Egg is not an ingredient I would think to pair with champagne. But then, what do I know, I have never drunk a $399 bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee before.
In truth, I still have not drunk an entire bottle of this liquid gold; I had to share it with my two colleagues for an after-work ‘‘Thank Krug It’s 5 o’clock’’ experience.
For a fleeting 60 minutes I dined like I was one of the elite and wealthy, enjoying a lake view from Queenstown’s Eichardt’s restaurant and bar. The bar is part of a private hotel redevelopment that will boast the most expensive penthouse in New Zealand when it opens next month. The $10,000-a-night-penthouse comes with a private chef and butler.
My fantasy of being rich and famous continued when the suave-looking waiter, serving a platter of exquisite food pairings to accompany the wine, revealed himself as the penthouse’s butler.
If my mouth was not salivating over the spread before me, I would have quizzed him for longer about what being a butler would involve.
Head concierge Kieran Gardiner directed our attention to the dishes designed by executive chef Will Eaglesfield as part of a ‘‘single ingredient programme’’, running throughout November and December whereby they let one ingredient shine to complement the champagne. The concept is designed to ‘‘redefine casual after-work drinks’’, and give people the opportunity to enjoy a flute of Krug Grande Cuvee along with exciting food pairings.
Gardiner says this year, Krug have chose the ‘‘humble, simple, versatile’’ egg - sourced from Roxburgh, in Central Otago.
‘‘It’s a bold choice for champagne but that is what they wanted to go with. Something that is super singular and create dishes based around that.’’
Eaglesfield has designed three entre´e dishes for tasting, including a long scotch egg served alongside Havoc pork and sage sausage and sourdough breadcrumbs; brioche toast topped with egg salad that was peppered with saffron for richness and High Country salmon roe; and a whitebait fritter on a prawn cracker. ($40).
These morsels were exquisite, but there was no denying the star of the table was the Krug. An added feature, each bottle has a unique identification number which you can look up on the Krug website to find out interesting details about the very bottle you are drinking. I discovered my bottle had spent over eight years ageing in the Krug cellars and received its cork in winter 2014/2015. This bottle was a blend of 183 wines from 12 different years, the oldest from 1990 and the youngest from 2007. Fascinating!
What was just as fascinating - if not more - came from the butler.
‘‘In the Krug family, when a child is born, they give it a sip of champagne before it tastes the mother’s milk. It is a tradition in the family.’’ What: Thank Krug It’s 5 o’clock Where: Eichardt’s
When: From 5pm, Fridays throughout November and December
Cost: Flute of Krug $49, bottle $399; $40 tasting menu
Senior brand manager Ali Campbell says traditionally Krug is only available to purchase by the bottle, and having Krug available by the flute is a ‘‘once-a-year opportunity’’, and a great way to celebrate in style.