Sun was out yesterday and the South Bank always looks more attractive when the sun’s shining!
You can access the South Bank from a number of station, but the closest I’d say are: Embankment and Waterloo to start near the London Eye. There is always something going on… Always!
Right next door to the OXO2 – Australian Brand Up & Go had erected a large bouncy version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and set people a challenge to complete it in the shortest time. With copious amounts of free samples being handed out in Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate, you’ve got enough time to indulge in one by the time one of your crazy friends completes the obstacle course. This is only on the South Bank until: 26th April. More info here: http://upandgo.co.uk/ – I had a vanilla one this morning. It was nice but I was hungry much quicker than normal!
Up the stairs to the pop up Moet & Chandon Academy. Left our stuff in the cloakroom and admired the White interiors surrounded by the size varieties of probably the most well known Moet Imperial bottles. This experience was to educate us the consumer, us the lover of Champagne, about the story behind Moet and ultimately the journey from grape to glass.
He introduced us both to the Champagne region as a whole, honing in on Epernay and then seeing the actual vines that they’d brought over from France, there in the flesh, (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier with their chalked soil), beginning the process.
From walking through these vines, we were introduced to the process in the cellars, how the wine is fermented, several base wines are blended and the yeast removed ( Riddled & disgorgement), the dosage added. Those base blended wines from several years was our first tasting.
We were also told we missed Moet’s Chef de Cave, Mr Benoit Gouez who is most definitely responsible for the 2006 Vintage some of you may have been lucky enough to taste already.
From here the reigns were handed over to Susie Barrie, Master of Wine, probably worth noting there are only 372 masters of wine in the world! To say she knows her stuff is an understatement.
Susie was brilliant in keeping us engaged and introduced us one at a time from Prosecco to Moet Brut Imperial NV to Rose’ Imperial NV, to a Grand Vintage 2006 to then sample the organisation’s newest bottle, Ice Imperial NV. ( No Nectar unfortunately!. I was lucky enough to sample far too much Ice Imperial last September in Malta)
Susie had also arranged some perfectly chosen Canapé pairings in the form of Cheese Gougere, Mini tarts with Olives, tomatoes and basil, Puff pastry tart with caramelised onions and mushrooms and finishing off with a raspberry macaroon.
It was incredibly interesting to learn about the innovative technology that the Moet & Chandon Maison have pioneered over the years but how instrumental they were in ultimately introducing champagne to the world and its significance as a celebration drink since the world wars, christening of ships.
- If you’re keeping champagne for a long time, don’t keep it in the fridge. Keep it in a cool dark place, then chill prior to serving.
- Vintage Champagnes are usually at their best 7 years after they’ve been produced, hence the 2006 being presented to us today. Although one year short, it tasted amazing but normally Maisons will mature bottles for at least a minimum of three years.
- When opening a bottle of Champagne, tilt at 45 degrees and keep your hand on the cork to ensure you don’t mistakenly spray your guests or hit someone with a stray cork!
- Ice Imperial should be served with Ice ( ideally over three ice cubes in a large cabernet glass)
Bit of General Knowledge
- Moet & Chandon merged with Hennessey Cognac in the 70s, followed by Louis Vuitton in the 80s to become LVMH
- Correct pronounciation is “mo-ette” or “m-whette“
- Moet & Chandon has a Royal Warrant as the official Champagne to the Queen.
The session was only 90 minutes, but I could have probably sat that for the whole afternoon. A brilliantly put together immersive session which was incredibly informative which leaves you with the need to book a tour in the Champagne Region itself with your new found knowledge. I thought both Susie and Johnny were great, both knowledgable and approachable with all sorts of questions. I’d definitely recommend it, but sadly I think the 24th April was the last day. Moet please bring it back! I know lots of people who would loveeee this experience. ( Nectar Rose and Ice Imperial have become my summer favourites)
If you used the #moetacademy hashtag whilst at the experience on Instagram, by the time you finished your session your prints were printed out for you to take home, great touch and I got two great photos to commemorate the day. Great nod to social media.
To learn more about Moet’s impressive repertoire, Visit their website: http://uk.moet.com/ – They’ll not only inform you on how your favourite bottle of Moet is made of which grapes, but the also the perfect food to pair your drinking with. Perfect for dinner parties.
Jamaica Hidden Histories Exhibition @ OXO
Once we left the Moet Academy, we popped into the Gallery @ oxo which can be found just beneath the oxo 2 space. A small exhibition dedicated to Jamaica’s Hidden Histories and some of the fascinating parts of Jamaica’s culture and its relationship with the British if you weren’t in the know. So do pop in if you’ve got a spare 15 minutes, it won’t take you much longer… It’s on until 17th May, Open everyday from 11am – 6pm and Admission is Free.
More details about the project: www.facebook.com/jamaicahiddenhistories
OXO Tower Details: Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH
More details about their restaurant, bar, brasserie and event spaces: www.oxotower.co.uk