The Champagne Boutique

Shooting season

In Champagnes, Marc & Andrew on December 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Ready for the shoot...

As we are right in the middle of the shooting season we couldn’t miss a great opportunity to tell you how fantastic Champagne is with games. So, poor me, I had to travel to France for a shooting weekend in the slopes surrounding our family country house in Thiembrone, a tiny village situated in the “Boulonnais” just half way between Boulogne sur Mer and St Omer.

Like in Britain, shooting in France has been for centuries a sport for the nobility only. We all know what happened in 1789 but more unknown is the fact that one of the very first rights given to the people was the “droit de chasse” or the right to hunt. Today for the one not devoted enough to go to church every week, there are two activities on offer on a Sunday morning: the Café (or Bistro) or La Chasse so we opted for the great escapes of the countryside. First cartridges can only be fired from 10am and the bells of the church are what give a perfect indication. And there you go with your guns and dogs. Most importantly is not what you shoot but the champagne you need to match.

Number one game of choice, and most abundant, are pheasants. For this game you will try not to roast it as it dries very quickly but maybe a light braising with wild mushrooms and creamed at the last minute. For this I would suggest a Blanc de Noir. This champagne made of 100% pinot noir and with a clear gold colour develops a lot of character. If you are shooting pheasant in large quantity I would suggest Francois Diligent Brut NV but if you would like to treat yourself I suggest you go for the Henri Giraud Code Noir Brut NV. If you choose the latest you can spice up your dish with a bit of grated Truffle.

Second game of choice are partridges. The best of them are Red Legs. For these, very simple with a salad, just the breast roasted for no more than 10 minutes and with raspberry vinaigrette. The choice of champagne will have to be rose. Try the Bruno Paillard 1ere Cuvee Rose which has this little extra spiciness that would complement the dish perfectly. For a treat it has to be Gosset Cuvee Celebris Rose 2003.

Last game of choice in abundance in northern France are woodcocks. This highly prized game is a delight for cooking. One thing to know is that you can roast them whole without emptying them as they are very frightened when shot (I won’t go more in details on this). The best way is to treat it as a grouse, served on a toast with redcurrant jelly, bread sauce and winter vegetables. There is only one champagne for this exclusive dish; it is the famous Larmandier-Bernier Rose de Saignee NV, this match is made in heaven.

So you see there are many options to enjoy champagne during the shooting season and we would like you to give it a try. If you just want to try at a more accessible manner why don’t you treat your guests with a Venison Carpaccio and Francois Diligent Brut Rose NV? It is delightful. Hoping that you will consider our suggestions I whish you a….Bon Appetite as well as a great shooting season!



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