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Category Archives: champagne

To Every Season There Is Champagne

pumpkin

Welcome Fall!  Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves…let’s toast this beautiful season with champagne!  Pumpkin can be a bit overdone this time of year (just ask any coffee shop barista about pumpkin lattes!) but champagne is perfect for any occasion, any season.

pumpkin

Fleutau champagnechampagne

Fluteau 2006 Cuvée Symbiose Champagne  

Champagne Fluteau, founded in 1935, is a family owned winery located in the southern part of the Champagne growing region of France. The grapes are all hand harvested and sorted to ensure that the grapes arrive at the press in pristine condition.  Artisan crafted grower champagne.  Crisp with apple and lemon notes. Lovely pairing with seafood.   Lots of lovely little bubbles dancing in the flute.   $50 range.

champagne and pumpkinchampagne toast

White pumpkins are my favorite…I love creating tablescapes with white pumpkins.

Voirin-Jumel Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Champagne

100 % chardonnay.  Small producer located in Cramant, France.  Lovely pairing with oysters. $40 range. Light lemon notes.

Truly a very special treat…one of my favorite champagnes… 1998 Cuveé R. Lalou Champagne Cuveé Prestige.  Lemon, crushed granite, honey,  toast – and nice finish.  Beautiful radiant gold with effervescent bubbles.

René Lalou was the Chairman of the prestigious Champagne house of G.H. Mumm during the 20th century.    In tribute to him, a special cuvée bearing his name was produced  from 1966 to 1985.  Luckily for us,  in 2007, G.H.MUMM decided to revive this legendary cuvée.  The Cellar Master devised a champagne de terroir bred from the best of the House vineyards and named it R. Lalou.  $200 range.

Champagne…if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.  It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.  ~ Graham Greene

cocktail mixercrackers

Sometimes I enjoy mixing a cocktail without all the fuss of sourcing and measuring the ingredients, so I was happy to find Cocktail Crate Craft Mixers at Fresh Market…”Born in Queens, NYC”.  Bubblybee chose “Ginger Bee”, mixed it with vodka, served it in a frozen “Copper Mule Mug” with lots and lots of fresh lime.  Rich honey sweetness, fresh ginger and subtle clove.  Just add one part spirit to one part mixer in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake!

I served Dewey’s Sharp Aged Cheddar Crackers with my cocktail. Delicious crisp little crackers that disappeared quickly! A southern favorite, Dewey’s Crackers are also available in these flavors Low Country Boil,  Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread, and Carolina Style Barbeque.

If you’d like to sign up for the Fresh Market newsletter (to find out about new products and promotions),  here’s the link:  https://www.thefreshmarket.com

toast-1

CHEERS!

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The Valencia Champagne Cocktail

I love to find Cocktail Cookbooks with cocktail recipes from the “golden age of libation”.  I found this fabulous Valencia Champagne Cocktail recipe in Cocktail Hour by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel:

naan cocktail

Valencia

This delightful champagne cocktail was an international favorite.  It cast its golden glow on Europe between the wars, and was a popular specialty of the house at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. One sip and you’ll understand why.

2 ounces Apricot Brandy

1 ounce chilled Orange Juice

4 dashes Orange Bitters

3 ounces ice cold Champagne

Pour brandy, orange juice, and orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute or wineglass. Immediately top with cold champagne.

bitters

Orange bitters are a cocktail flavoring made from the peels of Seville oranges,  cardamom,  caraway seed, coriander and burnt sugar in an alcohol base. These bitters have a definite orange flavor with a bit of an evergreen taste to me. Pungent but pleasant, adds the perfect “pop” of orange to orange based cocktails.

And here’s a yummy, easy to prepare appetizer to pair with your Valencia Champagne Cocktail…I’ve fallen in love with these Naan Dippers. I call them “Baby Naan” because they are so cute.

naan bacon

Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Baby Naans

Toast the baby naans lightly and allow to cool to room temperature.  Spread mayonnaise on each baby naan. Spread each baby naan with fresh ripe avocado.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with crumbled crisp bacon and one thin slice of Roma tomato.  Cheers!

naan strawberry

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naan kitty

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Sun, Surf and Champagne!

One of my favorite photos of “George Gershwin” our 18-year-old kitty. Sadly he passed away this week. He was an inside kitty but loved to play out on our deck whenever we were out there. He kept a good eye on our champagne glasses to make sure they were always full.  Miss you my sweet boy!

For years we’ve named our kitty cats after big band musicians (we love big band!)…

Ginger Rogersmaxinekitty cat

Ginger Rogers, Maxine Andrews, Cole Porter, George Gershwin…but we are starting to run short on names, so maybe we should start naming our kitties after champagnes… Charles Heidsieck, Henri Giraud,  Pol Roger perhaps?

Pol Roger NV Brut Champagne ~ $40 – $50 range.  Consists of one-third pinot noir, one-third pinot meunier and one-third chardonnay grapes. Pear, honeysuckle and toast notes. Nicely balanced with tiny bubbles dancing around the glass.

Pol Roger’s Philosophy: 

There is that moment
when the spirit of Pol Roger is revealed.

One may think one knows champagne and yet, that day, one truly discovers it.

Pol Roger was Winston Churchill’s favorite champagne house.

My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best. ~ Winston Churchill

Food and Wine Magazine recommends pairing Pol Roger Champagne with Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze. Here’s a link to the recipe:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chicken-breasts-with-grapefruit-glaze

pol roger champagne

squirrel sign

Always love our local wine shops creative signs…thank you Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar!  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Sun and surf is always good for the soul and we had lots of both last week.

I found these Limited Batch Cape Cod Roasted Black Garlic Potato Chips at the beach. Delicious!

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Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.  ~ John Milton

We had fun tasting J Vineyards & Winery NV Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley while we were enjoying sun and surf.  $40 range.  66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 1% Pinot Meunier. Pretty salmon color with lots of little bubbles dancing around in the glass. Slightly acidic with a dry finish. Elegant mouth-feel with notes of strawberry, ripe red apples and toasted hazelnuts.

veuve at the beachsunglasses

 Veuve Clicquot sunglasses!

robe

Veuve Clicquot robe and matching slippers. A fabulous surprise from my wonderful husband.

champagne tops

wine sign

Now back at home I am looking forward to Fall (begins September 22!) with my favorite hot tea…The Republic of Tea Hot Apple Cider Tea. $11 per container…may seem expensive, but each container has 36 tea bags in it which equates to .30 per cup. Yummmmmm…

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Bartender My Drink Is On Fire! Fun Facts About Vodka

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, presented “Cocktails 101” on Sunday evening.

r and r shane lightr and r char citrus

One of my favorite parts of the class was when Shane set the citrus peel garnish for the Cosmopolitan on fire. He explained that he always has a purpose for the garnish, it is not just for looks.  Lighting the citrus peel caramelized the citrus oil and gave the drink a tiny bit of a smokey aroma.

Celebrity Mixologist Cheryl Cook invented the Cosmopolitan Cocktail in 1985 at the Strand Restaurant in South Beach.

cosmo r and r

The River and Rail Cosmopolitan

For each cocktail:

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounce Cointreau

3/4 ounce cranberry juice

1 1/2 ounce vodka

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish:  Caramelized citrus strip

vodka

Deep Eddy is River and Rail Restaurant’s house vodka. Corn based vodka from Austin Texas. Any infused vodkas that River and Rail serves will be infused in-house at the River and Rail bar…such as their basil infused Luksusowa vodka in their Something About Mary Lennox cocktail.

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com/menus

Some fun facts about vodka from Shane’s class:

Shane recommends starting with the least expensive ingredient in a cocktail first. If you mess up at the beginning you can throw it out and start again without throwing out expensive ingredients.

Vodka, the word, appears to be a Russian diminutive of a Polish phrase, woda zycia, which means “water of life”.

Vodka really gained its momentum with the marketing strategy from John Martin of Smirnoff with the slogan “Smirnoff…it’ll leave you breathless”. 

By the 1950’s vodka was roaring into popularity with the addition of Bloody Mary’s, Screwdrivers and of course the Three Martini Lunch.

By 1967 vodka surpassed Gin as the highest seller of white spirits in the US and by 1976 vodka was the number one purchased spirit overall. Vodka still remains the most popularly consumed and purchased spirit in the US.

Match these vodka slogans to the vodka they represent: (answers at the bottom of this post)

Slogans:

  1. The world’s best tasting vodka.
  2. The greatest name in Vodka.
  3. As you like it.
  4. Pure Perfection.
  5. Unleash the Raspberry!
  6. The Purest Expression of Vodka
  7. Outrageously Smooth

Vodkas:

A.  Blavod black vodka  B.Boru  C. Romanov  D.   Smirnoff  E.  Absolut Raspberri  F. Grey Goose  G. Stolichnaya

ham biscuit river and railsnack plate r and r

We always know the bar snacks will be delicious at River and Rail (country ham biscuit with whole grain mustard, Gryere cheese, house-made Asiago crackers, homemade pickled green beans and carrots.  I am especially partial to the country ham biscuits with whole grain mustard.

blood orange liquer

I have a new favorite liqueur:  Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur… made with Sicilian Sanguinello blood oranges. Add a splash or two to sparkling wine or try these lovely cocktials:

chilledmagazine.com/solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-cocktails

Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017 we celebrated the Eclipse of the Sun in style!

Answers to quiz:  1. F. – 2. D.-  3. C. – 4. D. – 5. E. 6. B. – 7. A.

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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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