The only thing that makes champagne sparkle even more, is when you pair it with a superior feast prepared by an amazing chef. The folks behind bubbly house Billecart-Salmon understand the significance, and, on Thursday, November 21, they will be hosting a prestigious dinner at award-winning chef and Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Michael White’s Italian steakhouse, Costata, in SoHo.
“The Altamarea Group fine dining restaurants all carry Billecart-Salmon champagne for a reason,” says White, who also heads Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Marea, Osteria Morini, and Ai Fiori through the Altamarea Group. “It is what myself and the Altamarea Group CEO Ahmass Fakahany like to drink.”
For almost two centuries, this champagne house in Mareuil-sur-Ay, France has been producing top vintages, a venture that began after the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon in 1818. In 1999, the 1959 Nicolas François Billecart vintage was voted the “Champagne of the Millennium” in a blind tasting featuring 150 premium bottles, just one of the many accolades Billecart-Salmon has received.
Though you won’t get the opportunity to try the 1959 at this New York City event, the five-course meal Costata has prepared features other superb champagnes. Each dish will be paired with a different champagne, starting with the Brut Reserve, which you can sip while nibbling on canapés when you arrive at 7 p.m. Hosted by Alexandre Bader, the general manager of the Billecart-Salmon house, dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. with a plate of fresh oysters served with mignonette and the Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru. You can then indulge in bright sea scallops topped with black truffle vinaigrette and a glass of the elegant Vintage 2004 Extra Brut.
For the third course, the $250 meal gets you a glass of the house’s Brut Sous Bois to go along with the lumache pasta alla carbonara, making it the perfect marriage of superbly balanced, high-acidity bubbles to help cut the rich fatty flavors. The 2007 Roc de Cambes Cotes de Bourg also does a good job with its food companion, the final savory course consisting of an eight-ounce, dry-aged New York strip steak with pancetta-laced Brussels sprouts, crispy red potatoes, and a luscious béarnaise sauce. Finally, chef White will round out the meal with an assortment of berry petits fours and the last glorious glass, a Brut Rose, one of the famous chef’s favorites.
“Whether I am in New York or traveling abroad, a glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé champagne at the end of [a] long day makes me feel at ease,” White says. “It is quite rare that I drink anything, but when I do, I prefer it to be the best.”
Photos Courtesy of Billecart-Salmon