Opulence. If Monday evening had to be summed up in one word, none would describe it better. No matter whether you focus on the ambience, the culinary performances, the artistic program, the guests (Black Tie!) – or above all, of course, on the fine wines that were served.
Dom Pérignon invited around 120 guests to the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg for a joint stage dinner. A wonderful location, whose large hall is for me one of the most beautiful in the Hanseatic city and in which I have already seen numerous concerts. This time, however, the roles were reversed, with the guests taking their places on stage. In addition to the Monteverdi Choir and the Hamburg Girls’ Choir, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, dancers from the Berlin State Ballet School and the Flying Steps Academy performed in the stalls and in the stands – with an exciting mixture of break dance and contemporary dance to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The evening was led by Friedrich Lichtenstein, who was in the best of moods.
But for me, of course, the culinary works of art were particularly in focus. When does the opportunity arise to be cooked for by all three of Hamburg’s 2-star chefs, Karlheinz Hauser, Christoph Rüffer and Thomas Martin, at the same time on the same evening. The menu was accompanied by three different Dom Pérignon vintage champagnes: Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, Dom Pérignon P2 1998 and Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003.
Both the excellent Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 was served as an amuse to the reception, as well as a large number of delicious and artisanal fantastic petitessen, such as an Iberico pork belly with ponzu mango cucumber or beautiful foie gras lollipops with passion fruit & goat cheese and macarons with calf’s liver.
The on-stage menu was introduced by Thomas Martin, first with a fabulous herb-crusted organic salmon that was paired with Osietra caviar, providing an ideal balance to the Vintage 2004. As well as a velvet soup of Norway lobster. An excellent start that makes you want to visit Jakob’s restaurant.
The Cordon Bleu of sweetbreads and foie gras irritated some guests at our table a bit, but at the same time it was an exciting and courageous combination. Especially since his companion, a Dom Pérignon P2 1998, with its great depth of flavor and complexity, held up very well against this dish. Recently, exactly this second plénitude, that is, the second phase of life into which this vintage has now entered, was praised by Esquire as the top recommendation for collectors.
All the more pleasing, of course, that it did not remain with a glass of this fantastic wine, because the second course of Christoph Rüffer was also so excellently accompanied. An almost classic combination, with the incredibly intense and perfectly sweet tomato in particular providing a brilliant focal point and managing to combine the individual elements perfectly.
After we had made friends with the P2 more and more closely during the demonstrations inserted in the meantime, another exciting and complex champagne followed the other two courses by Karlheinz Hauser. With the Merino lamb, Dom Pérignon served the Rosé Vintage 2003. An exceptional vintage, fragrant with burgundy, already exposed to heavy frost in spring and then to an unprecedented heat wave. This resulted in a small but fully mature harvest, which, by the way, was the earliest since 1822.
An extraordinary, fabulous evening, which we conclude with a glass or two of Dom Perignon Vintage 2004 Luminous and let it fade away together with the other guests and the musical sounds from the DJ balcony. And then someone says again that Hamburg does not offer culinary events at the highest level. Many thanks to the Dom Pérignon team and the host of the evening, Jens-Peter Gardthausen.