We all know Champagne is a staple during the holidays – nothing says celebration like the sound of a cork popping!
Champagne is great to serve at a party as well as to share as a gift, but the choices can be overwhelming. Champagne comes in many different varieties and price points. I have narrowed down the playing field to to include my favorite Champagnes and sparkling wines covering three different price points, $10, $20 and $40.
Varietals of Champagne
1. The drier, less sweet classification is called BRUT
2. The slightly sweeter classification is called DRY
3. The sweet classification is simply called SWEET
There are different price points of Champagne. For this holiday season I chose some of my favorite Champagnes and Sparkling Wines with a range of price points.
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation. The term “Champagne” is used to refer to wine produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France from which it takes its name.
Champagne first gained world renown because of its association with the anointment of French kings. Royalty from throughout Europe spread the message of the unique sparkling wine from Champagne and its association with luxury and power in the 17th, 18th and 19th century. The leading manufacturers devoted considerable energy to creating a history and identity for their wine, associating it and themselves with nobility and royalty. Through advertising and packaging they sought to associate Champagne with high luxury, festivities, and rites of passage. Their efforts coincided with the emergence of a middle class that was looking for ways to spend its money on symbols of upward mobility.
Champagne is usually served in a Champagne flute, whose characteristics include a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl, thin sides and an etched bottom. The Victorian coupe (according to legend, designed using a mould of the left breast (signifying a giving from the heart) of Marie Antoinette as a birthday present to her husband, Louis XVI) is not recommended as it disperses the nose and over-oxygenates the wine. Champagne is always served cold, its ideal drinking temperature at 7 to 9 °C (45 to 48 °F). Often the bottle is chilled in a bucket of ice and water before opening, which also ensures the champagne is less gassy and can be opened without spillage. Champagne buckets are made specifically for this purpose, and often have a larger volume than standard wine-cooling buckets (to accommodate the larger bottle, add more water and ice).
Gold gilded fruit is a great edible centerpiece, its a great interactive activity to do with your children and it is a great alternative to plastic fruit. After the party is over, you can repurpose the fruit to make a delicious Golden Apple Pie which is tres chic!
List of Materials Needed:
- Fresh or Plastic Fruit (apples, pears, pomegranates, walnuts in the shell)
- 24 Karat Edible Gold Leaf Sheets
- Sugar Glue
- Disposable foam paint brush
Recipe for Edible Sugar Glue:
- 1 part Vodka
- 2 parts Sugar
Heat the mixture in the microwave until smooth, there should be no grains of sugar visible in the heated mixture.
Clean and dry fruit. If you’re using fresh fruit, the firmer the better. (You can get the same look with fake fruit, if you want it to last)
With a disposable paintbrush, apply a thin, even coat of sugar glue solution. Let dry until tacky (about 15 minutes).
Press sheets of 24 caret gold leaf onto the fruit and roll over a clean cloth surface. Overlap sheets slightly, and remove any loose pieces.
Allow fruit to dry completely and arrange in a gold gilded glass bowl for a dramatic edible table decoration.
For links to all The Golden Harvest recipes and tips, click here!