On 6 April 2011 the famous Gallery of Battles at the Château of the Sun King provided the setting for an evening in honour of French culture and gastronomy.
Organised at the initiative of Jaume Tàpies, Chairman of the Board of Relais & Châteaux and Marc Haeberlin, Chairman of Grandes Tables du Monde, under the patronage of President Nicolas Sarkozy, this unique dinner, staged in partnership with Moët Hennessy, was orchestrated by 60 internationally renowned Grands Chefs. They all celebrated the inscription of the Gastronomic Meal of the French in UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Chefs, who came from all the regions of France and several countries, each created an exceptional dish based on the finest regional produce: Challans Duck, Breton Lobster, Port-en-Bessin Scallops, Aquitaine Caviar, Spring Morels, Marenne Oysters, Roquefort … The Chefs of the French Presidential Palace also participated in the celebration.
The 650 privileged guests first had a private visit to the exhibition "Majestic Thrones" in the Hall of Mirrors before the gala dinner in the sumptuous setting of the Gallery of Battles. Guests included celebrities from the world of culinary arts and the hotel industry but also from politics, amongst them Minister Frédéric Lefebvre, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Chairman of the Public Establishment of the Château de Versailles and Christophe Navarre, Chairman of Moët Hennessy.
For the Grands Chefs, meeting in the spirit of the wonderful fellowship of Relais & Châteaux, this was an opportunity to pay homage to culinary traditions by creating delightful variations on the theme of French Grande Cuisine. They envisioned the sophisticated food and wine pairings, supported by Moët Hennessy with a Dom Pérignon 2002, a Cheval Blanc 2004 and a Château d’Yquem 1996 from its prestigious cellars, followed by a Hennessy Paradis Cognac, and coffee grand cru, selected by Nespresso.
The whole event was staged with no less than 72 maîtres d’hôtel and 22 sommeliers. 5,300 glasses, more than 200 magnum bottles of Champagne, 310 bottles of wine and 8,000 flowers. This complex logistic organization was necessary to set the stage for a masterly interpretation of this gourmet opera. The proceeds of the evening will be donated to the French Heritage and Gastronomy Mission (MFPCA), chaired by Jean-Robert Pitte, for the creation of the Cité de la Gastronomie.
From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers all the stops on the finest route for discovering each special place and country. The Relais & Châteaux signature reflects this ambition: “ALL AROUND THE WORLD, UNIQUE IN THE WORLD”.