Laurent-Perrier champagne and etiquette at the Mandarin Oriental bar

Finally after several years writing a blog which blatantly says in the contact details section “If you want to email me or buy me champagne” someone has taken me up on the offer. Not just someone, the lovely people behind Laurent-Perrier Grand Siécle which is only one of the latest and greatest champagnes from the prestigious Laurent-Perrier house of champagne. This is a champagne made from three vintages only from grand-cru vinyards and sells for £35 a glass at the Mandarin Oriental. Let’s just say that when I was invited to go and drink copious glasses of the stuff while feasting on matched canapés and listening to Lucia Van der Post talk about etiquette I did not need much convincing.

Grand Siécle
Clutching a glass of the precious Grand Siécle I met David Hesketh, master of wine and UK managing director of Laurent-Perrier. He talked briefly about the origins of the Laurent-Perrier house (which took me back to happy memories of my travels in the Champagne region) and told us champagne was the hardest of all wines to taste. He said: “The Grand Siécle is a champagne for epicureans, it works very well with food.” Sounds like my type of drink then.
To prove the point the Mandarin Oriental matched the champagne with canapés of smoked salmon, discs of foie gras and spoons topped with creamy mushroom risotto. On the sweeter side there were tiny serves of pear compoté topped with cream and bowls of chocolate sticks. The smoked salmon and the pear was probably the best match for the vibrant, honeyed taste of the champagne.
The canapés on offer
Then it was on to Lucia van der Post, the woman behind The Financial Times’ How to Spend It magazine and author of the etiquette guide Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me. Lucia said etiquette was nothing to do with whether you say toilet or loo (a particularly English dilemma I think,we have other words for it in Australia) or use the right glasses. In her definition, well mannered people are those who never do anything to hurt others.
David Hesketh demonstrates how to open a bottle of champagne – with an angel’s kiss
Lucia’s top tips are:
  • be punctual: “being late assumes other peoples manners are worse than your own”;
  • dress well: “it is a form of politeness”;
  • send thank you letters for dinners or the opera (if you go to the opera that is);
  • send presents when you stay over night; and
  • if you host a dinner use seating plans which are, in Lucia’s view, “an act of generosity”.
A few final words from the etiquette guru herself: “The core of the matter is thinking of other people. Etiquette smooths the wheels of social conduct and civilises the uncivilised.”
And here was I thinking that was what champagne did!
Sweet canapés including pear with cream and chocolate sticks
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Laurent-Perrier.
Details: The Mandarin Oriental Bar, 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge SW1X 7LA (Ph 020 7235 2000) Tube: Knightsbridge
Damage: Budget breaking but I wasn’t paying.
If you liked this you might be interested in my review of the Mandarin Oriental’s Bar Boulud or if you want to find out more about champagne you can read my posts about France’s champagne region.


  1. I love a good glass of champagne – I have developed quite a taste for it since moving to the UK, where it’s far less expensive to indulge than in Australia! Lovely event and lovely to share some bubbles there with you.

  2. Hey! I am your loyal follower 😀

    I wanted to give you a poke just in case you have missed my Seasonal Shoe PHOTO competition post 🙂 if you are interested, check my newest entry! Season Greetings! Amber

  3. Looks like a fabulous evening. Perhaps I should be suggesting people buy me champagne… I would say yes!

  4. Unfortunately I have developed the same taste buds in the UK as Greedy Diva. I’ve already checked out the price of Champagne here and let out a laugh and choking noise at the same time. No more Billecart Salmon for me.

  5. What a wonderful post. This seems like such a fun event, i would love to have gone. Believe it or not, I love learning about etiquette and I really like your tips :D. I totally agree that etiquette is about making those around you feel comfortable. Unfortunately, I also think its a dying art.
    Question: what are those chocolate sticks, are they like bread sticks with chocolate, or are they pure chocolate? They look yummy!
    *kisses* HH

  6. I fail to see how dressing well is a form of politeness. But then someone at work did ask me once whether I was in my pyjamas…

  7. Champagne, canapes sounds like a perfect evening.

  8. Greedy Diva – I know – expensive habits!

    Amber – thanks seasonal shoes sound good

    Bron – you can only suggest it I figure…

    Vintage Macaroon – I agree – ridiculous prices for it in Australia

    Heavenly Housewife – They had wafers of biscuits and chocolate – really delicious!

    Lizzie – Classic!

    Reemski – It was lovely

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