Birthday? Crack open a bottle of champagne. New job, promotion? Get out the champagne! New baby? More champagne! A weekend lunch with friends and family? Champagne, please… Only the sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France can be called champagne.
Not reserved just for weddings and New Years, champagne is usually served as an aperitif with a selection of hor d’œuvres: foie gras, smoked salmon, tapenade, flavoured crackers, cheese cubes, and the list goes on… I like having stuffed olives for its savoury kick.
A friend once passed a doubt on how much champagne was consumed in France and I have no doubt because all French people definitely enjoy a good wine and will find an occasion for it!
It’s definitely great for most occasions with its bubbly, light body and wide variety of tasting notes – from vanilla, caramel, flowers, nuts and fruits – you’ll be able to find one for the meal you plan to have it with. I also find having champagne with a meal much more refreshing than a wine – select one with a slightly heavier body for a good accompaniment.
A really popular drink is the kir royal, pictured above. It’s a flute of champagne with a tiny bit of sirop de cassis (blackcurrant syrup) for a sweeter, more fruity refreshment.
Champagne was popularised by Hugh Capet, a French king crowned at the cathedral of Reims in 987 AD. He started the tradition of celebrating with champagne through his coronation banquets, bringing the next monarchs to the region.
So feel free to pop that bottle as soon as the next occasion allows and have a glass for me while you’re at it!