Vin de Constance with Michel Roux Jr.

ISBN: 0-620-36100-X
Author: Michel Roux Jr
Historical Background: Jos Baker
Photpgrapher: Tara Fisher
Specs: 220mm square. 96 pages. Full colour. Hard cover with dust jacket.
Design: PetalDesign
First Edition: 2006
Price: R192.50 (excl packaging and postage/courier)

When Le Gavroche first opened its doors in 1967 the wine list had no more than a hundred selections, all French with the exception of a couple of ports. I am sure that if my father had managed to get his hands on – let alone tasted – some Vin de Constance it would also have made it onto that first list. The wine list has now grown to over a thousand selections, with thankfully more than a smattering of what is known as new world wines. Vin de Constance now proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with all the other great wines on offer at Le Gavroche.

I do not profess to be an expert on wine, but I do know what I like and one thing is for sure: life is too short to drink bad or indifferent wines. I would rather go without, and enjoy a glass of mineral water. However, when it comes to the ultimate enjoyment and fulfillment that should be had at the table, there has to be a glass of two of beautifully made wine.

The Jooste family have put the Klein Constantia region back where it belongs; producing the finest sweet wine to regale your palate. When wine is this good it can be enjoyed on its own, but to make the experience whole a little accompaniment is better. A great sweet wine needs perfect balance, a little acidity and – to use another bit of jargon – length. Vin de Constance has all this but also has versatility. It is the wine of choice for blue cheese, especially the more salty and sour varieties such as Roquefort. It is also the classic accompaniment for Foie Gras, the rich smooth duck or goose liver specialty of France, which is invariably served with a glass of Sauternes or local sweet wine.

As for desserts, I look to match the natural floral notes, fruits and spices within the wine to creations that will enhance but not affront its beauty in any way. Chocolate is one of the few sweets that does not work well with sweet white wines – with the exception of milk chocolate, as long as it is only one component of the dish and not the main ingredient.

The recipes in this book will hopefully bring you as much joy as the contents of the bottle. It is an honour for me to express my skills and match my dishes to such an icon as Vin de Constance.

The idea was realised by Michel Roux Jr. of London’s Le Gavroche restaurant. He believes that when wine is good, it can be enjoyed on its own, but to make the experience ‘whole’, a little accompaniment is better. His cookbook invites you into the kitchen. There are no grandiose flourishes or intimidating plating. Just delicious seasonal recipes, easy to follow and offering handy tips to prevent pitfalls. With mouthwatering photographs by Tara Fisher to stimulate your cooking skills.

Michel Roux Jr. has run Le Gavroche restaurant in London since 1994. Classically trained in France, his ability to assimilate influences has guaranteed the contemporary appeal of the restaurant, and its continued excellence is shown by its inclusion in The 50 Best Restaurants in the World in 2004 and 2005 organised by Restaurant magazine in London. Michel is the author of three best-selling cookbooks, Le Gavroche Cookbook, Marathon Chef (he is an avid runner and veteran of 10 marathons) and Matching Food & Wine.

Le Gavroche
43 Upper Brook Street, London W1K 7QR
Tel +44(0)20 7408 0881

About the Historian
Jos Baker is a Cape-based journalist and consultant specialising in food and wine. Editor of Wine magazine’s Top 100 Restaurant Guide in South Africa for seven years, she was also a member of the Southern African voting panel for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

About the Photographer
Tara Fisher, a food/travel/lifestyle photographer, works regularly for design and advertising agencies and top London magazines including Waitrose, Food Illustrated, Country Living, House and Garden, Red and Eve. This is her twelfth cookbook, and her third with Michel Roux Jr.

About the Designer
Petal Palmer’s Cape Town design agency, PetalDesign, specialised in print media and has produced a string of award-winning publications. Their portfolio included books and magazines across the food, lifestyle, decor, design, natural history and non-fiction genres.

Lobster and Roquefort Gratin
Lobster and Roquefort Gratin

Panna Cotta with Mangoes and Lychees
Panna Cotta with Mangoes and Lychees

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