jay Cheshes and Alexandra Michot.

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