Edge Hotel School student visits Laurent-PerrierPosted: 7th of November 2014 by Zoe Pereira
The deep thud of a cork exiting a bottle, and the fizz of bubbles climbing a delicate flute are the sounds of celebration, luxury and glamour. Working as a waitress, I had served Champagne on many occasions and had witnessed its unique ability to fill guests with excitement and make a moment special. However, as with most people, I am not often the recipient of a glass, and understood little about the history and production of champagne. When the opportunity arose to travel to the champagne region, explore kilometres of winding cellars, and experience the work of a prestigious and traditional champagne house, it was an opportunity I had to pursue.
The two days I spent surrounded by the picturesque vineyards of Northern France perfectly mirrored the core values of Laurent-Perrier as a company. I learned about the ‘terroir’ necessary for optimum production, came to understand the importance of the rolling hills and permeable chalky landscape and felt the tangible passion to produce a consistently perfect product.
A 4x4 guided tour of the vines by local grower Nicholas allowed me to taste the three key grape varieties used in Champagne production, and gave me an understanding of the vitally important blending process in the creation of a balanced product. Nicholas guided our group to a traditional old stone wash house with large wooden benches overlooking the miles of undulating vines, we sat in the setting golden sunlight, and sampled a bottle of the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut. The combination of light, fruity champagne and the beautiful French countryside was idyllic and a memory that will certainly last.
My visit to the Laurent-Perrier Champagne house itself was fascinating, and I was amazed by the traditional methods employed in production. I walked through the cool, dark cellars lined with bottles of dusty, ageing champagne and learnt about the time consuming and strenuous task of hand turning each bottle in order to separate the lees before its later extraction. From the dimly lit cellars we made our way up through the house to an elegant boardroom that had been prepared for a full range tasting. Bottle after bottle of exquisite champagne was tasted, discussed and analysed and it wasn’t long before we needed something to eat!
My passion for food and restaurants increased with every mealtime throughout the trip, as we dined at traditional French Brasserie’s and fine dining restaurants. I experienced delicious duck breast, creamy crème brulee and traditional snails in garlic butter, and for the first time I was able to appreciate champagne when paired with beautiful food. I will endeavour to apply this new appreciation as I develop my career in this industry.
My thanks are due to all involved in making this once in a lifetime trip possible, with special thanks to Brigitte Hennessy and all the lovely people I met at Champagne Laurent-Perrier in Tours-sur-Marne.
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