Berlin is among the most interesting cities in Europe when it comes to food and wine. You wont find so many Michelin Star chefs in any other German city. Their suppliers come up with interesting ideas, like making their own cress, and winegrowers from Germany are becoming the next big thing in the scene. At Le Faubourg we had a chat with Chef Felix Mielke who combines traditional French cuisine in an innovative and classic version of gourmet cooking and most often German home-grown ingredients. While enjoying dinner, Nicolas Hopchet, sommelier of the house made every course a little bit more special with matching wines from France and Germany.
IRMA: The sequence of wine during a menu is like a story-telling, how do you find the red ribbon?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: The recurring theme is definitely the food. It is the base for the pairing and it will define which wine I pick.
Then I try to include wines from different countries and regions, so the guest learns more about different countries and tastes.
There are also some basic rules; like white before red, dry before sweet, young before old, light before heavy. Although, sometimes I ignore these rules. I´d like to get away from the “classic” wine pairing and give an innovative experience.
IRMA: At Le Faubourg you serve mainly French and German wines. What are the criteria for both regions to work together harmoniously?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: The criteria are easy: the wine has to please me and fit the menu from our chef Felix Mielke.
IRMA: German wine is not that well known outside of Germany, but young winegrowerand wineries come up with very interesting wines. How do you find the best ones?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: Throughout the year many wine fairs take place in Berlin. Its the perfect occasion for a sommelier to go out and try new things. Meet new winemakers, taste the latest vintage and stay in touch with everyone in the scene. And I travel a lot to be inspired.
IRMA: Why did you choose the profession of a sommelier?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: Wine is like a hobby for me since I was 16. A couple of years ago, my work gave me the opportunity to make my hobby into my profession which I gladly accepted.
IRMA: What was the most interesting discovery on your journey so far?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: It was a 1954 Riesling from Rhine Hessen which was kept in perfect condition and still had an incredible freshness with flavours like grapefruit and apricot.
IRMA: How do you relax your taste buds and clear your senses after some wine tasting?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: I try to drink a lot of water during and after the tasting.
IRMA: Food and wine come best harmoniously together when ……..?
NICOLAS HOPCHET: Its best when food and wine not only complement each other, but bring everything to a higher level.
IRMA: Personal the best way to enjoy a favourite glass of wine is …….
NICOLAS HOPCHET: At home with some friends enjoying a nice dinner. For me it is important to be able to share the experience.