Features 4 minutes 29 April 2024

Exploring Korean Food and Champagne Pairing: A Culinary Collaboration by Kwonsooksoo and Soigne

Discover an authentic culinary journey with a unique fusion of Korean cuisine and champagne, curated by the talented chefs from Seoul's prestigious Michelin 2-Star Restaurants, Kwonsooksoo and Soigne.

There's a shared element between Michelin-starred restaurants and Maison Mumm RSRV champagne: "stars." At Michelin-selected restaurants, chefs serve dishes with exceptional care, akin to stars adorning the table, to ensure guests have the finest experience. Meanwhile, Maison Mumm's exclusive champagne collection, RSRV, previously reserved for select acquaintances or esteemed guests, promises unforgettable moments with its effervescent brilliance in every glass. Dating back to 1838, this collection offers a perfect pairing of delectable cuisine and exquisite wine, now available at two Michelin-starred restaurants in Seoul, embodying Maison's philosophy: "Only the Best."

Korean Cuisine and Champagne: A Delightful Harmony

Chefs Woojoong Kwon of Kwonsooksoo and Jun Lee of Soigne share a mutual appreciation for champagne. For Chef Woojoong Kwon, champagne is akin to "an old friend who soothes fatigue and brightens the end of the day at home after work." Renowned for his fondness for champagne, Chef Kwon indulges in a bottle weekly, savoring a glass after work and often sharing it with others.
In contrast, Chef Jun Lee views champagne as a symbol of fostering connections between people. Merely by raising the same champagne glasses, individuals can feel an immediate bond. Chef Lee believes champagne is the ideal complement to Korean cuisine, spanning from light to spicy dishes, predominantly rice-based. Its effervescence and acidity perfectly complement the diverse flavors of Korean food.
Both chefs agree that Korean cuisine and champagne make a harmonious pairing. According to Chef Woojoong Kwon, sour and cold Korean dishes such as kimchi or appetizers featuring savory pine nut puree are particularly enhanced when enjoyed alongside champagne.

Champagne and Korean Cuisine Pairing by Kwonsooksoo and Soigne

The RSRV collection, derived from the house's finest Cuvées gifted over the past two centuries and meticulously preserved under the initials "RSRV" in the cellars, represents a pinnacle of champagne craftsmanship, crafted solely from Grand Cru grapes. Kwonsooksoo and Soigne present a unique culinary offering designed to complement the RSRV Cuvee Blanc 2015 vintage, as well as the RSRV Cuvée 4.5 and RSRV Cuvee Laloo 2008 vintage champagnes.

Kwonsooksoo's Jirisan Caviar with Three Varieties of Soy Sauce
With Maison Mumm RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2015

After delicately steaming abalone for three hours in Korean rice wine (Cheongju), it's minced and seasoned with low-temperature compressed sesame oil, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Then, it's combined with Osetra caviar from Jirisan Mountain, infused with a hint of apple tree smoke. Kwonsooksoo offers a choice of three soy sauces for this dish: a 43-year-old family recipe, fish soy sauce crafted since the restaurant's inception in 2016, and a regular soy sauce made in 2019. Guests can select their preferred soy sauce to enhance their caviar experience, as each offers unique flavors and characteristics.

Paired with this exquisite dish is the RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2015 vintage champagne, renowned for its freshness derived from 100% top-grade Chardonnay grapes. This champagne captures the essence of hand-harvested grapes from the Cramant region, boasting a delicate, silky texture and vibrant acidity. The subtle smokiness of the caviar harmonizes with the crispness of the Blanc de Blanc champagne, setting the stage for a delightful culinary journey.


Soigne's Bisque Tartlets
With Maison Mumm RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2015

This delicate tartlet features a crisp, thin crust filled with a bisque sauce crafted from shrimp shells, complemented by tender sweet shrimp, smoked trout eggs, and a savory soy perilla oil mayonnaise. The marriage of rich crustacean flavors and delicate sea ingredients creates a sophisticated interplay of tastes and textures.

Chef Jun Lee describes the dish as a small yet intense bite that pairs beautifully with the RSRV Blanc de Blanc 2015 vintage champagne. Soigne's head sommelier, Dowan Kim, explains that the key to pairing lies in balancing the intensity of the food with the wine. The Blanc de Blanc, characterized by its fresh acidity and vibrant citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit, harmonizes perfectly with the savory umami of the crustaceans, creating a delightful sensory experience.

Kwonsooksoo's Savory Mulhoe with Black Sea Bream and Flatfish
with Maison Mumm RSRV Cuvée 4.5

Mulhoe, a traditional Korean cold raw fish soup, is often enjoyed as a refreshing summer dish. However, Kwonsooksoo offers a unique twist by presenting a savory and salty version, featuring soybean paste directly incorporated into cold oyster broth to accentuate the authentic essence of Korean cuisine. The dish captures the winter season's beauty by infusing rich sea aromas through seasoned seaweed, a winter delicacy, and Bang-a leaves, typical of Tongyeong, the birthplace of Korean oysters. This reinterpretation of mulhoe, traditionally associated with summer, embodies the allure of winter flavors.

Paired with this innovative dish is the 'RSRV Cuvée 4.5', a champagne that effortlessly balances intensity and elegance, tantalizing the palate. Crafted from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes sourced from five different regions, aged for over four years, this champagne boasts a rich aroma redolent of ripe apricots, sweet honey, and hints of savory brioche. Its delicate nuances complement the umami of Kwonsooksoo's mulhoe, elevating the dining experience to new heights of culinary delight.

Soigne's Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Broth
with Maison Mumm RSRV Cuvée 4.5

While Korea's barbecue culture enjoys global recognition, this menu explores another facet of Korean culinary heritage: boiled pork soup. Featuring tender pork tenderloin, kelp, and mustard seeds in an enticing parmesan broth, this dish adds a modern twist with a Western touch. By melding two authentic recipes from Korean and Italian traditions, the dish harmonizes familiarity and novelty, intriguing discerning palates.

Paired with Soigne's pork soup is the RSRV Cuvée 4.5 Champagne, enhancing the layers of flavor within the dish. The succulent pork tenderloin and umami-rich broth are complemented by the subtle honey notes and vibrant acidity of the champagne, resulting in a complex taste profile. Despite its richness, the champagne's flavor remains impressive, offering versatility that enhances or complements the dish's weightiness. Sommelier Kim highlights Cuvée 4.5 Champagne's adaptability in both mouthfeel and aroma, adding depth and diversity to the dining experience.

Kwonsooksoo and Soigne’s Hanwoo dish
with Maison Mumm RSRV Cuvée Lalou 2008

Kwonsooksoo's renowned tteok-galbi is a testament to tradition upheld with passion. Chef Kwon's dedication to preserving this classic delicacy shines through, as he recounts its fading presence in Korean cuisine over the years. Determined to revive its authenticity, Kwonsooksoo's tteok-galbi boasts succulent Korean beef ribs, accompanied by Chef Kwon's prized wild mushrooms sourced painstakingly from the mountains. These elusive ingredients, sought after by even seasoned herbalists, are a labor of love for Chef Kwon, who personally procures and meticulously prepares them to enhance every dish.

Meanwhile, Soigne's sirloin steak captivates with its exquisite preparation, featuring a perfectly seared surface and an hour-long rest for utmost tenderness. Complementing this culinary marvel is Soigne's unique take on kimchi, where Chef Jun Lee elevates the humble romaine lettuce into a flavorful accompaniment. Charred over open flames to enhance its depth, the romaine leaves are then transformed into a savory kimchi with a blend of pesto, anchovy, and Parmesan cheese, harmonizing beautifully with the steak.
Pairing flawlessly with these culinary treasures is the RSRV Cuvée Lalou 2008 vintage champagne, a testament to excellence crafted over a decade. This golden elixir, meticulously blended from the finest Grand Cru wines, delights with notes of roasted almonds and ripe fruits, perfectly complementing the rich flavors of Korean beef, the earthy aroma of wild mushrooms, and the vibrant texture of romaine kimchi. Together, they create a symphony of flavors that elevates the dining experience to new heights.

Embodying the ethos of "Only the Best," shared by Maison Mumm and Michelin-starred restaurants’ chefs alike, this culinary journey invites you to savor the pinnacle of gastronomic excellence. Join us in celebrating the artistry of cuisine and the joy of shared moments with loved ones, as we create unforgettable memories together.

All Photos by JULIA LEE

Warning: Excessive alcohol consumption can result in adverse health effects such as stroke, memory loss, or dementia. Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects in newborns.
Drink Responsibly: This content is intended for individuals over the legal drinking age of 19. Product: Maison Mumm RSRV, Country: France, Distributor: Pernod Ricard Korea, restricted under 19 for sale


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