Some collaborations sound unusual on paper, but as soon as you dive in deeper they make so much sense. It was with this exact sense of not knowing what to expect that my plus one and I arrived at modern Vietnamese restaurant Annam for a four course meal inspired by French cheese.
CNIEL (The French Dairy Board) and renowned Melbourne chef and owner of Annam, Jerry May collaborated for the first time to create a limited-edition dish featuring French Cheese. Considering the influence of both countries culinary history, cheese is rarely used in Vietnamese cuisine, making Mai’s special menu highly unique and unmissable for fans of Vietnamese food and French cheese lovers alike.
On the night, Jerry May told us stories of how she was inspired to create some of the dishes, and our resident cheese expert filled us in with details about the cheeses creation and history. Some of the dishes included the inventive rice paper roll with free range egg and Beaufort D’Alpage, a striploin with horseradish, greens and crumbled blue cheese and the magnificent French Onion Soup.
‘I’ve created my version of French Onion Soup. It has a pho base served with bahn mi that I have topped with Brie. My touch of fire is using a blow torch to melt the brie.’ said Jerry Mai. This was the highlight of the night, and was perfectly paired with a German Riesling.
To top the event off, Jerry May introduced us to her head chef Kristofer Bech Howley who has created a very decadent baked Le Secret de Lys (cheese in a ceramic pot). This cheese was served hot and melted with poached quince, Sichuan crackers and a delicious Thai basil oil. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t eat more of this amazing dessert as I was already so full by this stage. We capped the night off with a delicious glass of yuzu infused sake, which I definitely need to find a bottle of for myself.
While I’m always going to want some delicious French cheese on a grazing board or cheese platter, the night has inspired me to think about different recipes that can incorporate this versatile range of ingredients. If you want to have a taste for yourselves, the exquisite Pho based French onion soup with banh mi and Brie de Nangis is available at Annam until the 10th October – do yourself a favour and don’t miss out on this amazing dish.