Hailing from Reims, France since 1772, Veuve Clicquot is a name that Dallas has recognized and respected for generations. Featured at weddings, college graduations and debutante balls, Veuve is a brand that is aristocratic, yet approachable. Veuve’s Champagnes are there in times of celebration, but also readily available when your Monday goes bust. A sparkling for all seasons, they serve as a true companion reminding one that summer isn’t so unbearably hot, and also that winter isn’t insufferably long.
On Tuesday night, Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village played host to a pairings dinner that showcased Veuve’s versatility amongst elegance. A favored destination within the Park Cities, Bistro 31 set the perfect scene as Champagne flowed freely. The abundant staff was buttoned-up, and executive chef Eric Brandt was at the top of his game.
Veuve‘s Yellow Label was paired with an assortment of hor d’ oeuvres—my favorite being caviar atop of a soft-boiled quail egg with olive oil. We also sampled the non-vintage Brut with a salad consisting of Maine lobster, avocado, cucumber, roasted tomatoes and oranges, complete with white balsamic vinaigrette. Crafted from a strategic blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, the Yellow Label displayed vibrant acidity, which allowed the succulent lobster to shine.
The star of the evening came by way of Veuve’s La Grande Dame Blanc 2004. Paying homage to Madame Cliquot herself, the Champagne featured notes of white peaches, apricot, and vanilla; rounded out with vibrant bursts of black currant and almond. Properly paired with pan-roasted monkfish, celeriac puree, brown butter, hazelnuts and fennel, the La Grande Dame was demonstrative, silencing guests who were previously in deep discussion.
A crispy white chocolate brioche bread pudding with vanilla crème anglaise and raspberry coulis ended the evening. Having “so-so” experiences with dessert wines in the past the, Veuve Demi-Sec was pleasant by way of its tame amount of residual sugar. Displaying texture and depth, the demi-sec is one that I would have in the cellar at all times for planned (or unplanned) dinner parties.
Bistro 31 persevered and succeeded in featuring some of the finest Champagne from France, with Chef Brandt’s pairings complementing the all-sparkling menu beautifully. Add in the nostalgic white lights hung from the trees in Highland Park Village, and you might just forget you’re dining in North Texas rather than along the banks of the river Vesle.