If you look closely at the above image you might notice some luxury, convenience food, "Royal style". Could the King be tucking into a large tub of Cornish vanilla ice cream and the Queen about to enjoy a plate of Jaffa cakes? It certainly looks possible!
Of course, with our current King, I expect the ice cream would have to use organic milk from grass-fed cows, hand-churned to make real "Clotted Cream". Naturally, only real Madagascan vanilla pods and absolutely no artificial flavourings or chemical stabilisers. Keeping it "green" and sustainable.
Did you know that there's a connection between McVitie's and royalty? In 1947 McVitie & Price made the wedding cake for Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Amazingly, Jaffa cakes had already been around for 20 years at this time, so possibly a family favourite?
A nice glass of chilled Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes would work beautifully as an accompaniment to both. The greatest sweet wine in the world.
Described by The Wine Advocate as having:
"Electric notes of ripe pineapples, green mango, orange blossoms and lemon tart with hints of fungi, lime zest, crushed rocks and jasmine. The freshness on the palate is just astonishing, permeating and lifting layer upon layer of tropical fruits and earthy notions, all encased in a sumptuous texture and culminating in a very, very long, mineral-tinged finish."
The 2015 vintage scores a perfect 100/100 and is truly a bottle fit for a King, or Queen. If I had a spare £250 for a half-bottle, I'd be joining in this one-of-a-kind feast.
I do like a Jaffa cake, but cannot abide the "shrinkflation" in the pack size. Ten in a box? That's just a snack. Ridiculous. Luckily, it's not allowed to change wine bottle sizes away from the standard 75cl, 50cl and 37.5cl just to keep the price down. I can remember, way back, when it was possible to get wine in a 70cl size (cheap plonk), 72cl & 73cl for half-decent generic, regional branded bottles and 75cl for the chateau-bottled good stuff.
Nowadays, probably with a bit of climate change influence, even England has a handful of producers making dessert wines. There's Balfour's "Hush Heath Estate" Late Harvest Chardonnay (grapes affected by Botrytis "Noble Rot" as in Sauternes), the inexpensive Chapel Down Nectar (Ortega grapes) and two wines from Denbies; firstly, the excellent Noble Harvest (botrytis affected Ortega) with apricot and peach flavours and a citrus fusion of grapefruit & orange and, secondly, their single vineyard, gold medal winning 2016 "The Brokes" version which is, sadly, sold out from the producer. When available, it was about a quarter of the price of d'Yquem, so if you happen to find one, I'll make you an offer for it. Don't expect any outrageous price as I'm not royalty, myself. Just a poor wine enthusiast!
If you're used to drinking the finest of fine wines on a daily basis what will you expect if an invitation arrives for a glamorous dinner in France with the President?
On any special occasion there's really no aperitif other than Champagne, so why not one of the best? Pol Roger, a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill, developed a luxury cuvée in his honour and the 2013 was served from magnums at the recent meeting of King Charles and President Macron in Versailles, France. This is starting well, so bring on the first course of the banquet.
As you might expect, this occasion was one for the "red carpet" and the food had to be of an extraordinary standard, so Michelin starred chefs were called upon to put together the menu.
To whet your appetite, a seafood dish (created by Anne-Sophie Pic) consisting of blue lobster and brown crab, a creamy crab cake and a lobster salpicon, was served with a fresh almond voile and costmary mint. Top up your Champagne glass for this one.
The main course of Bresse chicken with a gratin of cepes and romaine stuffed with corn and truffle was inspired by another 3 Michelin star chef, Yannick Alléno. This dish is an ideal match with Chardonnay, but not just any old Chardonnay!
The wine of choice was the £500 per bottle 2018 Olivier Leflaive's Grand Cru Batard Montrachet. This was also served from magnum, so double the price to get one if you can.
"The nose has notes of lemon, but also of butter and vanilla. The palate has tense acidity. The wine is fat with maturity and fills the mouth with flavour."
An approximate quote from Olivier Leflaive describing his wonderful wine, hand-crafted from one of the most exclusive vineyards in the whole of Burgundy.
Unfortunately, we can't offer this one, but a magnificent alternative, the Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru from Louis Jadot will work brilliantly with the chicken, but, if you've already finished your Champagne, you can also try some with the lobster. At a paltry (ha!) price of £399 the poultry will thank you for spending your money wisely with Frazier's.
"Wine Enthusiast" give this white Burgundy a superb rating of 97/100 points.
"This is a beautiful wine with elegant fruits that reflect a strong sense of minerality. It is crisp, although that is just a surface quality to a wine that has such depth. Toast flavours round out the intense fruits, giving a light spice and butter to this powerful wine. Drink from 2020."
Now, I'm sure that at a dinner such as this, bottles of red and white were probably not put on the table for the guests to help themselves. Waiters would pour the initial glass and then top up as needed. I doubt your glass would ever get empty as the eagle-eyed waiting staff are constantly scanning the room to check on wine levels. Keep the wine flowing and you have happy guests.
If anyone was brave enough to ask for a red wine with their Bresse chicken, it's possible that protocol wasn't broken, but "Madame Guillotine" might be waiting in the courtyard outside the palace. Risky!
The Pauillac sub-region of Bordeaux is awash with "Classed Growth" chateaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classé is most definitely at the peak of the quality ladder when it comes to French red wine and I'd be happy to drink some with the cheese selection.
Both 30 month aged "Comté" (made from unpasteurised French cow's milk) with all those delicious, crunchy crystals and the unique, raw milk, English "Stichelton" blue cheese (made by Joe Schneider on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire) were offered to the 150 guests.
The 2004 vintage Mouton Rothschild was poured here. The bottle's "artist" label was designed by, the then, Prince Charles, and the water-colour painting used was signed by him. The banquet's wine was served from an ultra rare, double magnum format bottle. I've seen one advertised for around £2100. So, you get 24 glasses from this size bottle, and there are 150 guests needing at least 2 glasses of wine each (dare not run out). A budget of £25,000 should cover it. Are they charging restaurant prices here? If so, lets call it 75k.
A blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc & 3% Petit Verdot, the chateau describes the 2004 vintage, thus:
"The wine has a strong, dark and deep colour, while the nose displays subtle complexity on fruity notes of black cherry, candied quince and liquorice with touches of cold smoke, revealing very well-integrated oak. The attack is rich and full, with precise, refined tannins that elegantly enfold mocha flavours and toasted notes, leading into a close-knit and flavourful finish with attractive, very fresh length. A distinctive and stylish wine."
Frazier's can offer the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 vintages of this sumptuous Bordeaux at around £700/£800 a bottle each. Bargain. I'll have a case. Dinner party this weekend, so I need to impress.
Finally, the dessert has arrived to refresh the palate.
"World's Best Pastry Chef" Frenchman, Pierre Hermé, was in charge of this course, which was requested by Brigitte Macron. Consisting of a compote of raspberries, lychee rose sorbet, raspberry sorbet, on a macaron.
If you need wine with this, personally, I'd go for a perfectly chilled, rosé Champagne highlighting all those lovely, juicy raspberries. Of course, there really should have been an English option here. The Nyetimber rosé is a winner. But this is a royal banquet, so it's got to be the 2010 vintage Nyetimber "1086" Rosé.
Standards, dear boy! Standards.