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Champagne

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I have a few questions about champagne, and wine. When dining formally, I believe it is common etiquette to first take a bottle of champagne once at the table, and aperitifs, such as Martinis have been finished, if these have been carried to the table. However, as no food is to be eaten, or even decided upon at this stage, except perhaps bread if the home/restaurant/hall is austerely following etiquette. I wondered firstly what type of Champagne would be good to order at this stage; my feeling is perhaps a Dom Perignon, or a Bollinger would be good, as they are reasonably light, and crisp, however, some would argue that a more pungent Champagne, such as Veuve Clicqout, or Moet e Chandon would be more appropriate, any opinions, or if anyone knows for sure, what is the correct etiquette. In addition, what sorts of food would you say go well with the various Champagnes if carrying the drink forward to the main meal, which I believe is acceptable, although obviously wine is preferable. In addition, is it acceptable to change to red wine after the champagne, or is the bad etiquette? Finally, after the meal, is it possible to drink digestifs other than cognac, or would this be wrong? Thanks,
post #2 of 45
I think Bollinger would qualify as more full bodied than Veuve and Moet personally. Dom or Krug would be my choice for Champagne. It's certainly OK to switch to red wine. As for foods to carry forward, foie gras is a good choice, as would be something like sea scallops. After the meal, you could do something like a dessert wine (Sauternes, Barsac, TBA, Eiswein, Tokaji) or scotch as well.
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I think Bollinger would qualify as more full bodied than Veuve and Moet personally.  Dom or Krug would be my choice for Champagne. It's certainly OK to switch to red wine.  As for foods to carry forward, foie gras is a good choice, as would be something like sea scallops. After the meal, you could do something like a dessert wine (Sauternes, Barsac, TBA, Eiswein, Tokaji) or scotch as well.
Yes, I too would personaly enjoy Dom very much by itself, however, I feel that with a meal it is more important to get the paring right with the food being eaten. I find Veuve very full, however perhaps that is because I often drink its vintages so I have a slightly mired perception, however, I do feel Bollinger is quite a bit lighter than NV Moet, perhaps just my opinion. Thank you for the excllent advice.
post #4 of 45
I was referring to at that particular moment in time. Most people I know will start meals (if they are starting with Champagne) with Dom or Krug, the other champagnes are used in conjunction with the appetizer course (if they are eating shellfish or other sea fare) and SOMETIMES with foie gras, although I think Sauternes is a better pairing at that point. I personally like Cristal and Bollinger champagnes the most, although a Dom/Krug is always a good choice as well.
post #5 of 45
Quote:
I have a few questions about champagne, and wine. When dining formally, I believe it is common etiquette to first take a bottle of champagne once at the table, and aperitifs, such as Martinis have been finished, if these have been carried to the table. However, as no food is to be eaten, or even decided upon at this stage, except perhaps bread if the home/restaurant/hall is austerely following etiquette. I wondered firstly what type of Champagne would be good to order at this stage; my feeling is perhaps a Dom Perignon, or a Bollinger would be good, as they are reasonably light, and crisp, however, some would argue that a more pungent Champagne, such as Veuve Clicqout, or  Moet e Chandon would be more appropriate, any opinions, or if anyone knows for sure, what is the correct etiquette. In addition, what sorts of food would you say go well with the various Champagnes if carrying the drink forward to the main meal, which I believe is acceptable, although obviously wine is preferable. In addition, is it acceptable to change to red wine after the champagne, or is the bad etiquette? Finally, after the meal, is it possible to drink digestifs other than cognac, or would this be wrong? Thanks,
There are many schools of thoughts when it comes to the appropriateness of champagne before, during and after meals (it is often served with dessert in France).  You can certainly devise a whole meal serving exclusively champagne (I can find you examples if you are interested).  I don't really appreciate champagne, so I would end up feeling frustrated myself. Digestifs, as the name indicates, have the purpose of helping you, well, digest (myth or reality?).  The "trou normand" (pear sherbert with calvados) in the middle of a meal is another one of these quirky customs.  So yes, a digestif should be served after a meal, sometimes with or around coffee.
post #6 of 45
Fabienne, In France, do you know if it is appropriate to serve coffee containing milk (cappucino, etc) with dessert or after dinner? I know it is not appropriate in italy but is common practice in Austria (where Melange is served at all hours) sorry for the hijack
post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I was referring to at that particular moment in time.  Most people I know will start meals (if they are starting with Champagne) with Dom or Krug, the other champagnes are used in conjunction with the appetizer course (if they are eating shellfish or other sea fare) and SOMETIMES with foie gras, although I think Sauternes is a better pairing at that point.  I personally like Cristal and Bollinger champagnes the most, although a Dom/Krug is always a good choice as well.
Personaly I really dont like Cristal. I understood what you were saying about the champagne with the foie gras, and scallops. As I thought, wine is better, but quite often with the company I am with, wine does not meet their tastes. I would assume you mean Duck foie gras, and not goose, as it (in my opinion) is far too rich to go with champagne.
post #8 of 45
Sometimes goose foie gras is paired with Champagne as well, it's not my favorite combination, again I think Sauternes (a nice d'Yquem, Rieussec, or Climens would be my choice) Some vintages of Cristal, especially the roses, are quite excellent IMO.
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Fabienne, In France, do you know if it is appropriate to serve coffee containing milk (cappucino, etc) with dessert or after dinner?  I know it is not appropriate in italy but is common practice in Austria (where Melange is served at all hours) sorry for the hijack
Let me put it differently: it is customary to have coffee with milk for breakfast (in a big "bol", with your shoulders on the table . At the end of a meal, I don't think I've ever seen a French person drink anything other than black coffee/espresso. I think a waiter would think it odd. I offer milk or cream to my guests because I live in America. The idea of black coffee could be likened to that of the digestif: to cleanse your palate, to signify the end of a meal by making a strong statement. But that is only my take on it. Now, if you're having an afternoon coffee with dessert, some time around 4pm, then I think you might see people pouring cream in their coffee. Yes, I do remember that about Austria, being offered a mélange after dinner. I suppose my surprise at the time should be an indication.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
I would assume you mean Duck foie gras, and not goose, as it (in my opinion) is far too rich to go with champagne.
The difference there is in the taste, not in the "richness". Unless you mean richness of taste?
post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
There are many schools of thoughts when it comes to the appropriateness of champagne before, during and after meals (it is often served with dessert in France).  You can certainly devise a whole meal serving exclusively champagne (I can find you examples if you are interested).  I don't really appreciate champagne, so I would end up feeling frustrated myself. Digestifs, as the name indicates, have the purpose of helping you, well, digest (myth or reality?).  The "trou normand" (pear sherbert with calvados) in the middle of a meal is another one of these quirky customs.  So yes, a digestif should be served after a meal, sometimes with or around coffee.
Although I do not wish to be disrespectful, and I would say though the finest cuisine is indeed French, etiquette is a British, and even more so a Swiss forte. In these countries Champagne is (and again the stupidity of the matter, as Champagne is French) served only ever before the meal, and is against etiquette to serve after the main course has been eaten, after which in Britain one would drink Port, or as per the Swiss custom a digestifs that matches the drink drank with the main meal. I would be very happy if you could give me some examples of meals, which would go well with Champagne all the way. I think, but am unsure that Swiss Finishing School teaches that the digestifs are to be drank pre coffee but post desert. Thank you for the superb advice.
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
(Styleman @ Jan. 17 2005,17:22) I would assume you mean Duck foie gras, and not goose, as it (in my opinion) is far too rich to go with champagne.
The difference there is in the taste, not in the "richness".  Unless you mean richness of taste?
Sorry for the lack of clarity; yes I did mean richness of taste.
post #13 of 45
Yeah, I am used to black coffee/espresso after dinner as well. Many Austrian customs are also French because of the intermingling of the royal houses, so I was curious to see if that was one of them.
post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
sorry for the hijack
No problem, I enjoy a varied dicussion.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
I understood what you were saying about the champagne with the foie gras, and scallops. As I thought, wine is better, but quite often with the company I am with, wine does not meet their tastes.
Here are suggestions, taken from a French website. I think it's pretty self-explanatory, or does it need translation? Pour les entrées : poissons, crustacés, jambon un champagne très sec, un BRUT. Par exemple : GASTON CHIQUET tradition Brut, DEVAUX cuvée D, PIPER-HEIDSIECK cuvée rare. Pour le foie gras, un demi-sec, plus rond s'impose : VEUVE CLIQUOT 1/2 sec, pour les plats à base de truffes, plus aromatisée, un Brut millésimé d'au moins 10 ans. Pour les plats : poissons, crustacés chauds, un champagne jeune 92-93 MUMM CORDON ROUGE, NICOLAS FEUILLATTE cuvée Palmes d'Or, FLEURY cuvée Fleur de l'Europe. Pour les gibiers à plumes : un champagne fruité, puissant, millésimé : RENE GEOFFROY cuvée Sélection, BOLLINGER grande année de 90. Pour la volaille et viande blanche : champagne Brut millésimé de 85 à 93. Fromages : le champagne se marie bien avec POMMERY WINTERTIME Desserts : c'est plus délicat. Il vaut mieux éviter le champagne et le servir après le repas. A ce moment-là, on choisit du sublime KRUGG 88, DON PERIGNON rosé 90, BOLLINGER R.D 81, POMMERY cuvée Louise 88, etc... Autres choix : Avec du saumon légèrement fumé : une VEUVE CLIQUOT Rosé. Avec une viande comme l'agneau, une poularde ou du gibier à plumes, une VEUVE PONSARDIN Rosé.
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