Patrick Guilbaud took my hand warmly, as an old friend might.
He hoped that I had enjoyed my meal. “Ah, that dessert with the rosé…” he murmured, clearly reliving the pleasure of it in his own mind.
I, in return, gushed. My first time to eat at Guilbaud’s and, yes, the dessert course had been as sublime a pairing of food and wine as I have had the privilege of tasting. The rest of the meal I might add (in a clear triumph of understatement) was none too shabby either.
Proprietor of the legendary Michelin-starred restaurant that bears his name, Patrick Guilbaud displayed qualities that I would hope to find in any good restaurateur – a sincere pride in the food served and a graciousness in the service given. His restaurant, well deserving of its top-notch reputation, is the kind of place entirely appropriate to the occasion that had earned me an invite – a gala dinner showcasing Ruinart champagne.
I will admit that this particular brand of champagne was new to me, but a friend, having seen my drinks menu, exclaimed simply “Ruinart! The world’s best…”. That might just tell you something about it.
I learned more on the subject from Patrick Shelley, French-domiciled Irish man and International Director with Ruinart, who explained that it is the oldest champagne house around, established in 1729 by textile merchants who found that their clients soon showed far more interest in matters of bubbly than in matters of cloth.
And it is expensive, yes. Champagne generally is (er, except when somebody else is paying for it…). And this is the good stuff. Chardonnay-based, requiring delicate handling and bottle-aging for at least 3-4 years in cavernous chalk pits that date from Roman times. The signature Ruinart brand, the wonderfully crisp non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, will go on my wishlist for special celebrations. Fancy or what?
In fact I fully expect, by now, for you to be deeply concerned about the fact that I might be in danger of getting notions far above my humble spud station, dazzled by the bright lights of Michelin-stardom. Rest assured, however, that I will not be allowed to forget that ’tis far from Michelin-starred eateries and champagne that I was raised. My mother, for one, can be trusted to bring it right back down to the things that matter:
“You got a good feed so”, says she, “that’s the main thing”.
Ooo, Patrick Guilbaud, fancy! That’s a great menu! I need to convince my husband to take me there this summer!
that comment of your mom’s is priceless :-)
must make a note of that champagne — will be looking for an excuse to try it! too bad this didn’t happen before March :-)
5 Star Foodie: hope you make it there this summer – I’m sure you would enjoy!
Tim: there will always be other occasions :)
I am very very jealous. I had a meal at Guilbauds, oh God must be 20 years ago and I can still remember it. Little bro was commis chef there at the time so myself and my mum got royal treatment. All those french men dancing to our every whim….Never heard of that champagne, did they give you a goody bag with a buideal in it?
What a fabulous menu. Glad you enjoyed.
Wow! This looks like an amazing experience!
What a grand experience for you, my dear!
I had never heard from this Champagne brand before,…but I will be on the look-out now!
Michelle: I didn’t know that your bro had spent time in Guilbauds – glad you and your Mum got the chance to experience it! And no, I didn’t find a spare buideal of bubbly in my bag as I was leaving – though I suppose I really can’t go complaining about that :)
George: it was fabulous, enjoyed every bit of the experience
ValleyWriter: indeed it was, lucky me to be given the opportunity!
Sophie: you’re welcome! it was truly grand in every sense
More fabulous living from Spud (sigh). GREG
No worries that you’ll get notions “far above [your] humble spud station” because we all now how wonderfully down to earth you are! 8-D
Those are four pretty little Champagnes, all in a row and you have to love a menu that has a ‘pre-dessert’ course! If you’re ever in need of a social secretary or personal assistant to accompany you to these events (y’know – to hold your camera, carry your purse, eat/drink the leftovers . . . ), I’m available!
Darn it, I hate it when I misspell – it’s ‘KNOW how”, not “now how”. Where’s my coffee?!
Sounds like you and I would love to go out for a good meal and drinks together :)
sippitysup: you need to come visit, I know all the best places :D
Tangled Noodle: I’m all for pre-dessert myself (not to mention the four pretty champagnes!) And I would love to have you as my personal assistant – when can you start? :)
Chef E: it sure does, doesn’t it!
That starter is making my mouth water. Fantastic. You are quite the lucky one, DS, gallivanting around to Michelin-starred restaurants and rubbing shoulders with the muckety-mucks. Yay, you! You deserve it. I know you won’t forget that it all comes back to The Potato!
See, that’s the thing. It does all come back to the venerable Potato – and no amount of shoulder-rubbing and muckety-mucking is likely to change that Jenni, I promise! :D
Looks just incredible. Wicklow lamb with Indian spices *swoon*!
I’m going to invent an occasion to allow myself to go to this restaurant. Like, I might pretend I got a promotion. Or maybe I’ll tell my mum and dad I got engaged. Or maybe that I’m preggers. That last one wouldn’t really work as the cover would be blown as I guzzled all those matching wines!
Ok – I’m beginning to plot. I’ll get there. I will.
You’ll get there someday Aoife – go prepared for lots of wonderful food and impeccable French service :)