`All aboard a corking evening on the Orient Express`- those are words I never thoughts I`d hear hollered at me opposite Starbucks in Victoria station. But there I was, mid week in evening gown sipping on champagne ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime courtesy of Laurent Perrier and The Orient Express. These two luxury companies collaborated on a unique culinary experience for the first time this November; a carefully crafted five star dinner complimented by a selection of exquisite Laurent Perrier champagnes.
Bagpipes signalled the start to the evening, I followed my fellow passengers (all dressed to the nines) aboard the beautifully restored British Pullman otherwise known as Gwen. Suddenly we were back in the 1930`s, a time of elegance and glamour for the rich, a period where commuting was yet to become a dirty word.
Everything sparkled and shined: gleaming crystal glasses, walnut walls, brass furnishings and intricate marquetry. The train staff fussed around us dressed in regal uniform, topping up our glasses, spoiling us with tiny canapés and baskets of warm bread.
Ensconced in our own private cabin we sat back and let the journey begin, starting with a visit from the Laurent Perrier master of wine himself, David Hesketh.
David talked us through the varying champagnes and reasons behind their pecking order. A chilled glass of Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut kicked off the evening, the perfect accompaniment to a delicate crab, smoked tuna and scallop starter. In contrast the rich and rounded Grand Siecle saw us through a wonderful main course of seared guinea fowl, and confit of rabbit followed by a divine cheese course of smoked Stilton, truffled rarebit and quince jelly. All the while we chugged past the North downs, glimpsing the occasional `pedestrian` train that made our sumptuous armchairs and lavish meal all the more delicious!
Glowing from the champagne and rich food the conversation only came to an abrupt stop when a beautiful assiette of desserts arrived on our table. And what better to drink with a warm chocolate brownie and spiced plum tart than Laurent Perrier rose? The prettiest of their champagne family, her fruity flavours and floral notes make the perfect special guest at the table.
Fortunately there was time for some hot bitter coffee to wake me up in time for the real world and our arrival back in London. I grabbed the Orient`s magazine on the way out eager to see where else they could take me. – Venice, Paris, New York anyone?! Things have moved on since 1883. Now they run rail adventures in 24 countries across five continents! Food for thought indeed!!
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