Lovely bubbly! Alderley Edge Hotel/Cheshire Life Champagne Oscars dinner
PUBLISHED: 12:02 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 20 February 2013
The house of Perrier-Jouet was the deserved toast at the prestigious Alderley Edge Hotel/Cheshire Life Champagne Oscars dinner
If they didn't quite invent champagne in Alderley Edge, the locals would probably have got round to it one day, for they certainly know a good thing when they see it. Lovely bubbly!
You might even say the iconic 'Golden Triangle' Cheshire village puts the whizz into fizz. We Brits polish off 40 million bottles of champagne every year - that's more than twice as many than the Americans manage - and natives of Alderley Edge have the reputation of bibbing, with the greatest respect, more than their fair share.
The revelation by a national wine merchant that more champagne was sold through its Alderley Edge branch than in either Mayfair or Chelsea prompted Cheshire's own celebration of the beloved bubbly. It came hot on the heels of carping comments about Cheshire by restaurant critic A A Gill and his columnist pal, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
Those sales figures - coupled with a light-hearted riposte to their notorious remarks - led Ahmet Kurcer, general manager of the Alderley Edge Hotel, and Patrick O'Neill, former editor of Cheshire Life, to give the 'Champagne Oscars'.
And, as the coveted silver and gilt trophy, handcrafted by Warris & Company of Sheffield, silversmiths entrusted to care for the FA Cup, was presented for the eigth time at the Oscars' celebration dinner, compere
John Stalker said: 'We've got our own back on them time after time.'
The writer, broadcaster and former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, one of the judging panel that named the house of
Perrier-Jouet as the latest winner, added: 'The event is now recognised as one of the most prestigious Champagne awards of them all.'
The Alderley Edge Hotel is well qualified to host what's become one of the gourmet highlights of Cheshire's social calendar. For the luxury country house - named Best Small Hotel in the Visit Chester and Cheshire Annual Awards 2007 - is familiar territory to champagne's leading lights, listing more than 150 different champagnes and staging several prestigious champagne dinners each year.
Ken Wilkins, Perrier-Jouet's UK ambassador, was presented with the trophy - which has taken pride of place on display at Perrier-Jouet's London office - by Mr Kurcer and Louise Taylor, editor of Cheshire Life, at the start of a wonderful evening. The magnificent five-course dinner was specially devised by the Alderley Edge's executive chef Chris Holland and prepared by a brigade at the very top of its game.
After canapes accompanied by Perrier-Jouet's Grand Brut NV, their flagship wine denoting the house's elegant style, dinner began with textures of foie gras, caramelised apple and quince puree and crushed Amaretti biscuits followed by baked black bream, Jerusalem artichoke espuma, scallop Carpaccio and lobster caviar.
The latter dish was accompanied by Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 1999, poured from one of the world's most recognisable bottles; favourite Hollywood stars and derived from Emile Galle's intricately enamelled Art Nouveau anemone design.
Delicious roasted saddle of lamb and casserole of braised shoulder with truffled mash potato was partnered by Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Pinot Noir, offering silky strawberry and raspberry fruit - testament to the high quality of red wines now emerging from New Zealand's Marlborough region.
Dessert comprised a wonderfully artistic arrangement of canelloni of champagne and marscapone, vanilla roasted griottines and pannettone crumble together with Perrier-Jouet's piece-de-resistance, the marque's superb Belle Epoque Rose 2002.
According to Ken Wilkins the delightful pink champagne, displaying the delicate flavour of Alpine strawberries, outsold Belle Epoque Brut at Ascot last year and is a firm favourite, despite a very high price, of diners at Heston Blumenthal's eulogised Fat Duck.