A few weeks ago I was invited to travel to Lyon, France with Nespresso to experience their latest Atelier and the gastronomic festival Bocuse d’Or, of which they were the official partner. The Bocuse d’Or the world renowned event brings together chefs from the world over, takes place every two years in Lyon.
To celebrate this gastronomic festival, Nespresso invited the worlds press and media to the Nespresso Atelier for a series of workshops, tastings and a gastronomic feast.
Arriving in Lyon we were whisked immediately to our hotel to meet the other guest for this prestigious event, before heading off to the Atelier in the heart of the business district of Lyon. Located in one of the only remaining silk manufacturers in France, we were treated to a series of workshops.
The workshops were based around three types of coffee, two exceptional Grands Crus (Nepal Lamjung and Kilimanjaro Peaberry- which have been specially created by Nespresso for Haute Cuisine) and the newly launched Limited Edition Selection Vintage.
Our first workshop was with Dutch Michelin Star chef Edwin Vinke of Krommewatergang restaurant who shared with us a few interesting dishes which had been prepared with the two Grands Crus. Delicicate flavours with unique presentation wowed us, as we dipped our glass lollipops into a creamy fois gras mousse, following it with a sip of the coffee. The flavours married seamlessly.
The next workshop was learning to make our own latte art with the latest of Nespresso’s coffee machines, the Creatista, launching this month. A beautiful looking machine with the ability to make delicious barista style milk coffees, all with a touch of a button. After being shown how to make the latte’s using the machine, we all had a go at make a bird or a heart in our coffee. With mixed results, it is definitely something to practice! Mine looked like a dollop rather than a pretty heart.
The third and final workshop was celebrating the newly launched limited edition aged coffee, liking it’s ageing process with fine wines, cheeses and of course whiskey. We listened to Charles Maclean tell us about Scottish whiskey and how it is aged and kept in oak barrels. Followed by a talk by Caston of Nespresso who explained that this limited edition is aged in a similar way, and kept for years to mature the flavour.
The coffee was selected back in 2014 by the Nespresso experts. A promising fresh Arabica bean from the lush Colombian Highlands was carefully selected and then stored under controlled conditions to create this limited edition aged coffee. A complex taste profile with elegant woodiness and soft fruity notes. During the talk we tasted the coffee and the whiskey, with each sip the flavours of both slowly developed in our mouths.
That evening we returned to the silk factory for a fine dining experience with Michelin Star chef Edwin Vinke and his team. The room was a styling masterpiece, with french copper pots hanging from the ceiling and the tables decorated with silver ware and white linen. Finding my seat I saw that each table setting had a black box laid. Inside was our starter.
Small bowls of different seafood, cockles, mussels etc all cured beautifully, tasting fresh like the ocean. Drama with the first course, and set the scene for the following dishes.
Dish after dish, we were treated to the most beautiful of meal. Fresh seafood married with the Grands Cru, so subtly flavoured that one wasn’t over powering the other. Fresh oysters in pretty decorated shells, in delft blue and gold.
We ate well that night, with fantastic conversation and delicious wine. What more could we have wanted.
The following day we travelled to the Bocuse d’Or festival to see the chefs compete. Well it was nothing like I expected. The crowd of spectators cheering and screaming like we were watching a football match. Flag waving, cow bell shaking – it was more like the Olympics than a food festival. So much pride.
Collaboration Note: Thank you to Nespresso for inviting me along on this special event. All words, thoughts and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.