Jamaica Gleaner - - FOOD - Janet Sil­vera Se­nior Gleaner Writer

Bot­tle of Taittinger cham­pagne chill­ing on ice. WEST­ERN BUREAU: HOWCASING THE el­e­gance and ver­sa­til­ity of cham­pagne, the is­land’s largest dis­trib­u­tor of fine wines, Caribbean Pro­duc­ers Ja­maica (CPJ), in­tro­duced the palate of dis­cern­ing wine lovers to the French vine­yard – Taittinger.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mon­tego Bay’s new­est and most sought-after res­tau­rant, Mys­tic Thai, CPJ for the first time brought a con­nois­seur from

Sthe Taittinger win­ery to Ja­maica to un­plug the tops of two new cham­pagnes in their port­fo­lio, Pres­tige Rose and Noc­turne Sec. This was no or­di­nary in­tro­duc­tion, and any­one who knows Mys­tic Thai’s Ka­reena Mah­bubani ex­pected no less. Mah­bubani, a foodie of no mean or­der, and wine afi­ciona­dos Ni­co­las De­lion and Mike Turner ca­ressed and en­light­ened the taste buds with crispy lamb served with chilli paste and black

Crispy lamb with Thai chilli paste. pep­per and basil mush­rooms as starters.

To bal­ance out the acid­ity in the dish, De­lion re­sponded with a Brut Re­serve Chardon­nay, whose prom­i­nent grapes matched the weight of the food.

With each cham­pagne, Mah­bubani went the ex­tra mile, serv­ing two ap­pe­tis­ers from the amaz­ing and var­ied menu that has earned Mys­tic Thai its rep­u­ta­tion.


“We are chal­leng­ing peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of cham­pagne, show­ing its ver­sa­til­ity and el­e­gance,” ex­plained Turner.

For round two, Turner pulled from his con­nois­seur hat the Pres­tige Rose Cham­pagne, which boasts a pinot noir char­ac­ter. When paired with the sal­mon satay and crispy veg­etable, this wine pro­duced a burst of red fruit flavours.

There was no deny­ing that the sal­mon was the bet­ter ex­pres­sion of the two meals.

Six dif­fer­ent pair­ings in to­tal, by the time Mys­tic Thai served a shrimp tem­pura in mar­tini glasses, with soya le­mon grass sauce and spring rolls, Caribbean Pro­duc­ers knew the best wine for this dish was one with depth and com­plex­ity.

Se­lect­ing a 2008 Milles­ime vin­tage, the long­est aged cham­pagne on the menu, there was no mis­tak­ing that this wine paired beau­ti­fully with the light Tem­pura bat­ter.

When it came time to pair the Nec­turne Sec, Turner ad­mit­ted that this was no easy task. Mys­tic Thai se­lected chilli fish. He ex­plained the choice say­ing, “Be­cause we went from spicy in the fish to sweet in the cham­pagne.” In­deed, there was sub­tle sweet­ness that danced in the Nec­turne Sec.

Basil ice cream, a first for this writer, was the ul­ti­mate palate cleanser.


Taittinger Cham­pagne on show at the Caribbean Pro­duc­ers Ja­maica/Mys­tic Thai Epi­curean ex­pe­ri­ence.


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