Let me be clear – I’m not an expert on french wine and fine dining. I appreciate it, without reservation, but I couldn’t tell you that a dish was successful “because of the perfect hint of cumin added to complete the delicate ph balance…”, or whatever…I just know something explosively divine when I taste it. Such a delight occurred last night in the most airy, delicate way.

I was honored to be invited to the French Ambassador to London’s beautiful home, along with the orchestra, Les Talens Lyriques, in a beautiful evening of chamber music in his perfectly sized salon (giving me the feeling of having travelled on a lovely time machine to late 17th Century France).

"Sound check at the French Ambassador's"...

The guests were afficionados and great supporters of the orchestra and the arts in general – not bad company to start with. An intimate concert was a welcome “intermission” during this crazy tour, and I relished the chance to sing and listen to intimate, peaceful music.,
And then we were invited to dinner:

Dinner is served...

I don’t quite know how to describe the beautiful 4-course serving of heaven – it truly was something indescribable.

I will simply list the 3rd course as it was described on the menu:

Emulsion de Camembert, chouchous de noix et quelques cubes de réglisse

If ANYONE can send me a recipe for this, I will bow down in eternal gratitude.

It was the lightest, airiest concoction, which gave the full blast of the Camembert flavor, but then simply DISAPPEARED in your mouth into the ether. Truly, it was a remarkable thing. (Followed by a VERY close second with the dessert that consisted of:

Une mousse de vanille et caviar de violette dans un consommé à la clémentine

I didn’t care about etiquette as I turned to my right and addressed His Excellency, the Ambassador, “This is RIDICULOUS!!!” Because it was. One should never eat again after a meal like that.

But as if the beautiful music and exquisite fare were not enough, I was able to hear from the Ambassador’s mouth how uplifting and galvanizing the US Election was for France, and indeed, for the world. We talked politics and the world outlook, and I again pinched myself that I should be so fortunate to engage in such an encounter. He was utterly charming and to speak with such a distinguished politician not only about world affairs, but also about breath support and Bach – well, it instills a great deal of hope in me!

Oh, I can’t resist – here is the rest of the menu – and again, any recipes are WELCOME!!!

1st course: Terrine de foie gras de canard, pâte tendre de pomme verte et huile d’argan en poudre
*perfectly accompanied by Château Guiraud 2004

2nd course: Poitrine de chapon rôtie et fondant de châtaignes, compotée de topinambour au parfum de noisette
*served with Château Pontet Canet 2001

The miracle chef: Gilles Quillot

I should be more than fortified to sing at the Barbican this evening!!