The final, which took place in July 2019, saw the finalists present their dessert pairing, which was judged on concept, storytelling, appearance, creativity, brand knowledge, taste and wow-factor.
All 12 participating duos created some truly innovative and delicious variations at an incredible standard, making it a tough competition for the judging panel, headed up by two-Michelin star chef Claude Bosi and including Imbibe editor Chris Losh.
The top five dessert pairings were revealed in no particular order:
The duo created a delicious dessert made of three parts: a dark chocolate ganache, malt mousse, and coffee ice cream, with sour cherry gel infused with Rémy Martin XO, fresh cherries in vanilla syrup, and pecan cocoa nibs crumble. They said of their inspiration
“Our natural instinct was to use chocolate; the cherry which is seasonal at the moment we found complimented the bitter and sweetness of XO perfectly and the addition of malt was inspired by a whisky visit”.
Created a chocolate, hazelnut and coffee dessert. “We wanted to create a gastronomic experience of drinking cognac with the classic pairings of coffee and chocolate which is traditionally paired with XO – this is our take on that.”
Merging their restaurant name and the surname of the Cognac, Mere aptly dubbed their creation as the Mere Martin, a delicious layered combination of gianduja feuilletine, hazelnut dacquoise, confit grapefruit and caramelised grapefruit mousse, topped with earl grey ice cream. This winning concoction was inspired by the terroir which is of huge importance to Rémy Martin:
“We wanted to bring the terroir and cognac onto the plate. The dessert is essentially a map of the heart of the Cognac Region: the outer circle of grapefruit and hazelnut and the astina crisp indicates Petite Champagne and the middle is Grande Champagne. The dessert is layered to represent the terroir and the meticulous chalky soil and consists of gianduja feuilletine, hazelnut dacquoise, confit grapefruit and caramelised grapefruit mousse. Topped with earl grey ice cream.”
This enthusiastic pair created a work of art literally. Their dessert was named Operatic and was presented on a photo frame with a picture of the vineyard. A delicious dacquoise sponge from hazelnuts filled with caramel sauce is topped with three layers: a parmesan tuile with citrus and ginger paste, a chocolate tuile ganache with fig jam and a delicate opaline sugar tuile with hazelnut diplomatico.
“We’re bringing everything back to basics the land is agriculture the vines (the tuile) is what’s discarded. The dessert is like an opera symphony with different layers and will never be the same, even if enjoyed multiple times.”
Based in Kent, this duo named their dessert Walk through the Kentish Countryside. A delicious offering was split in two parts: elderflower, wood sorrel and tabory sorbet was served with wild strawberry consume (inside a round transparent glass). The second was a white chocolate and pea truffle with tempura elderflower designed to be enjoyed with Rémy Martin XO neat.
“We wanted to showcase the drink throughout the seasons with seasonal fruit so it’s relevant throughout the year, so it will work for autumn fruit like plums too.”
The winning teams will enjoy the ultimate trip to Cognac in January 2020!
Meanwhile consumers can indulge their sweet tooth and try the winning dessert pairings at the respective restaurants from October through to Christmas!
Photographs by Thomas Alexander
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