The Champagne Boutique

Stornoway black pudding, scallops, apples and girolles. Mmmm…

In Chefs, Marc & Andrew on August 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm

BlackpuddingEvery month I am travelling to beautiful Scotland and this month I brought back with me the finest products available. I went far up, further than Inverness, to Stornoway where MacLeod & MacLeod are producing what some are claiming to be the best Black Pudding of the British Isles. Not too much onion, nor too much barley…  perfect for a Frenchman. There, not far away, I met with a friend who’s passion is diving. At the local pub he explained to me the pleasure of catching scallops by the Atlantic shores and encouraged me to buy a few specimen of hand caught Scottish scallops. I have tasted them many times before but for once I was able to purchase them almost from the person who carefully selected them from the bottom of the sea. They were large and soft and of a pure white colour. I put the scallops in my igloo box in the boot of my car and drove back South to another appointment.

Reaching Edinburgh I meet up with another friend who is a chef. We talked about food of course and suggested not to drive through the M74 just yet but pass by Berwick-upon-Tweed on the East coast and pick up Scottish strawberries while there are some left. He gave me the address of a farm he buys them from and I was on my way. Before getting into my car, I could hear him shouting “Geerowls!!!!!”. What? And then shout again “Chant Raellll!” What?? I stopped and asked him to “Heart’Y Queue Late!” a bit. He told me to ask the farmer if he had any Girolles from the forest near his farm. Good Idea! I thanked him and I was on my way again. Actually that was quite a good idea as I would be able to stop over at my favourite hotel on this side of the world, which is the Marine Hotel in North Berwick. The chef is also a long time friend whom I use to work with at Le Manoir. On arrival I placed my igloo in his walk-in fridge and enjoyed my stay, had a great dinner and relaxing night and next morning I was ready for a long drive down to Bath.

Out of my own experience I avoided the A1 and made my way to the M6 ASAP. While driving and listening to Radio 2 (Ken Bruce) I was elaborating a recipe to combine all these fantastic ingredients from Scotland. As I am not a chef, this is not as easy as it seems. Then I realised that I couldn’t be more lucky as I still needed to find a recipe for the Brice Tradition. Remembering the tasting with Mathieu Germond, scallops would be ideal but I would need another food Item to match this champagne. And there, stuck on the motorway just a few miles away from the M6 Toll…a revelation. I asked myself: “What do you serve with Black Pudding Marc?” – “Apple Marc, always!” – “And what is the main flavour and taste of the Brice Tradition Marc?” – “APPLE!” My God, I couldn’t be luckier.

It was out of question to drive back to Scotland to pick up some local apples. Anyway we were a bit too early for picking. With the minerality of the champagne and the scallops an Oslin Pippin would have been ideal. This apple from the Abbey of Arbroath is very similar to the Granny Smith but a bit less tart (acidic). When I arrived home I visited my local market for the few missing ingredients. So I had them all for a fantastic recipe for a superb champagne, which is the Brice Tradition NV. If you are feeling like looking at how easy it is to create the dish, just click  here.

Enjoy it!



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