Champagne and Fromage is one of the latest additions to Covent Garden’s list of eateries – in an area increasingly hailed as the ‘new Soho’ for all its fashionable and popular redevelopment.
As a Champagne shop, bar and bistro, Champagne and Fromage fits well into this area’s image of being a sleek new foodie destination, yet the no fuss, warm and welcoming ambience inside eradicates any potential for stuffiness or pretence.
This, however, doesn’t mean there is any less focus on quality. All the grower champagnes served at Champagne and Fromage are sourced by the owners from award-winning family owned producers, meaning that the resulting operation is a happy, stylish but informal setting for enjoying some of France’s most iconic produits gastronomiques, either on or off the premises.
“Our aim is to import a good collection [of champagne] to represent every style available” so says Maud Fierobe one of the owners and founders. Her passion for this project is self-evident, and underlying this is a desire to gently educate her customers.
“Champagne is a wine and we want to get people thinking of it in that way. It’s much more versatile than people often think. That’s why we don’t list still wine. If we did, people would order that instead, which would completely defeat the point.”
To add impetus to this, Maud and team have come up with a menu to complement their range of Champagnes, with delicious tartines (try La Nordique for beautifully pink, beetroot marinated salmon gravlax, a langues cheese mousse, salad leaves and their secret recipe champagne dressing) and charcuterie: peppery Corsican cured meat and French saussicon and salami.
In addition, Maud has her own dedicated ‘cheeseman’ who will deftly craft cheeseboards from a wide variety of mouth-watering cheeses – all beautifully displayed along French Bubble’s back wall. Like the champagnes, many of these are also hand-sourced directly from the producers.
Gooey Gaugry Epoisse along with their French blue goat’s cheese, and an interesting chilli and rosemary encrusted soft Corsican cheese are just a couple that keep their clientèle coming back for more.
Of course, the main draw at Champagne and Fromage is the bubbles, divided into Classic Brut Non Vintage, Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage (all 100% Chardonnay), increasingly popular Blanc de Noirs Non Vintage (100% pinot noir), Brut Rose, Extra Dry and Demi-sec, and Vintage.
Highlights include the interestingly decorated bottles by Waris Larmandier – try the Cuvee Collection Grand Cru (French bubbles is the only UK importer of this now infamous producer – one of only a few houses also legally allowed to use pinot blanc in their blends); Michel Furdyna’s Blanc de Noirs Champagne La Loge 2002, and his brut Rose that goes exceptionally well with charcuterie.
Other notable ones are the La-croix cuvee demie-sec (an unusual blend of 70% pinot meunier) and the Champagne Colin Cuvee Alliance – a producer name that is making itself more and more commonplace on people’s champagne wishlists. Tailored champagne and cheese tastings are arranged each month for £40 a person.
Address: Champagne and Fromage, 22 Wellington Street, WC2