At the Elysée Palace since 2004, Guillaume Gomez has archived historical recipes and menus prepared in honour of Kennedy, Obama, Putin, Queen Elizabeth, COP21, peace agreements, world football champions! Well documented, this book is published in 2020, the year that celebrates the 10th anniversary of the “gastronomic meal of the French”, classified as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2010, but also the 10th anniversary of Bernard Baud’s presidency of the Distillerie Massenez. As ambassadors of the customary social practices of the French meal, the two men defend the promotion of digestives to extend this French art of living.
Guillaume Gomez is solicited on all continents and always notes the presence of Massenez products all over the world.
“It’s incredible, I feel like I’m travelling with Massenez! “he smiles. “The products are in airports, at events, trade fairs, the most beautiful restaurants and hotels abroad. It’s a very beautiful brand that is making Alsace but also France shines internationally. Digestifs are part of the French meal and Massenez embodies the best of what France exports. »
At the Elysée Palace, the State dinners stage the French people’s meal. “It is common knowledge that Jacques Chirac had a preference for Massenez, cultivating bonds of friendship with the family. Their Eaux-de-Vie were always represented at events at the Élysée,” says Guillaume Gomez.
“The Eaux-de-Vie bring a little extra soul to the meal,” he says. “They tell the story of an orchard, a region, a distiller, a sometimes-ancestral know-how. They are capable of introducing the meal with an aperitif cocktail, to go well with savoury or sweet dishes or to finish it in a beautiful conviviality. At the restaurant, I trust the sommelier to introduce me to a regional Eau-de-Vie. Ideally, he should offer it as soon as the order is taken, so that the customer can include a digestive among the glasses he allows himself during the meal.
The sommelier will thus be able to prepare the palate for an increase in aromatic strength, in harmony with the chosen dishes and desserts. I’m a little nostalgic for those beautiful digestive carts that used to parade around, highlighting the dedicated glassware, the presentation of the bottles and the serving of the alcohols at the right temperature. »
The chef of the Élysée has an emotional relationship with our region, cultivating many professional friendships. It was at EGAST in Strasbourg that he won his first cooking competition and it was at the Crocodile at Monique and Emile Jung’s that he first worked in a 3-star Michelin restaurant.
“Every time I come to Alsace, Massenez is a must. This name is present at all the major events, trade fairs, the International Congress of Master Chefs of France, or the dinner of the Grandes Tables du Monde. Manou Massenez, then Elodie Naslin and Bernard Baud are omnipresent. I always drop by the Massenez stand to greet the teams and discover their new products”, says Guillaume Gomez. “I also have an extraordinary memory of a tasting session commented by Marc Wucher at the Parc in Obernai.
This great collector of digestifs, in front of his magnificent cart, was inexhaustible and instructive. It was a great moment of sharing and friendship between chefs. We realize that in gastronomy, Eaux-de-Vie are used in the composition of recipes to sublimate them, flavour them and increase their digestibility. But, personally, I prefer to taste them pure, to appreciate all their finesse, delicacy and the know-how of the distiller. Distillation is a profession and I say bravo to the whole Massenez family who are celebrating their 150th anniversary, and to Bernard Baud, who for the last 10 years has been talking about him positively, breathing new life into the Alsatian company”.