What if your Valentine's Day consisted of a date to the fabled El Bulli for chef Ferran Adrià's heady, delicious culinary creations, all washed down with glasses of Dom Pérignon? Well, El Bulli itself isn't an option anymore (the iconic restaurant in Spain has been closed for almost five years now), but if you're in New York City, you can do the rest of it—all for $49 a person at Chefs Club, every night through Feb. 14.
There's quite a backstory leading up to this singular event, and there's good reason to be rushing to reserve your spot now. Dom Pérignon and Ferran Adrià are old friends—the wine brand's chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy, and the Catalan chef have collaborated many times in the past, with Dom Pérignon freely flowing at the ultimate night of service at El Bulli in 2011 (a once-in-a-lifetime bash recapped by every important food writer at the time, naturally). For their most recent collaboration, the two food-world greats met at Adrià's El Bulli Foundation, where Adrià has spent the last five years "decoding" food and drinks and—using his proprietary Sapiens method—essentially building a complete encyclopedia dedicated to what we consume. The method takes a 360-degree look at a food item—on biological levels, historical levels, social levels, and more—to determine what makes it unique. Now, Adrià will spend the next three years focusing on what makes Dom Pérignon, well, Dom Pérignon.
A group of journalists went to Barcelona with the wine brand in April 2015 to experience this partnership firsthand, as well as to celebrate the release of the champagne house's exquisite 2005 vintage. Reporters say the visit to the El Bulli Foundation lab was mind-boggling and confusing—hand-written notes haphazardly tacked to white fold-out boards you'd buy for a high-school science project, collections of every type of wine glass and table utensil imaginable, employees busying themselves (with what?) at desks. The Dom Pérignon Lab, separated from the rest of El Bulli Lab, was much more organized and polished. Though the lab is a marketing partnership more than anything else, everything about Dom Pérignon's production and drinking experience will be documented over this three-year period, from the different emotions people feel when they drink Dom Pérignon to the exact measurements of the bottle's punt, or indentation at the base of the bottle.
The main event of the trip was "This Is Not a Dinner," which celebrated two momentous events: the global debut of Dom Pérignon's 2005 vintage and Adrià's first time back in the kitchen after shuttering El Bulli. Most importantly, it was an avant-garde kickoff party for yet another partnership between these two established food-world visionaries. A parade of small
An abbreviated version of the SNAACKS and Dom Pérignon pairing was scheduled to be available at restaurants such as New York's Le Bernardin and Daniel last year, as reported in this T Magazine recap of the experience, but the process of recreating these intricate bites proved to be too difficult, and the plans fell through. Luckily for New Yorkers, though, SNAACKS have found a home in the talented chef Didier Elena's kitchen at Chefs Club from February 8th through the 14th, and will be executed exactly the way Adrià would create them himself. Three of the small bites will be paired with Dom Pérignon vintages ranging from 1998 to 2006. Though it's not a full dinner, it's almost impossible to come across Dom Pérignon by the glass—and if it were sold that way, three of those glasses would be well over $50. Short of being there that night in Barcelona, this is the only tangible way to experience the El Bulli Lab and Dom Pérignon partnership. And as of right now, there are plenty of reservations open.
How's that for a Valentine's Day plan?