La Nuit du Champagne, Restaurant Coco, Zurich
For once taking pictures was out of the question, simply because it was too dark. A friend took me to the La Boum Privee event and led your favourite food writer to be in the middle of an interesting night. Like a treasure hunt the starting point was the Lindenhof and after some successful deduction the real location became apparent the Restaurant Coco, near Paradeplatz. Outside everything was set up for the La Nuit du Champagne. Basically this was a late summer night party, with leading champagne producers showcasing their products and a constant flow of small tibits being carried through the people. One of the best small cocktail dishes was a Wienerschnitzel on potato salad, which was reduced in size and served on a spoon. The hard work began in circulating from one table to another and trying the different Champagnes. Lanson, Nicolas Feuillatte, Piper Heidsieck, Pommery and Bonnaire were available, with each one of them offering a different selection of Champagnes. It was a close one, but Nicolas Feuillatte came out on top, the Blanc de Blanc was my favourite, closely followed by the Piper Heidsieck Brut. There were some of the more prestigious special blends (Cuvée Speciale, Rare, …..) but I’m not sure that in a blind tasting these would have gained the same traction as they did with the crowd. Like wine I got the impression that your palate needs to mature before you can appreciate the “better” stuff, eg. the Piper Heidsieck Rare gave me a nose of fruit bread and some mineral notes. I’m sure that’s great paired with the right meal, but as an aperitif I liked the cheaper Brut better. What was strange is that Nicolas Feuillatte (apparently the number one in France) doesn’t have a retail outlet in Zurich, you need to have it shipped from the distributor. The event (sanctioned by the Comite Champagne) was nice, it could have been a bit warmer and it was a tad crowded, but if you wanted to taste and compare Champagne, it was the place to be. The next time I’m having a Wiener Schnitzel, instead of Zweigelt, I’ll go for a bottle of brut Champagne.