Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Who is ready for a crisp, cold bubbly? The festive folks at Taittinger Champagne demonstrated the proper way to celebrate the holidays in July. The Champagne party took place at a gorgeous East Village townhouse featuring a fantastic collection of temporary art and elaborate moldings.
For those of us who don't have a multi-story townhouse filled with art, there were certainly other party tips to be replicated. There were big golden paper circles that were stuck all over the walls, a budget-friendly way to make the stuffiest location fun. The champagne "tree" was achieved with lots of bottles with an acrylic circle in between. If you don't have the budget for that, you can substitute some bottles with water, wine, etc.
The purpose of the soiree, of course, was to taste and learn about Taittinger champagne. Their "basic" party bottle was a Brut La Francaise which was anything but. It is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It was a perfect summer sparkler with peach, vanilla and white flower notes. I loved this with the divine shrimp rillettes of the night (see recipe below).
Their Taittinger Nocturne was introduced as their holiday party vintage. The bottle looks like it was carved out of a disco ball (see the top photo). It tasted sweeter and paired well with rich desserts like champagne truffles and French macarons.
The prize of the evening was the Taittinger Comte de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs. I was told to taste the one "in the funny bottle". This Cuvee was exceptional. It was aged 8-10 years. I learned that Blanc de Blancs means the blend is 100% Chardonnay grapes. This particular champagne is made in smaller batches. When the bartenders cracked open fresh oysters on the ice next to my flute, I was in heaven.
Serve up the Shimp Rillettes with your next bottle of Taittinger Champagne:
1 T. canola oil
4 shallots, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh
1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ c dry white wine
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 T unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice plus 1 t lemon zest
1 T chopped chive
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and bay leaf. Cook until
translucent, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and wine. Season with salt and white
pepper and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaf; let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor with
Add butter and cream cheese. Puree until smooth. Add the lemon zest, juice, and
chives. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a non-metallic bowl. Press plastic wrap on surface of rillettes. Cover the
bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours.
Pipe onto toast or crackers to serve.