Emirates’ first class passengers are in for a treat next year when Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 will be served on board.

During an event for international media at Burj Al Arab, the new vintage accompanied a starter of hand-dived raw scallops and P2 2000 and Rosé Vintage 2005 were also served with the main course (Wild Turbot) and dessert (Passion fruit baked Alaska with mango sorbet) respectively.

Emirates is the number one global partner of Dom Pérignon – the result of a 27-year relationship – and 2.3 million bottles of champagne and wine were drunk in premium cabins in 2017 (compared with 3.2 million bottles in economy class).

Rather unusually, the 2008 release comes after 2009, as it was felt it needed more time. The event was attended by Vincent Chaperon and Richard Geoffrey; the former is replacing the latter as chef de cave at Dom Pérignon from January.

In another clear sign of the importance of food and beverage to the airline, Emirates recently opened a new dedicated first and business class catering unit (EKFC3) at Dubai International airport, which spans six levels and covers every aspect of food delivery, hygiene and preparation.

In one small corner of the drinks section, I counted 54 boxes of Dom Pérignon. The airline has invested more than $700 million in wine since 2006 and serves over 200 wines annually.

In the first class kitchen, Executive Sous Chef Gaurav Gaur prepared rosemary-infused tandoori prawns, roasted broccoli, butter chicken and kingfish curries, beef stir fry and egg fried rice, which were transported by trolley to the lounge for lunch. A section is allocated for Japanese cooking, even though it only flies to three points.

Joost Heymeijer, SVP Inflight Catering, said about two-thirds of all Emirates’ meals are produced on this site and it works with more than 100 catering partners in outstations.

“It’s really important we reflect food from the countries we fly into or leave from, we don’t just want a generic menu of smoked salmon and steak and mushrooms,” said Heymeijer.