Break out the bubbly for a good time anytime

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Champaign is truly one of the world’s greatest inventions, and if you’re like me, you tend to drink it only when some celebration rolls around or it’s 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Let’s stop this madness!

Champagne is not a luxury item reserved for the well heeled, nor is it just for slugging back before dancing like a white boy to “Proud Mary” at a wedding reception. No! It is a viable drink that deserves an honored place on your beverage list. It accompanies many foods incredibly well, and it holds an esteemed slot on the erotica scale.

Tomato or Tamatoe?

There is this confusing little issue about Champagne but it’s easy to explain, so stay with me. In order to rightfully be called Champaign, the wine must be made from certain grapes grown in certain areas in France within the Champaign region and then fermented via the “méthode champenoise” process. Bubbly made elsewhere in the world is called “sparkling wine,” which is why you will see it listed on menus as such. I know, it’s terribly PC, but, generally speaking, you should consider it to be the same stuff.

A Monk, A Queen, A Breast, And A Flute

I’m sure you’ve heard that Champaign was invented by a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon, who was Cellarman at the Abbey of Hautvillers from 1668 to 1715. However, other regions of France claim to have produced the first sparkling wines, and it wouldn’t be surprising since vines have been planted in France since Roman times. Debate aside, the Dom was certainly a critical figure in developing the traditional Champaign process, and one of the most popular bottles we know of still carries his name.

Another bit of folklore regarding the fascinating history of Champaign is that the ill-fated Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, had saucer shaped Champaign glasses modeled after her breasts. You still see breast shaped glasses at weddings and banquets, but the best vessel to enjoy Champaign in is the flute – an ancient design traceable to Roman times. The flute helps bubbles rise slowly to your lips, allowing the aromas to flower. (Your guess is as good as mine as to what historical male the flute was modeled after.) Do buy yourself a nice set of flutes in which to serve Champaign, though.

A Lover’s Libation

I really can’t think of any beverage as erotic as Champaign. It simply oozes romance, sensuality, seduction, anticipation or appreciation for a special someone. Become an instant seductress by adding Champaign to your bag of tricks:

Transfer a small sip in to a lover’s mouth with a French kiss.

Use on other erogenous zones.

Feed one another strawberries dipped in Champaign.

Surprise your lover with a chilled bottle on the nightstand along with candles, flowers and chocolates.

In lieu of flowers, tie balloons to a bottle and deliver to a lucky recipient.

Dinner Party Greatness

If you suffer from dinner party hosting inadequacy, Champaign is the answer for you. Guests will think you are culinary god or goddess if you serve it with appetizers, a first course such as soup or salad, or with dessert. Remember, it accompanies foods well.

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Korbel, Domaine Chandon and Gloria Ferrer make lovely Champaigns, but be sure to treat yourself to other popular brands such as: Tattinger, Louis Roederer, Veuve Clicquot, Mumm, Paul Roger and Perrier Jouet. Labels will note if the Champaign is very dry (Brut), or sweet (Demi-sec) or made from white grapes (Blanc de Blancs) or made from black grapes (Blanc de Noirs) to illustrate some. Experiment and see which ones you prefer.

Integrating Champaign into your life more will add festivity and variety as you make memories with friends, lovers and family. Besides, aren’t we always looking for a reason to celebrate? As for me, I’m toasting to life in general and to the pending end of Bush’s second term.