Mexican food and champagne – what sounds like a very unusual and unlikely combination actually turns out to be a match made in heaven.

An Effervescent Journey to Mexico's Culinary World

The Jakarta Chapter of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champage (OCC) together with the Ambassador of Mexico to Indonesia, H.E. Federico Salas, organized a dinner at the Ambassador’s residence on October 20 to show that it is not a contradiction of terms to pair Mexican cuisine with champagne.

“For the longest time, people always perceive that Mexican food is tacos, doritos and fajitas – and it’s true, it is Mexican food that we like and enjoy but it’s also much more than that,” the Ambassador said. “In the last decade or so, Mexican cuisine has become much more sophisticated and international. Some of the best restaurants in the world are now located in Mexico, and Mexican food is just as sophisticated, fine and tasteful as any cuisine in the world.”

Eva Iskandar, the Consul of OCC’s Jakarta Chapter said that she is always trying to organize special and unique events in order to showcase the versatility of champagne.

“The Singapore Chapter once paired Indian food with champagne, and in Hongkong it is paired with Chinese food, so why not Mexican food?”, she said.

An Effervescent Journey to Mexico's Culinary World

OCC was founded in France in the mid 17th century but disappeared shortly before the revolution, only to be reborn in 1956. The Jakarta Chapter was added one year ago. Unlike other champagne wine fraternities, the OCC embraces the diversity of wines of Champagne in general and doesn’t confine itself to a particular “cru” or variety of grape.

That evening, Chef Manuel Bernal Sanchez served a carefully crafted five-course menu that gave traditional Mexican dishes a modern – and sometimes Indonesian-specific – twist.

The dinner started off with a refreshing Mekayiki Ceviche (raw swordfish marinated in three citrus, pico de gallo, pomegranates, avocado, roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes), followed by what seemed to be most diner’s favourite, the Tostada de Pato (duck confit on crispy tortilla, beans, mayo chipotle, mango tomato relish, spicy guacamole and borraccha sauce).

Guests were encouraged to eat Hamachi Tikinchik Taco (grilled yellow tail tuna in achiote sauce, French fries, pickles, pineapple salad and chilpaya sauce) with their hands rather than using cutlery, and many did just that, adding to the relaxed atmosphere of the night.

An Effervescent Journey to Mexico's Culinary World

As main course, diners were treated to Rib Eye Mole (traditional Mexican 36-spices sauce, grilled rib eye, and bocconcini cheese), before finishing off the exquisite menu with the Mexican Vanilla and Cinnamon Trio Dessert, consisting of roasted banana in Gorgonzola and beans sauce, arroz con leche and churros.

Each course was paired with a glass of bubbly of the House of Champagne Lanson, one of the very first champagne houses founded in 1760 by Francois Delamotte. The house is known for using a traditional wine-making method and emphasizing the fruit and richness of aromas in its wines. The champagne for the dinner was provided by wine importer Dimatique.

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.