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Pairings

Krug x Fish 

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At the heart of the House of Krug's craftsmanship is individuality, the profound understanding that each plot of vines is in itself a single ingredient. In February, a group of Krug Ambassade Chefs embarked on an unconventional adventure off the coast of Mallorca, exploring the creative possibilities that their own single ingredient – fish – can inspire. Armed only with their creative minds and a handful of tools, they set off with local fishermen to unearth the sea’s greatest treasure. They let their imaginations run wild to create delectable fish dishes that unlock remarkable sensations when paired with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé. Meet six of these chefs and read their take on the sea’s most sundry single ingredient, fish, and the many pleasures it can reveal when paired with Krug Champagne.

Dick Middelweerd
Dick Middelweerd

DICK MIDDELWEERD | Waalre, Netherlands

How would you describe your approach to cooking?

My style is light, vibrant, full of textures and acidity for freshness. There is also a touch of Asian influences, such as a Japanese vinaigrette or the use of soya sauce for favour. Tis focus on lightness – minimal use of cream or butter – stems from my belief that food should heal as much as it brings pleasure.

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned in the kitchen?

It is all about team effort and communication to create an unforgettable experience. Food is elevated to a higher level when the focus is on combining talents and working together. I have a lot of young chefs in my team and their energy makes each dish stronger.

What is it about fish that inspires your cooking?

Fish are a pure joy to prepare and eat because they are on the high end of the umami spectrum. The remarkable versatility of certain species means they offer themselves to a whole host of associations, be it with particular vegetables, textures or preparations. They combine really well with acidic ingredients and raw produce too. This diversity also means more options when it comes to cooking methods.

Now over to the glass: what comes to mind when you think of Krug Grande Cuvée?

I think of its generosity and depth of flavours and aromas as well as the craftsmanship it upholds.

If you could prepare a meal paired with Krug for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would love to cook for Bono from U2. He is truly inspirational and I not only enjoy his music but his philosophy of freedom and equality.

Krug x Fish: sole | oyster | shellfish | fregola | plankton by Dick Middelweerd
Krug x Fish: sole | oyster | shellfish | fregola | plankton by Dick Middelweerd

Pairing

Sole | oyster | shellfish | fregola | plankton & Krug Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition

(Sole, fregola, cockles, crab, seaweed, oysters, plankton)

The chef’s inspiration

The ocean offers us a plethora of beautiful favours and I wanted to express that harmonious combination of different elements.

Pairing notes

Krug Grande Cuvée has a lovely, vibrant freshness and texture with notes of citrus fruits, flowers in bloom and delicate bubbles. The depth of favours in the Champagne complements the freshness of the ingredients as well as the salinity of the fish and seafood in the dish.

Kihak Lim
Kihak Lim

KIHAK LIM | Seoul, South Korea

How would you define your cooking style?

It is classically French in both style and technique. I feel it is my mission to introduce authentic French cuisine to Korean diners. Before you can offer modern interpretations on French cooking, you need to lay the foundation.

How does cooking with fish inspire you?

The ocean is the purest and vastest of the Earth’s natural wonders and its bounty holds the freshest aromas. The beauty of it is that I do not have to do much as fish is already so naturally flavourful.

Now over to the glass: what comes to mind when you think of Krug Champagne?

Krug is the elegant result of coexistence, the marriage between heritage, savoir faire and a forward-thinking vision. That is also what I have tried to establish for my cooking: authentic with regard to French technique but modern and elegant in preparation and presentation.

Can you share an unforgettable experience with Krug Champagne?

I love to do restaurant tours whenever I travel. On one such trip four years ago, I found myself at a restaurant in Avignon that offered a bottle of Krug Clos du Mesnil 1998, such a rarity. Of course I had to order it and all I could think was “wow!”

What did you enjoy most about this adventure at sea?

Understanding first-hand how fishermen work. I have only known one part of the process – the one that sees the fish arriving to my restaurant – but I did not have any experience of what happens before that. It was incredibly eye-opening.

Krug x Fish: Scallop and crab-crusted cod with milt velouté by Kihak Lim
Krug x Fish: Scallop and crab-crusted cod with milt velouté by Kihak Lim

Pairing

Scallop and crab-crusted cod with milt velouté & Krug Grande Cuvée 159ème Édition

(Cod milt, scallops, crab, breadcrumbs, brioche, micro herbs)

The chef’s inspiration

I wanted to harness a boundless array of favours from the sea as well as the minerality and saltiness of marine ingredients. The idea was to incorporate the entire process of coating one favour with another and one aroma with another – much like the process of blending at the House of Krug – into one piece of fish.

Pairing notes

The expression of flavours and aromas that develops in Krug Grande Cuvée during its long stay in the cellars complements the aromas and saltiness coming from the scallop and crab crust. The texture of the soft, buttery cod fillet – cooked beautifully at a low temperature until it flakes perfectly – helps highlight the subtle favours of Krug Grande Cuvée when it has warmed up slightly in the glass.

Yukiyushi Tada
Yukuyushi Tada

YUKIYOSHI TADA | Osaka, Japan

How would you describe your approach to cooking?

My style is hyper-seasonal. I always look to source the best and freshest fish at the market to create memorable sushi.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned in the kitchen?

To always create dishes that I can be proud of, to stimulate all six senses, including the mind, and offer the trifecta of captivating aesthetics, delicious food, and a wonderful atmosphere.

What is it about fish that inspires your cooking?

To be very specific, sardines inspire my cooking. Compared to other fish, there are a variety of ways to cook them and on top of that, they are highly nutritious. They are often overshadowed by other fish that are considered more desirable but I see their true value.

If you could prepare a meal paired with Krug for anyone in the world, who would it be?

My biggest dream is to serve chirashizushi and Krug to Mr Shigeo Nagashima, a Japanese former professional baseball player and manager who remains the most revered player in Japanese baseball history.

Can you tell us about an unforgettable experience with Krug Champagne?

I clearly remember the first time I purchased a bottle of Krug. I was about 28 years old and still training so it was a reward to myself at the very end of the year. Krug was the Champagne I had always yearned for and, as we all know, you never forget your first taste.

Krug x Fish: Chirashizushi mille-feuille by Yukiyoyoshi Tada
Krug Grande Cuvee

Pairing

Chirashizushi mille-feuille & Krug Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition

(Catch of the day rice, gari, calabash shavings, shiitake, egg, seaweed)

The chef’s inspiration

I am from Osaka, the homeland of sushi, and want everyone to know that there is more to sushi than nigari. In Japan, people associate eating chirashizushi with celebratory occasions. My concept was to use multiple traditional Japanese cooking methods to be able to serve a dish full of colours and flavours that would be delicious even when cold. On top of that, I like the idea that people can enjoy this dish at any stage of a meal.

Pairing notes

By bringing many different ingredients together, this dish expresses a fullness of favours, yet within each bite there is balance. Its blend of multiple ingredients and textures working together in harmony echoes the sensations of Krug Grande Cuvée.

Andrew Fairlie
Andrew Fairlie

ANDREW FAIRLIE | Auchterarder, Scotland

What do you find so inspiring about fish?

Fish is one of the most evocative foods, best when treated as simply as possible. Its flesh is more delicate than meat so once you understand the cooking temperature and methods best suited to the various species, you can have great fun.

What are the secrets to teasing out the favours in fish?

First, you must understand the fish’s genetic make-up, which can vary greatly from one species to another. Temperature is also key. As soon as a fish reaches 40°C, it starts to break down and exude juice. Anything above 50°C and it will be overcooked, lose juice and become dry.

What comes to mind when you think of Krug Champagne?

More than a beautiful Champagne, I think of how elegantly it accompanies food and how often it is the definitive match for dishes with robust ingredients or flavours.

Can you share an unforgettable experience with Krug Grande Cuvée?

It has to be my first introduction to Krug 35 years ago after winning a scholarship organised by Michel Roux which gave me the chance to work in any three-Michelin star restaurant in France. I visited him to discuss (we settled for Michel Guerard at Les Prés d’Eugénie) and he handed me a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée to celebrate.

Krug x Fish: Seaweed broth with poached red mullet
Krug X Fish: Krug Grande Cuvée 160ème Édition

Pairing

Seaweed broth with poached red mullet & Krug Grande Cuvée 160ème Édition

(Red mullet, konbu, shiitake, bonito, tomato)

The chef’s inspiration

The dish appears simple but the konbu and very thin shavings of bonito create a complex layer of favours. It reminds me of my all-too-brief trip to Japan.

Pairing notes

The fullness of flavours and aromas in Krug Grande Cuvée matches perfectly with the perceived simplicity of the poached fish and brings out the umami present in the broth.

Michael Cimarusti
Michael Cimarusti

MICHAEL CIMARUSTI | California, U.S.A.

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned in the kitchen?

The toughest lesson to learn in any creative endeavour is to be able to take a step back from your work and evaluate it objectively. There is a stark difference between a dish I sketch out on paper and what it becomes when I begin working with my hands and testing it out.

Why does fish inspire your cooking?

Wild fish are far less dependable than any other type of protein – they are seasonal and elusive and the last truly wild food that is a consistent part of our diet. As such, they remain mysterious and precious.

What comes to mind when you think of Krug Champagne?

More than a beautiful Champagne, I think of how elegantly it accompanies food and how often it is the definitive match for dishes with robust ingredients or flavours.

Can you share an unforgettable experience with Krug Grande Cuvée?

It has to be my first introduction to Krug 35 years ago after winning a scholarship organised by Michel Roux which gave me the chance to work in any three-Michelin star restaurant in France. I visited him to discuss (we settled for Michel Guerard at Les Prés d’Eugénie) and he handed me a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée to celebrate.

Krug x Fish: John Dory gently grilled with fennel and a light bone jus
Krug x Fish: Krug Grande Cuvée 161ème Édition

Pairing

John Dory gently grilled with fennel and a light bone jus & Krug Grande Cuvée 161ème Édition

(John Dory, fennel, leek, shallot, tomato, lemon, espelette pepper)

The chef’s inspiration

This dish highlights bright and assertive favours that perfectly complement fresh fish, without overcomplicating it.

Pairing notes

The herbaceousness of the broth and the richness from the fish bones and cured pork pair well with Krug Grande Cuvée. The Champagne has a beautifully balanced freshness combined with a backbone that allows it to complement the strong favours of the fish and the light hints of smoke it reveals.

Heiko Nieder
Heiko Nieder

HEIKO NIEDER | Zurich, Switzerland

How would you describe your cooking style?

My cuisine is light and modern with a touch of unexpected favours. At my restaurant, we may present our guests with a small spoon of cornichon mixed with tarragon, wasabi, and lychee juice. The lychee sphere creates a subtle yet surprising sweet-sour spicy flavour bomb in the mouth.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned in the kitchen?

That we can never stop learning. We must keep pushing ourselves forward.

If you could prepare a meal paired with Krug for anyone in the world, who would it be?

For my wife – she deserves it most! My work hours are intense and she has devoted herself to our family. For that, she deserves a special moment.

Can you share an unforgettable experience with Krug?

I visited the House of Krug in 2016 for a tasting, right where the Champagne is created. It is one thing to enjoy a glass of Krug, it is another to savour it at the heart of its terroir.

What was special for you about this adventure?

The only fishing I tend to do is by phone or email as when you live in Switzerland, orders for fish tend to be placed from afar. This journey was a rare opportunity to see the process from start to finish and to experience it alongside my peers. It puts our professions into perspective.

Krug x Fish Scorpion fish with beetroot, coconut, dried apricot, curry and dill
Krug x Fish: Krug Rosé 21ème Édition

Pairing

Scorpion fish with beetroot, coconut, dried apricot, curry and dill & Krug Rosé 21ème Édition

(Scorpion fish, Jaipur curry, red curry, marinated beetroot, dried apricot, coconut milk, lime, dill)

The chef’s inspiration

My creative process is not so easily defined and the inspiration is often elusive. I think of a flavour or ingredient, then another, then another and see if it works. Everything falls into place organically after several rounds of experimentation. With this dish, I wanted to try adapting an existing creation I like to pair with Krug Rosé: a dish of braised lamb shoulder on the menu at my restaurant.

Pairing notes

The spicy and fruity favours from the beetroot combined with the coconut and curry complement Krug Rosé’s surprising spiciness. The elegant notes of fruit in Krug Rosé and the Champagne’s astonishing breadth and depth make it a perfect choice for a savoury dish such as this.