Three days of ceremony and feasting
" the weekend was judged a great success and lived up to the grand traditions of the Chaîne "
The Grand Chapitre began with an Induction Ceremony on Friday night and ended two days later with a champagne brunch.
In between were two dégustation dinners - one of seven courses in a formal setting; the second, an informal five-course affair.
At the Induction Ceremony, presided over by Bailli Délégué Honoraire Ian Hull Brown, nine new members took the oath of membership and nine members received their Commandeur Award.
Particularly honoured was Bailli Délégué Honoraire Peter Besseling who received his Officier Commandeur Award for over 30 years membership.
Following the ceremony was the Gala Dinner, a seven-course tasting menu designed, prepared, cooked and served by the staff and students of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Wellington. The entire production was assessed as part of the students’ training.
tiny spears, scampi in a lemon-liquorice velouté
Blue cod confit
nori seaweed, broad bean ragout
(Tomato juice containing a grape-sized ball
bursting with spices when bitten
and adorned with celery foam)
Lamb two ways
- smoked and slow-cooked -
caillette aux herbes
(minced lamb, chard and herbs shaped as a plump sausage)
served with ratatouille
Beetroot sorbet, raspberries, frozen yoghurt
Coconut mousse, pineapple meringue, burnt pineapple.
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise - Rhône Valley
Louis Perdrier Sparkling Rosé - France
Viennese spiced coffee
In addition to matching wines, non-alcoholic drinks were offered ranging from plum, beet and grape with the lamb to a non gin and tonic, house-made lemonade, and lemongrass and gingered coconut water.
The following night was less formal at The Wellington Club where Mark Hartstonge runs the kitchen. It owed more to Kiwi than French tradition with all produce sourced within 50 kilometres of the club house.
Tempura tuna bite from wild caught tuna
Paua (abalone) crispy wonton, mussel cream
Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay
Coffee-crusted venison loin, seared and roasted
crumbed black pudding, asparagus, burnt alliums
Hawke’s Bay Syrah
Cheese course featuring honey, pears, walnuts
(Shards of blue cheese were layered on
roasted pear topped with a strawberry honey)
Hawke’s Bay Cabernets & Merlot blend
with locally made white chocolate
Slightly sweet Riesling - Central Otago
The third event was at the Foundry, a popular bar and restaurant in Wellington’s Tory Street where owners Julia and Grant Jefferson promote a modern tapas style menu.
A champagne brunch with a difference, we started with salmon on blinis and assorted pastries. The main dish was a take on eggs Benedict with prosciutto and vine tomatoes. A delicate sponge with custard, strawberries and a coulis made for a pleasing dessert.
Bailli Délégué David Shackleton said, “the weekend was judged a great success and lived up to the grand traditions of the Chaîne. We enjoyed each other’s company, creating long lasting memories, whilst experiencing some extraordinary food and wine.”
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