Regional dishes of Champagne-Ardenne: the Champagne region of France is synonymous with luxury, glamour and … the eponymous drink – champagne of course!
The sparkling champagne of France is the country’s most desirable export and although wine producers around the world aspire to copy the exquisite taste, only wine produced in this small region east of Paris has the authority to carry the prestigious name of Champagne on its label.
These are the most northerly vineyards of France and the weather conditions vary from year to year requiring the blenders of the grape of the great Champagne houses to be able to refine and blend perfectly to be able to produce champagne year on year.
Champagne is made predominantly from black grapes which adds body but not the red colour of the pinot noir used. Practically all bottles of champagne are a blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and white chardonnay grapes – called a cuvee. Grapes are slowly fermented in the bottle with a little yeast and sugar and it is this that produces the bubbles in the wine.
In exceptional years when the weather conditions are perfect, the champagne houses will make a vintage champagne from a single harvest, or a deluxe cuvee – which will make for a very expensive champagne … and a memorable taste experience.
No visit to Champagne-Ardenne is complete without a visit to one of the great Champagne houses (Maisons) – a quick search for a champagne tour on the net will yield a great deal of choice from abseiling into a wine cellar to a private tour including a tasting of the famous Dom Perignon.
Thanks to its massive reputation champagne overrules all other thought of regional cuisine from Champagne but in fact there is plenty of opportunity for great cuisine in and from the region, Reims in particular has a wealth of amazing patisseries and chocolatiers where you can buy the most exquisite cakes, biscuits and chocolates imaginable – washed down of course with a glass of delicious champagne!