FFF – Champagne

Champagne is one of my favourite things to drink.  I would drink champagne with breakfast if it was reasonable to do so.  So, I skip champagne for breakfast.  I do enjoy it for apéro all the way through to dessert.

Yes folks, champagne is that versatile and while most North Americans enjoy champagne — or sparkling wine — on special occasions, the French enjoy it quite often.

I’m not going to talk about the history of Champagne, how it’s made, or the region.  You can easily Google that and read to your heart’s content.  Or, if you’re lucky, get on a bus/on a train/in your car and head to the region itself.  Remember these two words:  dégustation gratuite (free tasting)!  There are two things, however, that many North Americans may not know or understand about champagne: it’s versatility, as I alluded to above; and the méthode champenoise.

Let’s talk about that méthode business.  Champagne, like Crémant, is a sparkling wine.  You probably heard the ruckus a few years back about sparkling wine not from the Champagne region being called champagne.  Champagne makers were up in arms.  I guess it’s like saying Gruyère is the same thing as Comté.  (Just to test this I turned to D and said “Gruyère is the same thing as Comté, isn’t it?”  His swift and immediate reply — I kid you not — was “it is not. With 10 exclamation marks.”  This test also works the other way around with Swiss friends.)

I have nothing against sparkling wine from other parts of France or from other countries.  We served a mighty fine Canadian sparkling wine at our wedding reception because the price of Champagne in Canada is very high.  What I don’t want is that sweet, almost soda-like beverage that some people serve instead of Champagne especially when they’ve hyped me up by telling me they have a really good bottle of Champagne.

(Okay, I’m a little over the top here as I know quite a few of you like your sparkling wine a little on the sweet side.)

I don’t know about you but I grew up with the idea that Champagne was for special occasions.  People would buy a magnum for someone’s graduation or maybe an engagement party.  It signified that something festive was going on and that there was a reason to celebrate.

The French take it to a whole other level.

Sure, special occasions like Christmas and New Year’s get the Champagne treatment.  Ditto for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and family reunions.  Champagne also makes an appearance on dimanche, lundi, jeudi, and any day of the week that ends in i.  Champagne is a great way to start a meal; it’s a fabulous way to end a meal too.  Much like beer, on a hot day Champagne is very refreshing.  You can chill your Champagne for several days in the fridge or use a champagne/ice bucket filled with water and ice.

Try it at your next barbecue.  You may be surprised.

Here’s a fun chart that relates to the photo above:

Other bottle sizes have been used for special occasions.  For example, a 600 ml bottle was made by Pol Roger specially for Sir Winston Churchill.  Reportedly, he would have one brought to him every morning at 11 am.  (And here I was worried about having champers with brekkie.)  There is also the rare 18 litre, 24 bottle Solomon and the enormous 27 litre, 36 bottle Primat.  Now, that’s a party!

Happy Friday mes amisTchin!

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Categories: Champagne, FFF (Food Frenzy Fridays), sparkling wine

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment...in France!

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4 Comments on “FFF – Champagne”

  1. July 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM #

    Very interesting. Champagne at a BBQ… You know, it’s weird, but I could see how it could be paired with some BBQ food, esp. meat.

    I don’t like the overly-sweet stuff either. I guess I need to seek out some REAL champagne! 😉

    • July 23, 2011 at 5:18 PM #

      It’s very good at a bbq. Mmm, grilled meats, salad, champagne. I could go for that right about now.
      And yes, get thee some REAL champagne!

  2. July 25, 2011 at 1:59 PM #

    I was not a champagne lover before coming to France. As with many things, that has changed. I know almost nothing about it, but I DO know that I now love the tradition of champagne for the apero. Anything, including BBQ, can follow.

    • July 26, 2011 at 9:43 PM #

      As D lived for a time in Reims he’s gotten to know a thing or two about the various champagne houses. As a result, we always seem to have 3 or 4 bottles at home. And yes, the champagne apero is a lovely thing.

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