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Category Archives: champagne

Let’s Drink Champagne And Celebrate With The World’s Most Expensive Sandwich!

August is National Sandwich Month. Let’s celebrate with champagne and sandwiches!

2005 Dom champagne

Facts about the world’s MOST EXPENSIVE SANDWICH:

  1.  In 2014 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” as the world’s most expensive sandwich.
  2. This sandwich was created by Joe Calderon, Chef at the Serendipity 3 Restaurant, New York City.
  3. This sandwich is made with two pieces of French Pullman champagne bread which is made with Dom Perignon champagne and edible gold flakes, with white truffle butter and the very rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese. The sandwich is served with South African Lobster Tomato Bisque for dipping.
  4. Price: $214
  5. The Quintessential Grilled Cheese has to be ordered 48 hours in advance in order to source the ingredients needed to make such a fancy-dancy sandwich.
  6. The Serendipity 3 Restaurant has been the scene of several films, including one of my favorite romantic comedies that came out in  2001: Serendipity.

Here’s a link with cool photos of this expensive sandwich:

The most expensive sandwich in the world!

sandwich

My favorite summer sandwiches which pair perfectly with bubbly are fresh tomato and cucumber sandwiches. If you live in the South as I do, then you know the elements of these sandwiches are extremely important…just sayin’

Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread

Thinly Sliced Garden Fresh Tomatoes

Thinly Sliced (sliced on a mandoline) peeled cucumbers

Fresh dill, chopped (for the cucumber sandwiches)

Duke’s Mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper

Spread each piece of bread liberally with mayonnaise.  Top mayonnaise with a good sprinkling of black pepper and either tomato slices or cucumber slices. Top the cucumber slices with chopped fresh dill. Top the tomato slices and cucumber slices with another slice of mayonnaise slathered bread.  Cut each sandwich in half to make two triangles, then cut the triangles in half to make small triangle sandwiches. Place sandwiches on a chilled platter.   Serve immediately.

Champagne is a perfect pairing for potato chips and potato chips are the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches. This was one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite flavor combinations.

potato chip

I recommend Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV to pair with these summery sandwiches.   This champagne is composed of 100% chardonnay grapes. I love the shape of this bubbly bottle.  $45 range.  Notes of citrus (lemon zest), creamy, nice tiny bubbles dancing around the flute, finishing with a touch of toasted almond. Dill pairs very well with chardonnay so the cucumber dill sandwiches will be a treat paired with this champagne.  Cheers!

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Champagne Day, August 4 ~ Celebrate With Frozen Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

“Men are like wine ~ some  turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” 

Pope John XXIII

veuve-glass

veuve-top

ice-veuve-champagne

August 4 is celebrated as “Champagne Day” because on this day in 1693, Dom Pérignon exclaimed  “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” when he “invented” champagne.   Dom Pérignon was only 19 when he became a monk and moved to the Abbey of Hautvillers near the town of Épernay (within Champagne, France), where he served as cellarmaster. It was popular at the time to try to get rid of any bubbles in wine. As hard as he tried Dom Pérignon could not get rid of the bubbles and instead embraced them which was an important step in the evolution of champagne.

DON’T WAIT TO CELEBRATE!

“Have you thrown up your hands in despair and confusion with too many choices? In that case, just remember one word:

CHAMPAGNE

It’s refreshing, relatively low in alcohol and sufficiently neutral to go with a myriad of foods. One minor tweak might be to have  more full-bodied vintage champagne with red meats and non-vintage champagne with everything else.  That’s a lot easier to remember than what wine goes with yak.”

~ Sam Gugino, contributing editor to Wine Spectator and author of Cooking to Beat the Clock

veuve-rose

 Rosé Champagne with BBQ!  Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor, Food and Wine Magazine, paired  Rosé Champagne with BBQ Brisket with surprisingly pleasant results:

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/champagne-barbecue

veuve-clicquot-tasting-roomveuve-champagne-in-the-snow-use-this-one

Refreshing Summer Treat!  Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

Skewer large black grapes on fancy picks. Place in a container so that the picks lay flat.  Mix 1 cup champagne (or sparkling wine) with 1/2 cup Raspberry Peach Grand Marnier.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach mixture over the grapes, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach liquid off of the grapes and make more grapes or discard liquid.   Cover the container and place in freezer.  Freeze grapes for two hours or more. Serve ice-cold.

These icy treats are perfect to pop in your mouth straight from the freezer or pop them in a glass of champagne!

veuve-champagnechampagne-veuve-richveuve-champagne-1998

Happy Champagne Day!

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Just For Fun…Signs That We Should Drink More Champagne!

I love finding signs about champagne and celebrations…they are POPPING up everywhere!

champagne sign savarine

champagne sign dance

champagne sign

drink champagne sign.

bubble sign

champagne sign.jpg

sign sparkle like champagne

wine sign.jpg

Wine sign Fortunato

champagne sign

Start celebrating sign

sign wine

champagne-sign

wag-more-sign-1

mr bills sign

wine sign

bubbly sign

champagne sign napkinchampagne napkin

 

summer sign

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My Favorite Recipe For Baba Ganoush

My wonderful husband presented a champagne tasting as a surprise for me this week…Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV and Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV.

I love it when I walk in the kitchen and find this sitting on the island which means we are about to commence to tastin’…

My favorite was the Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV.  Consists of 100% pinot noir grapes. $25 range.  We tasted notes of lemon meringue and green apple.  Bright without being too acidic.  Fresh and crisp. After my first sip I exclaimed:  “I love this!”

champagne tasting 1

The Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV was also delightful. 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir grapes.  $28 range.  We tasted orange blossom and meyer lemon flavors in this champagne.  Lots of fun bubbles dancing in the flute!

champagne tasting 2

Eggplant is in season!  This is my husband’s favorite appetizer, much like a  Baba Ganoush with some fun taste twists that enhance the flavor of the eggplant:

Eggplant Paté

Note:  I puree the ingredients in my blender. A food processor may also be used.

1 cup pureed eggplant (cut eggplant in half and roast in oven, scoop out eggplant pulp with spoon and discard eggplant shell. For one cup pureed eggplant you will need 2 eggplants)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, cored, roasted and peeled, pureed (place cored pepper under the oven broiler and blacken all sides of the pepper. Place pepper in a paper bag, close the bag and allow the pepper to cool.  Remove the pepper from the bag and scrape off the peel with a sharp knife.

1 tablespoon butter

2.25 ounces pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons medium peri-peri sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 ounces goat‘s milk cheese (little log)

Firehook Mediterranean Baked Crackers – sea salt variety (or serve with your favorite flatbread cracker)

  1. Melt butter in small sauté pan. Add pine nuts and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (monitor carefully because pine nuts will burn quickly) until pine nuts just begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant puree, red pepper puree, oregano, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, peri-peri sauce, tomato paste in a blender or food processor . Blend until all ingredients are combined and the mixture has a relatively smooth consistency.  If the mixture is too thick to blend a little more olive oil can be added.
  3. Place half of the eggplant mixture in a small serving dish. Crumble the goat cheese over the eggplant mixture. Top the goat cheese with the other half of the eggplant mixture. Top the eggplant mixture with the pine nuts.
  4. Serve with crisp flatbread crackers.

tim tam packagetim tams

Love these irresistable chocolaty happiness in a biscuit Tim Tams!  Dark mint is my favorite. 

limenchello

sparkle

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The Best Things About Summer…Tomatoes and Champagne!

It’s been a busy summer.  We finished our kitchen remodel, yeah! And I’ve been having so much fun cooking up a storm!

sign bollinger kelly

My bubbly sister-in-law gave us this lovely “new kitchen warming gift” that she had made for us by our local Appalachian Press ~ I love Madame Lilly Bollinger’s quote:

sign Kelly

And I’m always happy because this is pretty much me on the lazy hazy days of summer…

Next week I will be on our local NBC Affiliate show “Daytime Blue Ridge” preparing my favorite Sangria recipes:               http://www.wsls.com/daytime

Peachy Rosé Sangria

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

I would love to hear from my readers…What is your favorite Sangria…Do you prefer the traditional red wine/fruit sangria or the lighter white wine/summer fruit sangria? 

Sangria

beer painting

During the summer we enjoy lots of outdoor festivals.  At the Deschutes Brewery Street Pub in Downtown Roanoke Virginia we met Karen Eland, an artist that paints with coffee and beer. http://www.karenelandart.com

Now on to the TOMATOES…On Saturday I visited our local farmer’s market and enjoyed a fresh tomato tasting. After tasting the tomatoes we put a toothpick in our favorite tomato. The tomato with the most toothpicks won the tomato tasting competition.

tomato sign

tomato table

Mr. Stripey Tomato, beautiful yellow and red striped beefsteak tomato, with its pleasantly sweet taste,  was the crowd favorite that day.

tomato mr stripey

big tomatoes

Our market offered up huge tomatoes, but none as heavy as this:  The heaviest tomato weighs 3.906 kg (8.61 lb), was grown by Dan Sutherland (USA) and weighed in Walla Walla, Washington, USA, on 30 August 2016. The achievement was authenticated by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC).  Source:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/heaviest-tomato

 I will be using some of my juicy ripe tomatoes to make  Tomato Water Martinis.  Here’s a link to a yummy recipe for said martini:  http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/spicy-tomato-water-martini.   

tomato martini sign

Surprise! A green tomato can be ripe if it is a green tomato variety. The Green Zebra Tomato is yellow with dark green stripes. Sweet and tangy.  If a green tomato is soft to the touch and the bottom of the yellow stripes begin to turn a light reddish color then the tomato is ripe. Green tomatoes come in cherry tomato size too!

zebra tomato

I love purple tomatoes!   This Cherokee Purple Tomato has a slightly smoky taste, rich and sweet.   This purple tomato, originating from Tennessee,  was thought to have been passed down from Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe.

purple tomato

rose bottle

Rosé is a delicious accompaniment to fresh tomatoes.  One of my favorites is  La Chapelle Brut Rosé Nuance Premier Cru Champagne.  $40 range. Crisp and elegant with notes of framboise (raspberry) and fraise des bois (tiny wild French strawberries). 

Don’t forget to stay cool and hydrated this summer…

drink champagne sign

frexnet cava

party trained

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Champagne Baron-Fuénte ~ Perfect Food Pairings For Champagne

Where there is no wine there is no love.

                        …Euripides

On a warm summer evening my husband treated me to a tasting of Baron Fuénte Champagne.

It is always tons of fun to delve into food pairings to match champagnes. I use the book WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page to help get my creative food pairing juices going.

I decided on these champagne and food pairings for our champagne tasting:

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter / Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV

Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns / Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV

Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers / Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV

Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV served with Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter.  This champagne is composed of 100% chardonnay grapes. I love the shape of this bubbly bottle.  $45 range.  Notes of citrus (lemon zest), creamy, nice tiny bubbles dancing around the flute, finishing with a touch of toasted almond.

The butter sauce made the champagne taste even more buttery…yum!  Dill pairs very well with chardonnay.

The Baron- Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV was my favorite champagne of the three champagnes we tasted that evening.

porkchampagne baron

Our next pairing was our favorite pairing of the evening.   Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV ($35 range) served with Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns.  This champagne had red currant flavors and consists of 55% chardonnay and 45% pinot noir grapes.  Pork is a good pairing for chardonnay, so I set out to create a recipe that would showcase the pork and red currant flavors.

I’ve found that the quality of ingredients in making a sandwich is of utmost importance. Purchase the best quality pork loin available for this sandwich.

I could not find red currant jam, but I did find a delicious black currant jam at our local Fresh Market. I glazed very thin slices of pork with the jam, added a few “secret” ingredients and served on toasted brioche buns. The brioche buns are where it’s at baby!  This pairing was over the top yummilish!

As I was cooking the pork I noticed that someone else was very interested in the aroma of the pork:

cat cat

champagne flightcheese

The final pairing of the evening was Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV served with Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers.  The Baron S ($30 range) is composed of 60% pinot meunier and 40% chardonnay grapes.  Lots of tiny bubbles with a fine mousse.  The pinot meunier grapes give this bubbly a bit of earthiness which pairs well with the cheese.

I enjoyed finding this website that has tasting notes and fun photos from Baron Fuénte vineyard:  https://baronfuente.com/en/

Each of these champagnes could serve as an aperitif (alcoholic drink served just prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite) as well as a pairing with food.

fiancier boxfinancier

For dessert I served “Financiers”, tiny pound cakes that a bubbly friend of mine sent me from France.  They are the perfect little buttery bite after a rich meal.

champagne napkin

kitty cat

Relaxing after the champagne tasting…

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The Chocolate Experience + Champagne!

peaches

This Summer Is Just Peachy!

Historic City Market, Roanoke, Virginia

http://www.downtownroanoke.org/explore/farmers-market

Altus Chocolate Envelope

chocolate nibs

Another reason to love Downtown Roanoke:

Altus Chocolate

http://www.altuschocolate.com

Campbell Avenue, Downtown Roanoke

The Altus Story is posted in their chocolate shop:

After watching the movie “Chocolat”, Carl and Mary (now the owners of Altus Chocolate) were enamoured by the idea that chocolate could be made in small batches.  The molcajete (Mexican version of the mortar and pestle) pictured above is similar to the one they used to grind their first batch of chocolate.  It took them roughly 24 hours to grind that first batch and it was, as they describe it, “incredible”.

Their chocolate lounges are in Lynchburg and Roanoke, Virginia.  What they love about making chocolate:

  1. Dancing in the kitchen.
  2.  Sharing the best chocolate with the best of friends.
  3. Watching faces light up when others experience a single origin tasting for the first time.

They are sharing a chocolate experience!

The best way to find out about happenings (such as the chocolate tasting on July 15) at this lovely chocolate shop is by Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/altuschocolateroanoke

Altus features handmade chocolates, gelato, delicious pastries, unique chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, espresso and specialty coffee drinks (wine coming soon!).

chocolate firechocolate peach

Altus handmade chocolate flavors include Mango Mint Coriander, Summer Sangria, Strawberry Balsamic, Madagascar Vanilla, Chai Spice, Virginia Peanut…

gelato

Altus also serves one of my favorites…Affogato…a shot of fresh espresso over your choice of gelato.  DELIZIOSO!

champagne at wines

And I always enjoy some sips of bubbly with my chocolate…such as this delightful Fluteau Cuvée Symbiose Brut 2006.  50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir grapes from Gye-Sur-Seine in the southernmost part of Champagne. Balanced and vibrant with lots of bubbles in the flute.   Toasty notes with a hint of lemon and spice.  $50 range.

This Summer I could…

rose

Our bubbly friends are in the islands during this 4th of July holiday and here’s what they are enjoying…

rose mary ellen

While here at home I am enjoying…

rose french

Provence Rosé 2016 Chateau Paradis ‘La Grande Terre’

Crisp and refreshing. Juicy peach notes with just a touch of minerality.  I love the label on this one!  40% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. $13 range.

Please comment to let me know the name of your favorite Rosé!

flower

Happy 4th of July!

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