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Vive La France, a country where the fine art of throwing a good party sets the global standard. And so to Sydney for a night hosted with elan by Moet & Chandon.

It is all in the name of launching the latest in a long line of distinguished champagne vintages, but with the company's slogan Be Fabulous forming a backdrop for the beautiful people, it is easy to forget the brand building and instead concentrate on a night of gastronomic adventure.

The best bubbles, finely honed food from two Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx, and even gold Panton chairs and Reidhl glasses, both specially made, and, like Marx, flown in from France. In a room dripping with money, no one is vulgar enough to mention it, but clearly this sort of style doesn't come cheap.

So what do you get when part of one of the world's biggest luxury conglomerates, LVMH, decides to do some serious spending? Let's not be too crashly commerical - woe betide going the way of the America's Cup as stablemate sponsor Bruno Trouble of Louis Vuitton lamented - so cost aside, exclusivity means 50 butlers for an A-list crowd of 200 from across Asia, and a few of us media hangers-on to spread the word.

And did I mention champagne? The star turn, Grand Vintage 2000, is the latest of 67 vintages released in Moet's more than 200 years of champagne making. Chief winemaker Benoit Gouez, who did a stint at the company's Cloudy Bay vineyard, spoke of his enthusiasm at creating a distinctive vintage, with "tropical fruit flavours, yet subtle", before guests got to sample this, the rose, and then some rarities including a 1962 example that Gouez says inspired him.

My tastebuds were grappling with Marx's creations and his promise of a "menu that allies tradition and innovation and shows it is not incompatible".

Cuisine food editor Lauraine Jacobs explains the style as "molecular gastronomy", where boundaries are pushed to create new taste sensations.

Loved the canapes, including pea purees and goat cheese and the odder something topped with popcorn that one guest described as tasting like butterscotch Instant Pudding.

The five-course degustation main was rather more challenging, from oyster and oyster foam (foam has not evaporated!) topped with truffle on soya risotto (made with bean sprouts, not rice); to a delicious souffle of cauliflower with a caviar centre, a smoked fish dish, served steaming under a glass cover, with peppered potato and candied rhubarb; and a roulade of Morrocan flavours, semolina and chicken served with crackling.

For dessert, the small, balding Marx sprinted off to don industrial glasses to pipe meringue into a giant tureen of dry ice. He used chopsticks to fish out the freeze-dried circlets to place them with a flourish on spoons of beetroot toffee.

Rumour has it that faced with such competition, a well-known Sydney chef declined to allow Marx - a vegetarian, who won his first Michelin star at 26 and works his wonders at Château Cordeillan-Bages, just outside Bordeaux - to use his kitchen. Instead, Marx took over the International Passenger Terminal's facilities, where a specially draped and mirrored dining room looked out over Sydney Harbour to the Opera House.

"As a night of theatre it was superb," observed Jacobs, one of the handful of New Zealanders, including designer Trelise Cooper, who mixed and mingled with the likes of top model-turned designer Gail Elliot, rich-list playboy Justin Hemmes, Vogue Australia editor Kirstie Clements, and foodie Kylie Kwong.

Those with staying power headed to the Establishment's Hemesphere to show Sydney's party side to the bon chic bon genre.