Food on flights traditionally has a bad reputation, and airlines are offering fine dining experiences to change this perception.
I took a First Class flight on Emirates recently, with a different kind of lift-off. Although the “aeroplane” never left the ground, I enjoyed the meals and drinks available on First and Business class.
At the Capital Club in Nairobi, Sommelier Victor Dituro and Michelin star Chef Mohsine Korich recreated the in-flight experience.
The first course of the evening was lobster salad with Beluga caviar miso and soy vinaigrette. This was served with champagne, the Dom Perignon 2009.
It was my first time to taste a Dom Perignon champagne and I was impressed. Easy, smooth on the palate and paired well with the meal and Sommelier Victor addressed the pairing thus:
“This is a vintage champagne from the northeast of France, the champagne area. It is 60 per cent Chardonnay and 40 per cent Pinot Noir.
“It was created in one year’s harvest. It has notes of stone fruit, nectarine, guava and pineapple. The soy vinaigrette, paired with the minerality and saltiness of the wine is why we chose to pair it with lobster and caviar.”
Dom Pérignon 2009 is served in First Class, and Emirates has been serving Dom Perignon for 27 years.
The second course was pan-fried scallops with balsamic vinaigrette and arugula, paired with FMC Chenin Blanc 2015 from Stellenbosch in South Africa. Because the air pressure in the cabin affects taste, the food and wine served have to be carefully chosen.
The tangy taste of the vinaigrette paired well with the Chenin Blanc, which has no harsh taste. The wine is deep yellow in colour, and has notes of vanilla, honey, jasmine and tropical fruits.
On all flights to Africa, Emirates serves Bordeaux and South African wines. For example, if flying from Nairobi to Dubai, Vincent says, you will have a choice of two white wines, two red wines and champagne.
In First and Business Class, 58 per cent of red wine consumed is from Bordeaux in France, and champagne is the most popular choice. The champagne served on Business Class is Moët & Chandon.
“We have a team of wine connoisseurs who build relationships with the world’s most prestigious vineyards, handpick and secure the most exclusive and rare wines to pair with our food menu,” said Hendrik du Preez, Emirates regional manager for East Africa.
Dessert was a mi-cuit of chocolate with salted caramel ice cream, and it was decidedly decadent.
It was paired with Dow’s Colheita 1978, a single harvest tawny port, that had been matured for over 40 years. This port is only served in First Class. The sweetness of the port made for a perfect pairing with the dessert, and a splendid finale to the meal.
“We serve 80 different champagnes, wines and ports on our flights on an average day across our international network and source our wines from Argentina, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and the US,” Mr du Preez said.
Full meals are served on all classes on Emirates, and with the airline flying twice daily to Dubai from Nairobi, daily from Dar es Salaam and 10 times a week from Entebbe, you will be sure to have a great culinary experience on board. It will be well worth it.