A Very French Christmas: Champagne
Nothing beats Christmas in the Philippines and after four years of living in France, I can definitely attest to this. After all, it’s difficult to top giant Christmas trees in every shopping mall, lights on every building, street, house and corner, and Christmas carols that start as early as September. Although the French keep to regular Christmas schedules, one thing can be said for the people in this country that I now call home – they sure know how to throw a Christmas feast. Although there is not a single lechon in sight, a French Christmas more than makes up for it with what they put on the table.
In this series, let me share the essentials that make up a French Christmas feast. Starting with a French staple that can never be absent at Christmas (or at birthdays, baptisms, weddings even when someone gets a raise!) – Champagne.
Fact: I have never consumed as much Champagne as I have before moving to Paris. The French drink Champagne like water and no occasion, no matter how big or small, is complete sans les bulles. Champagne is very essentially French, that anything else produced outside the Champagne region of France cannot bear the name. Major players such as Krug and Möet & Chandon are widely known, but there are small producers that only sell in France worth looking at during your next visit. Let’s start poppin’ bottles!
Serving refined palates since 1843, Krug is the first maison de Champagne to offer exclusive vintages every year since its creation. This year, it offers Krug 2004, the House’s most recent vintage, and Krug Grande Cuvée 160th Edition.
Champagne Taittinger earned its place amongst connoisseurs with its lighter and more elegant taste, defined by its premiere vintage Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc launched in 1957. Today, Champagne Taittinger remains a favorite, especially for their Prestige Rosé – a definite Parisian favorite.
The House of Claude Cazals was founded in 1897 and is situated on Grand Cru terroir (the best place for growing grapes in the Champagne region). The Extra Brut – Grand Cru is aged for at least 60 years before it finds its way into our glasses.
ARMAND DE BRIGNAC
When news broke out that Jay-Z bought this Champagne brand in 2014, Champagne Armand de Brignac became a worldwide phenomenon. With its unique gold bottle making an appearance in the rapper’s “Show Me What You Got” music video, it is now touted as essential bling for high profile events.
A family-run vineyard founded in 1947, Maison AR Lenoble is focused on tradition with the business passing on from generation to generation. Their Rosé “des Blancs” is perfect for the ladies who enjoy a glass (or two) of bubbly with their Sunday brunch.