Ask someone to name a famous European wine region and the answer is likely to be French: Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy. It’s the latter – and its “serious” image – that provided the inspiration for a unique collaboration at Broadsheet Restaurant.
The one-off dinner saw Sydney wine and food festival Rootstock collaborate with Darlinghurst restaurant Bar Brose on producing a French feast.
“Broadsheet has partnered with Rootstock over the past two years,” says Mike Bennie, co-director of Rootstock. “They gave us the opportunity to take over the Broadsheet Restaurant for a night and work on a menu, so our logical choice was a collaboration with a Sydney chef who has worked with us on Rootstock.”
That task fell to Analiese Gregory from Bar Brose, who has also worked for the likes of The Ledbury, Le Meurice, and Quay. A longtime friend of Bennie’s, Gregory has also been a key supporter of Rootstock since it began in 2013.
“We’ve travelled together, done events together, drunk and eaten together,” says Bennie. “We enjoy a similar outlook on food, wine, drinks and creativity in dining.”
When creating the collaborative menu, Bennie says the pair discussed their favourite European wine regions, which also have a strong food culture and identity.
“We mooted several,” says Bennie. “But we gelled on the idea that Burgundy often has a quite staid image. We thought we could work some magic with both the region’s cuisine and wine.”
The pair has first-hand experience in Burgundy – Bennie explored France twice a year for almost a decade and Gregory lived there for two years. That time on European soil helped them curate a true snapshot of the region’s fare, while is also showing off its progressive approach to winemaking.
Gregory says traditional food from Burgundy includes French classics such as beef bourguignon, jambon persillade, eggs poached in red wine and coq au vin.
“I wanted to give guests a sense of what it feels like to be there in countryside France,” says Gregory. “Stopping at a small auberge (inn) and having hearty, delicious local food, paired with wines grown in the same towns where the food is produced.”
For the dinner, she produced a traditional entree of snail gougère, featuring hot, cheesy pastry filled with snails cooked in garlic and parsley butter. It was followed by Kurobuta ham and parsley terrine with cornichons; chicken-liver parfait with sourdough bread; and smoked river trout with watercress and horseradish cream, designed to share.
“We wanted our menu to reference products produced in the region,” says Gregory. “Snails, èpoisses and other washed rind cheeses; chicken from Bresse, the wine we call Burgundy, Chablis, gougères, anything Dijon-style. It goes on and on.”
Between courses, Bennie spoke to guests about the dinner’s wines, native to Burgundy.
“As per all natural wines, they are organic and biodynamic farmed, made with no additions, with minimal intervention winemaking,” says Bennie. “Much of Burgundy has been chemically farmed for generations and many of the wines are very traditional in their makeup. But the wines we were pouring are quite different.”
For the main course Gregory served classic beef bourguignon. Soaked in red wine for 24 hours, the beef was also braised in wine and paired with a grand-mère garnish, lardons, tiny sweet onions and Paris mushrooms.
Dessert was cheesy, with guests digging into whole-baked èpoisses (soft cow’s milk cheese) drizzled with maple syrup and garnished with capers and thyme.
Here’s the recipe for Gregory’s whole-baked Epoisses to try at home.
Whole-baked Epoisses with maple syrup, capers and thyme
Serves 6–8 people
250g ripe Epoisses
50g Italian capers packed in salt
130ml maple syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme/thyme flowers
20ml olive oil
Vegetable oil for frying
Wash capers in fresh water and drain. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 180 degrees until crispy and open like small flowers.
Mix together maple syrup, olive oil and verjus to make dressing.
Cut Epoisses into 6–8 wedges, place one on each plate and then blowtorch until warm and coloured on top of the cheese. (If you don't have a blowtorch at home, bake the cheese whole in a cheese-baking dish at 180 degrees for 10–15 minutes.)
Spoon the dressing mix on top of cheese, then garnish with fried capers and thyme flowers.
Serve straight away while still warm, with fresh baguettes or witlof and slices of pear.
This dinner and article was created in partnership with Holden Astra, celebrating the best of Europe in partnership with the Holden Astra – 2016 European Car of the Year.