An Interview with Estelle Touzet
We have begun sharing interviews conducted by our very own, Jeff Puech, who lives “on location” in Bordeaux, France. He will interview some of the great names of the culinary world and we will share these rare moments with our readers.
Today’s guest: Estelle Touzet, wine steward of the famous Hotel Ritz in Paris.
Jeff: You have been known to reverse the customary order by adapting recipes to wine rather than pairing wine with meals. Is this the revenge of the wine steward on the cook?
Estelle: When I get home I always wonder what I will drink first, and then decide what to eat. If we have a good bottle at home, then it is best if it is a good dish that lives up to the quality of the wine. Even with an inexpensive bottle, we can create a meal that matches the wine very well.
Jeff: For example?
Estelle: We had a Morgon, a wine of Beaujolais. So, we decided to make Ravioli Carbonara with bacon. The big greedy ravioli and bits of bacon are matched perfectly with the smoky taste of the Morgon.
Jeff: Are you willing to make any original pairings?
Estelle: We are going to serve Vouvray, wine of the Loire, with duck breast. The duck loses its bloody character and the Vouvray supports its soft flesh.
Jeff: Do you serve cheeses with white wine?
Estelle: It is not for the provocation but the chemical reaction. The white wine emphasizes the saltiness of the cheese, multiplying tenfold the aromas in the mouth with, for example, “Vin du Jura” and an old “Comté”.
Jeff: As a wine steward, is there an advantage to being a woman?
Estelle: In many occupations, women are not considered as qualified as men. Sometimes customers will ask me to call a man…
Jeff: Thank you for this moment.