Saint Crispin & Grey Goose Taste By Appointment
Saint Crispin, the Melbourne darling with two hats in the Good Food Guide, was the perfect venue for iconic French vodka Grey Goose Taste by Appointment with Grey Goose Global Brand Ambassador, mixologist and acclaimed jazz pianist Joe McCanta. These events have been run all over the world and this was one of the choice events of the year for The World Loves Melbourne.
Joe McCanta was super smooth and engaging, like the premium vodka itself, and he took us through a fun and informative journey of taste profiling. We ended up with a personal taste profile to help us as budding mixologists. Sweet? Sour? Bitter? Can we bring the right "balance" in our cocktail mixing?
We were given bread and taught the importance of salt as a flavour enhancer. Personally, I'm a big fan of salt and love it as an ingredient in cocktails.
In fact I love Grey Goose vodka as a one distillation and filtration vodka, to enhance the natural taste. Lately I've been given to enjoying sipping vodka on the rocks, and am keen on non-neutral vodkas.
Saint Crispin delivered in terms of the brief for the evening. Head Chef Joe Grbac was on hand and the dishes to match the Grey Goose vodka were spectacular.
The Amuse Bouche Plate was designed to feature 3 elements of taste - sweet, sour and bitter...
Sweet: Bannockburn chicken, golden raisin jam.
Sour: Hapuka ceviche, lime, coriander.
Bitter: Ocean trout, blood orange endive, cucumber.
I loved them all, without any particular preference for taste element. Bring it on - sweet, sour and bitter!
The Amuse Bouche Plate was matched with Grey Goose Le Fizz featuring St-Germain elderflower liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice and soda water.
The next taste profiling involved a glass of vodka and adding the taste elements such as salt, sugar, bitters, lemon, and mint to discover your taste preference. My hand was heavy on the bitters but I redeemed myself with a little extra salt.
Grey Goose and Joe McCanta delivered with a tantalising Grey Goose Martini A La Truffle Maison. Stunning and sophisticated this cocktail featured vodka stired with Noilly Prat dry vermouth washed with black truffle butter and plum vinegar. So intense, it was for pleasurable sipping.
Saint Crispin jumped out of its skin with this delectable Main Course of Wagyu beef cheek and rump, miso eggplant, fricassee of mushrooms, parmesan gel and soil. We get excited by beef cheeks but even more excited by beef cheeks and the rump!
The miso eggplant and mushrooms provided perfect accompaniment to the beef. And the soil provided extra finesse.
A close up of the Grey Goose Martini...
Saint Crispin wait staff excelled at every level.
Here is a triage of taste profiling elements... I didn't know you can't taste mint when you block your nose. The senses come together, even with cocktails.
Joe McCanta was a skilled and hospitable host... The guest list was like a "who's who" of the Melbourne foodie scene, with our dinner being one of several run over a couple of days.
On song, Saint Crispin produced the perfect pairing of Parfait of hazelnuts, caramelised pear, crispy phyllo pastry, almond gel with the Grey Goose La Poire. Joe explained the Anjou pears for this smooth vodka were sourced in the middle of France. The La Poire is an amazing sipping vodka. As for the parfait, it was a work of art with complex layers and a hit of pear.
We were treated to coffee and a triage of chocolates to finish the tasting profile...
We enjoyed cocktails afterwards in Saint Crispin Thomas Olive Bar to round off an amazing and enlightening evening. One of the best events of 2014.
Photos courtesy of Tim Grey and Grey Goose.