Some of my favorites from Paris: Verjus
I’ve been wanting to write a post on the food and wine highlights of my summer in Paris but weddings and travels kept me super busy during the last couple of weeks. But I’m finally back in Abu Dhabi and I’m finally getting around to it 🙂 I will write about my favorites throughout the next few posts. This series of posts will be mostly about the foods that I ate at my favorite restaurants in Paris (not all of them may feature a wine pairing, though most do). The first restaurant I want to write about is Verjus in the 1st arrondissement, which is run by an American couple. You can either visit the restaurant or the wine bar downstairs. It is a very popular restaurant that attracts an expat clientele. The food is fresh, inventive, and modern. On the day that we ate there, we opted for the wine pairing to accompany the set menu. The first thing that we tasted was the semolina cracker with eggplant purée confit, mint, and caramelized eggplant. This was the amuse-bouche and there wasn’t a wine pairing served with it.
We then moved on to the first appetizer: Citrus cured pink trout with pistachio butter, heirloom beets, greens, sorrel oil and crème fraiche. This dish was served with “Romo” made by 2012 Domaine des Huards, Cour-Cheverny. This wine has amazing minerality – it is quite refreshing and you can really sense the wet stone aroma. This wine has the perfect amount of freshness to go with the rich trout!
The second appetizer was a stinging nettle linguini with house ricotta, chanterelles, nettle pesto, and pine nuts, served with a 2010 Saint Aubin made by Patrick Miolane. The Saint Aubin has a very floral nose – white flowers. The taste is very fresh and fruity with a very nice buttery body. I loved the butteriness of this wine to go with the rich ricotta and pesto. And the freshness of the taste was a great balancing factor to the richness of the dish.
Next up was a foie gras mousse with shaved apricots, toasted hazelnuts, cocoa nibs, and apricot jam. This was served with a Corbières. “Clair” produced by Domaine les Promesses de la Terre from 2012. This Corbières has a very interesting aroma profile: yeast, toasted bread/brioche, and fried dough – fried dough is something that my mom and my grandma used to make when I was little and it was my absolutely favorite thing ever! This is a slightly sweet wine and that sweetness wonderfully brings out the flavors of the foie gras!
Now on to the main courses. There were two. The first was a skillet cooked duck breast with smoked celery root, orange, caraway, and red cabbage sauerkraut. This was accompanied by a red Sancerre by Domaine Vacheron from 2012. This Sancerre is wonderfully earthy with aromas of dirt and wet earth. The taste is fruity – red fruits – and that is a wonderful complement for duck.
The final course before the cheese/dessert is a tomato braised pork belly with grilled zucchini, tomato relish, garlic chips, and summer squash. The wine that we were served was a Côtes du Roussillon Villages, “Les Huit” by Domaine les Terres de Mallyce from 2010. This is the strongest wine of all and has taken on tertiary aromas like leather, animal, and a hint of licorice. There is also some fruity components like cherry. This aroma profile of the wine and the dish are very complementary and again the fruitiness in the taste of the wine works amazingly with pork.
All the wines were a great choice for the courses. I especially loved the red Sancerre and the Roussillon and bought a bottle of each to take home with me.
Note: (I forgot to take pictures of some of the wines from that evening so photos of some of the bottles are not mine. However, all food photos are my own photos.)