What a Senseless Waste of Great Wine Part II

As our esteemed readers have no doubt twigged by now, the basic concept behind these columns is that we pick a topic, whether it be serious, irreverent, educational or simply unchartered waters and come up with five items to fit.

Words by Drinks Writer, Ken Gargett

Now, if we were writing about say, ‘Margaret River chardonnays’, ‘useful wine books’ or ‘top rums’, the tough part would be limiting it to five choices. Then we have some others that prove a little more challenging to find our five for, such as ‘cheap, great Burgundy’ or ‘sauvignon blanc worth drinking’, for example (sorry to the lovers of sauvy b).

So, when it came to absurd uses of good wine, I really thought this might be a struggle. We are not talking about cracking a good Musigny to clean your boots with but rather, some ‘innovative’ uses of top-notch wine with food.

I should have realised that humanity’s never-ending ability to concoct the ludicrous, and then exceed it, would mean that this concept actually falls to the first category – too many options! In fact, so many brilliant absurdities that we welcome you to a part two.

But what on earth brought this on? Why investigate something seemingly so nonsensical?

How could we let this one through to the keeper? Golden doughnuts, soaked in Cristal Champagne? It sounds like the main course at a hen’s party for a rapper’s fiancée. Or as Dave Barry might say, “I swear I am not making this up.”

So, make room, Alice, we are charging headlong down the rabbit hole with this one.

A caveat. These are not all regular menu items but rather, at some stage over the last decade – some more recently than others – someone thought them a good idea.

LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL CHAMPAGNE-INFUSED 24-KARAT GOLD DOUGHNUT

Given the much-ballyhooed fuss when the head of Louis Roederer announced, very publicly, that he’d much rather not have the rapper world guzzling Cristal, a gap in the market quickly filled by the love-them-or-love-them-far-less-than-some Champagnes of Armand de Brigand. One wonders what he would have made of the recent offering from ‘Club Gold’ in Adelaide for the recent Valentine’s Day…let me enlighten you. Yes, for just $100, you could pick up a doughnut infused with Cristal (no word on vintage) and coated in 24-karat gold leaf. Not only that, you will be serenaded by the ‘gold’ song of your choice while you scoff it. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West are two of the recommended suggestions. Personally, the Stone Roses’ ‘Fool’s Gold’ seems way more appropriate.

THE ‘WHO CARES WHAT CHAMPAGNE THEY USED’ DESSERT

Some years ago, the team at Arnaud’s Restaurant in New Orleans gained worldwide notoriety with a dessert costing US$1.4 million. Seriously. Well, they ran out of the 4.7 carat diamond rings that were dropped into the dish, so that was out the window. Fear not. They found a supply of 7 carat pink diamonds and so, for a tick under $4million you were able to sample their ‘Strawberries Arnaud’. You’d really hope you don’t miss the diamond and swallow it. Interestingly, a quick look at the website reveals that most of their desserts are around the $8 to $10 mark (woe betide the poor sod who points to the wrong dessert and finds his credit card comes up a smidge short).

DOUGIEDOG’S ‘DRAGON DOG’

Welcome to Vancouver.

Hungry? Don’t worry about all that revoltingly fresh seafood. For just one hundred bucks, you can snag a ‘Dragon Dog’ at the famous DougieDog restaurant. Owner, Dougie Luv (and if there is a God, that will be his real name), decided he would make the world’s most expensive hotdog. Hey, everyone needs a hobby. Mr Luv decided he would not cheat by using ridiculously expensive ingredients, like caviar, so he took a foot-long bratwurst and infused it with century-old Cognac (Louis XIII, apparently), although how this is different from not using expensive ingredients is beyond me. Toss in some lobster, Kobe beef, truffle oil and hot sauce (yes, wouldn’t want the pesky subtle flavours of 100-year-old Cognac sneaking through) and whacko!

WHY NOT JUST BUY THE YQUEM

Records are made to be broken and this one has already gone – to a South African chocolate dessert literally drenched in diamonds, but as we have no idea whether any wine was used in the making of the dish – and the price involves more zeros than is good for my computer – we are not going there. Rather, to the one-time record holder. For a mere £22,000, which does not include transport to the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in the English Lake District, you can have a chocolate dessert, which was, until recently, the world’s most expensive (is that really a good thing?). The choccy pudd is shaped to look like a Faberge gold egg (wouldn’t a real one have been better value?) and includes edible gold leaf, a non-edible diamond, caviar (because caviar and chocolate has always been a classic match?), Champagne jelly, Champagne (although there is nothing indicated about the particular Champagne and/or vintage) and apparently really good chocolate.

GUMMING UP THE WORKS

This one is too silly for words. Champagne-soaked gummy bears. Okay, one of the very cheapest, not terribly intricate recipes suggests placing your gummy bears in a bowl and pouring Champagne over them. It’s on our list, but we have to ask, is the world a better place for marinated confectionary? Why would you waste good Champagne by soaking gummy bears in it? Anyway, you’re then supposed to cover them and leave for 24 hours. Apparently, it is extremely popular. So is monster truck racing and avoiding sunburn.

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