A couple weeks ago I participated in a pretty special gastronomical event – the Martell Tricentenaire Gala Dinner at Genting Highland. I think it is safe to say that having a product on the market for 300 years is an amazing feat.
Martell Tricentenaire Gala Dinner, Genting Highland
When the house of Martell was founded in 1715, the Ottoman Empire still exists, United States as a country has yet to be formed for another 60 years, and KangXi emperor was ruling China (there’s a joke that goes “which Chinese emporer is blind?”). Who would have thought that the same product still exists after a dozen generations later?
Martell Cordon Bleu, Martell Cordon Bleu 1912, Martell XO
To celebrate this occasion, Martell hosted a grand gala dinner at Genting International Convention Centre, and I was very lucky to be among the invitees. The gala dinner drew from the tradition of Jean Martell, the creator of this fine cognac 300 years ago, who loved to host his friends at Chateau de Chanteloup, purchased by the Martell family to receive prestigious personalities from around the world.
As a celebration of the art of gastronomy, Martell arranged for Elegantology to prepare food. I’ve sampled their food on a previous occasion before, so you could say that I have some high expectations.
Citrus Infused King Prawn & Salmon Tartare
We started the night with Citrus Infused King Prawn and Salmon Tartare. The dish came with poached king prawns on skewer with avocado, and marinated salmon tartare & a side of yee sang to keep honor the Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition of “Lou Sang” (which was done on stage as well). We paired the starter with Martell Cordon Bleu.
Black Chicken Ginseng Soup with Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Scallops, Fish Maw
The second dish was not on the menu, but turned out to be our favorite of the night. A luxurious black chicken ginseng soup that is laden with abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, fish maw, and mushroom.
It was one of the best double boiled soup I’ve ever had, I would place it even higher than the one from Elegant Inn, which I really liked. It was complex, sweet, and yet not overly thick or complicated. If I can have one soup for the rest of my life, it’ll be a toss up between this and the best of what bak kut teh can offer.
Peppercorn Marinated Smoked Duck & Foie Gras Terrine
Sea Bass, Steamed on Rich and Spicy Broth Infused with Tumeric & Egg
Continuing with the European theme, we then had peppercorn marinated smoked duck & foie gras terrine served on onion confit and raspberry vinaigrette. Smoked duck did not disappoint, but I had wished that they would serve foie gras as is instead of in the form of terrine. Then again, if you have to prepare food for some 1000 people, I suppose getting perfectly seared foie gras and served while hot may be a tall order.
Next up was steamed sea bass on rich and spicy broth infused with turmeric and egg white on asparagus. We paired this seafood with Martell Cordon Bleu 1912, a special re-edition of the classic cognac Martell Cordon Bleu, originally created by Edouard Martell in 1912.
The spicy broth gave the dish a hint of South Asian style, which is just as well since a slice of pita bread is served along side with the fish. Quite a bold play, and I think it worked.
Mediterranean Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb
Mediterranean Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb was our main dish – oven baked lamb with a medley of braised rice cake, cep mushroom essence and truffle. The lamb went really well with Martell XO, as with any perfectly prepared red meat would.
The herbal crust gave the lamb a bit of texture and character, while the truffle infused sauce made it richer, thus perfect for XO as a companion.
Ashley, KY, Haze, Garick, Sam, Michael
We did not stay for dessert as we had something planned early in next morning. The gala dinner, like other Martell gastronomy events I had the privilege to attend, was grand and impressive. I want to thank Angie for the invitation, until next time!
Right after participating as a guest speaker at “A Food Biz Workshop” a week ago where I found out that some 80% food business fails within the first two years of operation, I got to attend an event hosted by one that represents the other extreme end – the Martell Pure Gourmet event by the brand that has been in existence since 1715.
Yeap, that’s just a year shy of 300, with perhaps one of the oldest single product, the Martell VSOP being in the market since 1831.
Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015
While last year’s dinner was hosted at JW Marriott, Martell chose the Grand Imperial Chinese restaurant at Hartamas Shopping Centre for this year’s annual Pure Gourmet. I was very delighted and honoured to be invited to this year’s dinner again after having had a very good experience last year.
I was surprised that Malaysia actually happened to be the 2nd largest market in the world for Martell after China, and I guess this is partly due to the way we consume cognac, which, fortunately or not, was in full display during the dinner with many happily cheering each other “Happy Birthday to You” while emptying their glasses as the night went on.
P/S: It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, but we had a lot of fun.
Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop
Anyway, pure gourmet is about the blend of exquisite ingredients, skills, and passion in the creation of inspiring dishes, as with how each bottle of Martell cognac is created, so lets get on with the dinner.
We started out with chilled Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear accompanied deep fried scallop wrapped with German vermicelli rice noodle. A pretty descriptive dish and one that has several characters all rolled into one.
The jelly fish and pigs ear with the softer texture and a more complex taste, and deep fried scallop an explosion of seafood sweetness beneath the the crispy and rawer tasting vermicelli. This was paired with Martell V.S.O.P.
baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu
Next up was a relatively unpretentious baked water king prawn with cheese to go with the very recognizable Martell Cordon Bleu, perhaps the gold standard of cognac.
The execution of the prawn was on the dot, I really dug into the head and savour the juices out of this. Though this is probably the only dish I could come close to replicating at home, it was also one of my favorites.
deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon
Third dish of the night was deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon (also known as Ayu fish).
Found in the rivers and lakes around Hokkaido, this fresh water fish is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, which was brought out to its fullest potential when paired with Martell Cordon Bleu.
pan fried lamb cutlet with chef’s special sauce, paired with Martell XO
Following the fish, we had the pan fried lamb cutlet with Chef’s special sauce to go with Martell XO.
Perhaps I was more accustomed to Western style of lamb cutlet preparation, it took a while to appreciate the more traditional Chinese preparation method of the red meat that is inherently more cooked. In this instance, the sauce takes center stage with the meat playing supporting role.
braised spaghetti w/ sliced abalone, black truffle & mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective
Last dish before dessert was the braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle and mushroom. The hint of black truffle went well with abalone, and the fine angel hair spaghetti was the right choice to soak up the flavour. We just wished that it was a whole abalone instead (who doesn’t?).
The aroma and elegance of Martell Chanteloup Perspective complimented the dish perfectly.
Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra
Finally, we end the dinner with a host of three desserts prepared by Grand Imperial and had the pleasure to pair them with Martell Creation Grand Extra, the silky smooth and yet very powerful tasting cognac. A unique taste to end a pretty unique and special dinner.
and we were cheering to each other “happy birthday to you”.. yes, it’s a “trend”
A big thank you to Siew Kheng for the invitation, and hopefully we’ll have the privilege to be a part of this again next year!
Lot F33 – F35, First Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre
No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.163480, 101.656136
Tel: 03-6201 9777