Meeting with Philippe Mille, Chef of the restaurant Le Parc at Domaine Les Crayères in Reims
How did you discover the world of champagne?
“It was with Philippe Jamesse, the sommelier at Les Crayères, that I began to learn about Champagne. Some Champagnes harbour unique characteristics that require very particular pairings, but at Philipponnat, even if we have very specific cuvées, the range is wide enough to allow the chef a certain creativity. That’s important! For if the Champagne expressed itself for us, dictated our pairings, we would end up being frustrated, and if we ourselves dominate the champagne, the opposite will be true. There has to be a balance, a fair collaboration. ”
How do you create your food and wine pairings?
“Take the Blanc de Noirs for example. This is a wine I like very much, in that it allows a generous degree of freedom while possessing personality. As it is a cuvée of a certain finesse, it can be served with a langoustine, but if you want to echo the slightly roasted side of the champagne, grilling it on vine shoots is heartily recommended. Adding caviar to the dish works very well as a counterpoint to the smoky character of the wine. Finally, to accentuate the freshness and acidity of the wine, a few pieces of apple would season the whole beautifully. ”
Is there a particular vintage that inspires you at Philipponnat?
“The “1522” rosé is very inspiring. I think it goes perfectly with veal, but not a white veal that is too young or overly roasted, you don’t want to overpower the meat! It can be lightly caramelised with butter and combined with carrots with a dark tinge, such as purple carrots. The play of colours is key when creating food and wine pairings. ”