The Krug x Lemon experience at Cottage Point Inn. Photography: Ken Butti

WHEN IT COMES TO the tradition of making Champagne, one of the most essential factors is provenance. It refers to proof of ownership, the Champagne’s authenticity, the origin of the grapes and storage conditions, and it determines the value and level of distinction a bottle has. Provenance is something the French take great pride in, which is why Champagne has maintained the reputation it has for over 350 years. And although the term ‘provenance’ originates from the French word provenir, which means ‘to come from/forth’, it’s a concept that can be applied to cultures all over the world that grow, harvest and store their own native produce, including the oldest continuous culture on the planet: Indigenous Australia. 

For the past nine years, the highly respected French Champagne house Krug—a house known for its very original approach to Champagne making, which goes beyond the traditional notion of vintage to create the most generous expression of Champagne every year—pays homage to a single ingredient, inviting the world’s best chefs to create dishes to pair with Krug Champagne, which are inspired by that specific ingredient.

This year, the ingredient is the humble lemon. As part of the initiative, Krug invited renowned Australian chef Steve Hetherington of iconic Australian restaurant Cottage Point Inn to put his spin on the citrus, which would be paired with the house’s Krug Grande Cuvée. A big proponent of spotlighting native Australian ingredients, Hetherington called on his collaborators at Bush to Bowl—a 100 percent Aboriginal-owned social enterprise that forages, grows and sells a plethora of native herbs, plants, fruit and vegetables, and which supplies Cottage Point Inn with produce on a regular basis—to see what was in season, and what might drive the flavours in his lemon-inspired dish. 

Olivier Krug (right) trying the native produce at Bush to Bowl alongside Kyle Freeman and Adam Byrne of Bush to Bowl. Photography: Ken Butti

Fortunately, Australia is home to abundance of native citruses, including finger lime, lemon myrtle, sunrise and desert limes, all of which Bush to Bowl sources for or grows out of its nursery in Terrey Hills, just outside of Sydney. And so just like the Krug Grande Cuvée that Hetherington’s dish would be paired with, the hero ingredient of his dish would also be true to that essential factor of provenance. 

When Yaegl man and Bush to Bowl co-founder Clarence Bruinsma first heard about the Krug initiative, he and his business partner, Garigal man Adam Byrne, were intrigued. 

“We were intrigued by the opportunity to showcase native Australian ingredients alongside a world-renowned champagne brand like Krug. We also saw the event as a chance to educate people about the importance of provenance and sustainability when it comes to food and drink,” says Bruinsma. “Both native Australian ingredients and Champagne are prized for their unique flavours and aromas, which are a direct result of the terroir in which they are grown. Both require a deep understanding of the land and the environment in order to produce the best possible products.” 

Native produce at Bush to Bowl. Photography: Ken Butti

Working with fresh produce from Bush to Bowl, Hetherington was able to imagine a truly unique lemon-inspired dish: Aquna Murray cod, green and white asparagus, native lemon myrtle and green strawberries. 

“We decided on a very Australian twist on the ‘Krug x Lemon’ concept, and started with this wonderful sustainable Aquna Murray cod, then added lemon myrtle, which grows all around us at Cottage Point Inn and is foraged by our wonderful partners at Bush to Bowl,” explains Hetherington. “This dish tastes like the Australian bush, and yet is a magnificent match for the Krug Grande Cuvée.” 

With award-winning chefs like Hetherington championing native ingredients through renowned initiatives like ‘Krug x Lemon’, Bruinsma and Byrne say they’ve noticed “a growing interest in native ingredients from the hospitality industry”.

“When we first launched, we were only supplying a few restaurants with native produce. Today, we supply dozens of restaurants across Australia. This growth is due in part to the increasing awareness of the unique flavours and aromas that native ingredients can offer. Additionally, many chefs are now looking for ways to support Aboriginal communities and incorporate sustainable practices into their kitchens.” 

Aquna Murray cod, green and white asparagus, native lemon myrtle and green strawberries at Cottage Point Inn. Photography: Ken Butti

The House of Krug was also enchanted by the opportunity to work with Hetherington and, on a recent trip to Australia, meet Bruinsma, Byrne and the wider Bush to Bowl team. Olivier Krug, a sixth-generation member of the Krug Family and director of the house, also visited Cottage Point Inn to launch the special partnership; with him was his daughter Clemence Krug, who has followed in her family’s footsteps to work for Maison Krug and is currently based in Australia. 

“We invite champagne lovers to discover this uniquely Australian expression of ‘Krug x Lemon’, developed in partnership with Steve Hetherington and the Cottage Point Inn team, with a stunning seafood dish featuring the native lemon myrtle,” says Olivier. “Krug has a very long history in Australia—our oldest shipment dates back to 1863—and it is wonderful to be here to celebrate this wonderful collaboration. Believe me, lemon myrtle is an exciting, unexpected marriage with our Krug Grande Cuvée 171ème Édition.” 

This summer, those who dine at Cottage Point Inn can try the pairing for themselves; it will be on the menu from December 1 until autumn rolls around again. On the way to Cottage Point, which sits overlooking the Hawkesbury River, you can also stop in at Bush to Bowl and buy some of produce for yourself.

“Davidson plum, Warrigal greens, Kangaroo apple and our Bushtucker kit are most popular,” says Bruinsma. “They offer unique flavours and aromas that can’t be found in other ingredients.” 

Just like Krug Champagne, you could say. There’s a reason provenance is what it is. 

Cottage Point Inn Executive Chef Steve Hetherington and Olivier Krug. Photography: Ken Butti


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