Christmas in Style with Pernod Ricard at the Ivy:
Those of us who are self-employed or freelance may gain a lot of personal freedom. But, at times I miss the camaraderie of the office. In particular at Christmas time; while I wouldn’t claim to be a party girl, at heart I do enjoy Christmas parties. This year I was thrilled to be invited along to the Pernod Ricard Christmas lunch at the Ivy. I have to admit that not just a little of that was the location – the recently re-opened Ivy restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden. And, any invitation which arrives with ‘from 12.30 to 4pm’ is, well, promising!
A leader in the Wine and Spirits industry, Pernod Ricard own and manage many fine brands, including Perrier Jouet, Chivas Regal and Plymouth Gin. So, the wonderful aperitif cocktails and champagne shouldn’t have been a surprise. All served in the cosy, wood panelled upstairs dining room at The Ivy. I was quite happy at this stage to stick to drinking Perrier Jouet. Actually I’d be quite happy to stick to drinking Perrier Jouet any time.
Seated at tables for 12 guests, we started with a classic seafood cocktail. I loved the pairing with Brancott Estate Terroir Series Sauvignon Blanc which was light, citrussy and a great complement for the seafood with avocado.
Then, a classic turkey main course – perfectly cooked, with plenty of sprouts, stuffing, pigs in blankets and roasties. Here the pairing was a choice of Campo Viejo Reserva 2010 or Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2014. I’d already tried the Campo Viejo Rioja Grand Reserva 2009 with our Copas turkey a few weeks earlier so I was curious to see how the 2010 would work. I was quite impressed. It seemed just a little more robust and an easier match than the Grand Reserva – though that may simply have been the fact I wasn’t cooking the meal we were eating!
Finally a lighter take on Christmas pudding in the form of a Christmas pudding souffle. It was paired with Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz NV – a light sparkling red wine that worked very well to complement the delicate spice of dessert.
Then, entertainment and post lunch cocktails. An intimate set by Scouting for Girls, who I thought did an admirable job of keeping everyone amused.
It was also enough of a distraction to stop us all drinking too many of the cocktails. Though in my case I did indulge in a rather delicious but unnecessary Old Fashioned.
Apart from reaffirming my love for an Old Fashioned, the afternoon was a good chance to try a selection of wines that work well through the festive season.
The ultimate aperitif for me is a glass of Perrier Jouet champagne. But, a good sparkling wine is an excellent alternative if your budget is tight. I loved the Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay, Pinot Noir sparkling wine I tried recently.
From New Zealand, the Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc we enjoyed with our seafood starter would work well with smoked salmon or with any seafood dish in a creamy sauce. I think it would probably also pair with light cheese dishes too.
Campo Viejo offers a whole range of good quality Spanish wines. The Reserva and Grand Reserva are soft, fruity and smooth and balanced on the palate. I’d like to try them with game. Perhaps a good wine for New Year’s Eve?
With many thanks to Pernod Ricard and the Ivy