Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Facts about Champagne to Impress your Friends

Here are five facts about champagne to wow your friends that I learnt from my trip to the Champagne region in France:

  1. Champagnes are made up of blends of different grapes and usually includes chardonnay and pinot noir.
  2. Moet ensures consistency in their flavour, so they use grapes from previous years, which is why you never see a year on their bottles.
  3. Vintage champagnes must be at least 3 years old, though some houses will age their champagne from five to seven years. 
  4. Champagne is known as a celebratory drink because it was served during the coronation of Kings in Reims. 
  5. Champagne used to be called devil's wine because the glass bottles would explode during fermentation.
Epernay & Reims

The two most popular towns to visit in the Champagne region are Epernay and Reims in Northern France, 130km from Paris. They are accessible by train. Some houses require reservations, with entrance fees varying for tours and sampling.

The Champagne Houses
Moet & Chandon is centrally located in Epernay, within walking distance from the train station.
Other houses in Epernay:
  • Mercier's - cellar tours have a small train to take you around. 
  • Castellane - a tower for views of the town. 
  • Bollinger is by group tour. 
Veuve Cliquot is located in Reims and is also by group tour. We tried the Grand Dame which is lovely and smooth. A very special champagne indeed.  

If you are in France, you might like to try Pierre Herme macarons, they are gastronomically foodtastic - St Germain's master magician. Or you might want to pop over to London and try cakes shaped like bags and shoes with afternoon tea at the Berkeley.

Fancy designer window shopping in Paris? Read Paris - The Designer Fashion Capital of the World.
Check out the annual artist open studios - The Paris Belleville AAB Art Festival.

If you know any other fun facts about champagne, please share them.  

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