Friday 13 February 2015

The Power of Decaf Coffee with Nespresso in Lyon

For the love of decaffeinated coffee! 
With Nespresso Grand Crus Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato, Volluto Decaffeinato and Arpeggio Decaffeinato.
Food and coffee are among my big passions in life, so when I was invited to Lyon to see how the two could be combined by Nespresso, it was a tempting offer. I was a bit concerned I might overdose on caffeine with the coffee heavy program but that turned out to be no worry at all – and not because I limited my coffee intake in any way. Getting a chance to see the contestants at the famous cooking competition Bocuse d'Or was a welcome bonus too - especially since Norway ended up winning (sorry for the spoiler)!

First we were off to see what was happening at the L'Atelier Nespresso, the temporary playground set up for wonderful experiences in coffee and food.  

Nespresso has recently launced a new series of decaffeinated versions of some of their Grand Cru coffees, so we had an interesting classroom lesson with coffee expert Alexis Rodriguez on how decaffeinated coffee is made – from quality bean to brew ready cup. A lot of love in picking out the right beans plus the magic help of liquid CO2 or water is apparantly what it takes!

We also got to taste test to see if we were able to tell which coffee was the decaffeinated version, which I failed of course, haha! It was a bit surprising given that Volluto, the coffee we tested, is among my favorite Nespresso coffees but I actually ended up preferring the decaf version. It was sweeter and simply tastier - really convincing me that there are decaffeinated alternatives worth drinking, whether you “have to” or not.

To see the new coffees “in action”, we were treated to some yummy coffee inspired desserts by pastry chef Christelle Brua, made with the Arpeggio Grand Cru coffee in various delicious layers (panna cotta, coffee jelly, ice cream and foam among them). The coffee taste really came through and the dessert ended up as my favorite edible of the day.

Working hard as you can see... Here I'm flanked by Italian food blogger Chiara (left) and German mom blogger and cappuccino expert Claire (right). Also taking part was Brazilian food blogger Rosana and German blogger + chef Steffen of Berliner Speisemeisterei. Quite a diverse and interesting group of food and coffee lovers!

To further showcase the power of coffee and gastronomy coming together, there was also a coffee themed dinner made by eminent chefs Emmanuel Renaut and David Toutain. 

Here are the courses summed up by my iPhone photos from the night - many different variations upon the coffee theme, like salsify with Grand Cru Indriya and mackerel with Grand Cru Vivalto. Some were more intense than others but all were equally intriguing in their playfulness.  

I couldn't resist playing around a bit with the food of course, as evidenced by the first (strategic placement of truffle slices) and fifth image (face rearrangement). However, food at this level is food art in the true sense of the word. Although it's usually a bit more abstract and “adult” than my own pieces I find it really inspiring to behold (and eat!).

In the end, I emerged from the day fully satisfied with the lingering taste of delicious coffee in my mouth while still being able to get a good night's sleep, thanks to the decaffeinated coffees.

Lastly we were taken to the Bocuse d'Or, got to visit the Nespresso area there and witness the chef's in action. The Norwegian supporters were very enthusiastic and the Norwegian chef Ørjan Johannessen won in the end, so all in all it was a very successful trip!


Written in cooperation with Nespresso but all opinions are my own of course.