Petrossian’s magnificent Fleur de Vers:
suitable for a coronation or a special event
for us commoners. Photo by Kimberly
Craven | Petrossian.
Thank goodness the Petrossian brothers, Melkoum and Mouchegh, moved to France from Iran in 1917, when their studies were interrupted by the Russian Revolution.
Unable to gain entrance to French medical and law schools, the young men, who missed the caviar from home, became caviar importers. It was they who introduced caviar to Paris!
Had Melkoum and Mouchegh become a doctor and a lawyer, their names would probably not be known by connoisseurs worldwide. Instead, the name Petrossian is sets the world standard in fine caviar and other delicacies.
We are huge fans of Petrossian and urge anyone passing through Manhattan to treat themselves to a luxurious meal at the company’s Art Deco restaurant at Seventh Avenue and 58th Street, steps away from Carnegie Hall, Columbus Circle and Central Park.
There is a more casual café next door to the restaurant, where the restaurant’s beautiful pastries and savory delicacies (including caviar and foie gras) in an informal atmosphere.
While caviar might seem like a luxury frozen in time, Petrossian is remarkable in its innovation, with:
Caviar Cubes to garnish cocktails;
Papierrusse, the caviar version of a sheet of the sushi seaweed wrapper, with numerous creative uses;
Caviar Cream, a heavenly garnish or spread;
The caviar “powder” that is used in the recipe below.
This week we were invited to the restaurant and treated to a cocktail that is so fine (and memorable) that we wish we were getting married. Although most of us are probably not going to create it at home, it’s the perfect recipe to hand to the caterer for a special celebration. The name was inspired by fleur de sel, the finest French sea salt. We like to think of it as a bit of poetry (vers is French for verse or poetry).
RECIPE: THE PETROSSIAN FLEUR DE VERS
Ingredients For One Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces Tanqueray or other fine gin
3/4 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur*
3/4 ounce green chartreuse†
3.4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 drop rose water
1 lemon boat (instructions below)
1/2 teaspoon Petrossian Caviar Powder, unground (whole bead—see below)
For The Garnish
*St. Germain is one of our favorite liqueurs. Don’t hesitate to buy a bottle. It makes a delicious cocktail with Champagne or any sparkling wine.
†You can substitute yellow chartreuse if that’s what you have; see the note on chartreuse below.
1. HALVE and juice the lemons. Set aside the juice and cut the juiced halves into three or four wedges, 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide. Remove all of the pulp and pith until you have a smooth “boat.”
2. COMBINE the gin, elderflower liqueur, chartreuse, lemon juice and rose water. Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a Martini glass or Champagne flute or tulip.
3. PLACE the caviar beads in the lemon boat and float atop the cocktail.
WHAT IS CAVIAR POWDER?
Pearls of fine caviar are dried via a proprietary technique that intensifies its flavor. The dried pearls are sold in a grinder that enables you to grind some caviar over your food (eggs, buttered toast, grilled fish or seafood, potatoes and pasta for starters). Or, you can open the grinder and sprinkle full pearls of the caviar on the food.
In the background, the caviar grinders with a choice of colorful tops. In the foreground, the beads of caviar ready to be used whole as a garnish. Photo courtesy Petrossian.
We’re on our fourth refill of Petrossian Caviar Powder, a unique (and more affordable) way to enjoy fine caviar. We gave it our Food Innovation Award of 2011.
The grinder with 30 grams of caviar is $88.00; refills are $74.00. It’s a sure-to-enthrall gift for any caviar lover. Buy it at Petrossian.com.
WHAT IS CHARTREUSE?
Chartreuse, pronounced shahr-TROOZ, is a pale green or yellow liqueur made from brandy and aromatic herbs (green Chartreuse is aged with 130 different herbal extracts!). We prefer the original green Chartreuse, which has more complexity. Yellow chartreuse is a later recipe, lower in proof and a sweeter mix of herbs.
The liqueur, first made by Carthusian Monks in the 1740s, is named after the Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in southeastern France (in the general region of Grenoble). The liqueur, in turn, gave its name to the startling greenish-yellow color.