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Cognac 101: Unveiling Martell’s fine spirits through food pairings
by Angelique Borja

When one hears the word cognac, it often brings to mind images of sophisticated drawing rooms, exquisitely designed dining areas or luxurious views – places and affairs where royalty and the distinguished gather and celebrate. This exceptional spirit, which is known for its elegant, balanced, and refined taste, has long been the liquor of choice of those with discerning palates. Some cognac connoisseurs even hold this premium spirit in a position of reverence that it is reserved and enjoyed only during momentous occasions.

Cognac is a type of brandy produced exclusively in the region of Cognac in Western France. It must be aged for at least two years in French oak barrels and have an alcohol content of 40%. One of the oldest and most established cognac houses in France is Martell, producing premium cognacs since 1715. Founded by Jean Martell, the brand became renowned for its superior cognac in the 20th century and patronized by royals. Today, Martell’s incomparable line of cognacs and spirits continue to capture the hearts and palates of those who prefer fine drinks.

Fine Martell cognacs VSOP, XO, and Cordon Bleu were presented during the luxury pairing and tasting at Raffles Makati last October 27, 2017.

In keeping with Martell’s philosophy of enhancing each individual’s tasting experience, the brand has introduced another novel way of enjoying cognac through food pairings. In an intimate gathering at the Raffles Salon, Martell Brand Ambassador Pierre Boyer, an international expert in tastings, cognac, wine, and spirits, showed attendees how to properly unveil the complexity of each type of cognac through sensory perception that could be further enhanced with the help of meticulously prepared food.

Martell Brand Ambassador Pierre Boyer

For starters, Mahi-Mahi carpaccio with tomato dressing and mango was paired Martell VSOP-based cocktail. Called “The Perfect Serve,” this cocktail puts the sense of ritual in serving Martell at the heart of cocktail making. Made with Martell VSOP, chilled mineral water and orange zest, this cocktail is easy to create. It’s the simple details that work to release even more of the flavors and aromas of Martell VSOP.

The VSOP, served as a cocktail demonstrates the versatility of the drink. The golden amber Martell VSOP’s bittersweet, soft aroma that is akin to lime, licorice and crystallized raisin, plum and quince, translates to a mellow, round bodied, crystallized fruity taste that is perfect for cocktails.

For the main course, guests enjoyed the Sirloin with Béarnaise sauce and French fries paired with Martell XO. XO is fruity and more intense. Its spicy notes go well with heavier meat dishes, such as the sirloin. The bold flavor of XO also helps bring out the rich buttery taste of the bernaise sauce.

Martell’s dark gold, amber-colored XO on the other has spicy, rich and intense tasting notes. It also has a rounded and fruity taste reminiscent of walnuts and figs.

To cap off the delectable meal, Chocolate religieuse with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream along with Martell’s Cordon Bleu (CB) was served. Cordon Bleu is a very unique cognac with its more mellow, smooth and rounded flavor. The lighter flavor of the cognac matches well with the chocolate and fruity flavors of the dessert.

The luxury tasting event proved that Martell cognacs were as versatile as they were complex and could be enjoyed at an occasion – whether during quiet after dinner talks, rousing celebratory gatherings or at any unforgettable sit-down dinner. Explore, experience, and enjoy the intricate flavors from a glass of Martell Cognac.

To know more about Martell, visit their Facebook page.

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