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The Great Dessert Pairing Challenge!

Food

Check out the genius that was created when Rémy Martin challenged the UK's top pastry chefs and sommeliers to create the ultimate cognac dessert pairing...

Pairing a dessert to a drink is a tricky old game. Custard tart and sherry, ice cream and a porn start martini, aged Toblerone and vodka – these are just some of the disasters The Book of Man has struggled to swallow in its short but ugly career at the dinner table. Best leave it to the experts. Or, even better: get the experts to really show how it’s done with a competition! This is exactly what Rémy Martin did, in a far more refined way of course. They challenged the UK’s top pastry chefs and sommeliers to join forces at their restaurants to create the ultimate dessert to be paired with Rémy Martin XO. Called the #RemySprint (Rémy Sommelier Pâtissier Rooted In Talent) competition it was all about celebrating the incredible creative talents of these people – and getting some explosively tasty innovations while they were at it.

The final took place in the summer, with 12 duos competing, and the results being judged by a panel headed up by two Michelin star chef Claude Bosi.

In the end five winners were selected and The Book of Man was lucky enough to attend a tasting of these winning dessert and XO combos and well, let’s just say it was like getting a kiss on the mouth from Almighty God.

Here are the winning dishes, with comments from the pastry chefs:

 

dessert pairing

Scott Goss & James Harrison at Verdigris

Based in Kent, this duo named their dessert Walk through the Kentish Countryside. A delicious offering was split in two parts: elderflower, wood sorrel and tabory sorbet was served with wild strawberry consume (inside a round transparent glass). The second was a white chocolate and pea truffle with tempura elderflower designed to be enjoyed with Rémy Martin XO neat. Scott said, We wanted to showcase the drink throughout the seasons with seasonal fruit so it’s relevant throughout the year, so it will work for autumn fruit like plums too.”

Sarah Riddle & Marie Launey at Sketch 

This enthusiastic pair created a work of art literally. Their dessert was named Operatic and was presented on a photo frame with a picture of the vineyard. A delicious dacquoise sponge from hazelnuts filled with caramel sauce is topped with three layers: a parmesan tuile with citrus and ginger paste, a chocolate tuile ganache with fig jam and a delicate opaline sugar tuile with hazelnut diplomatico. Sarah said, We’re bringing everything back to basics the land is agriculture the vines (the tuile) is what’s discarded. The dessert is like an opera symphony with different layers and will never be the same, even if enjoyed multiple times.”

Enzo Housseau & Hugo Danjou at Mere 

Merging their restaurant name and the surname of the Cognac, Mere aptly dubbed their creation as the Mere Martin, a delicious layered combination of gianduja feuilletine, hazelnut dacquoise, confit grapefruit and caramelised grapefruit mousse, topped with earl grey ice cream. This winning concoction was inspired by the terroir which is of huge importance to Rémy Martin: We wanted to bring the terroir and cognac onto the plate.  The dessert is essentially a map of the heart of the Cognac Region: the outer circle of grapefruit and hazelnut and the astina crisp indicates Petite Champagne and the middle is Grande Champagne. The dessert is layered to represent the terroir and the meticulous chalky soil and consists of gianduja feuilletine, hazelnut dacquoise, confit grapefruit and caramelised grapefruit mousse. Topped with earl grey ice cream.” 

Aurel Istrate & Romina Vasquez at The Connaught

 

The duo created a delicious dessert made of three parts: a dark chocolate ganache, malt mousse, and coffee ice cream, with sour cherry gel infused with Rémy Martin XO, fresh cherries in vanilla syrup, and pecan cocoa nibs crumble. They said of their inspiration: Our natural instinct was to use chocolate; the cherry which is seasonal at the moment we found complimented the bitter and sweetness of XO perfectly and the addition of malt was inspired by a whisky visit.

Solene Bonhumeau & Loic Pellegry at The Five Fields

Created a chocolate, hazelnut and coffee dessert. We wanted to create a gastronomic experience of drinking cognac with the classic pairings of coffee and chocolate which is traditionally paired with XO – this is our take on that.”

 

All the desserts are available at their respective restaurants until Christmas.

Follow @RemyMartinUK

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