R and I have elaborate methods of hiding the French Champagne in the cellar or a second refrigerator, and setting out mostly California sparkling for my family. Call me a purist, but the California stuff can still give me a headache, and though the quality is very good, of course I prefer "real" Champagne.
This holiday, I splurged, and there was Perrier Jouet Brut and Nicolas Feuillatte for all. Everyone in our house loves Champagne, even Miss Biscuit, if we'd let her drink it. There was a massive amount of it consumed this year, so much that I decided I would keep all the bottles and repurpose them somehow, or at a minimum take advantage of the beautiful green color and volume of glass. Tongue in cheek, I title this pic Soldats Morts devant Soldat avec Nature Morte~
Yes, the bottles will be in the Metis Booth at the Long Beach Flea this weekend, and with this post you see my first efforts at displaying some of them, with the "plaster" fruit and various green kugels~
For big summer parties outside, I use basic flutes, but for holiday I prefer something special. This year I used tall gold rimmed wine glasses, so I didn't have to worry about overflows or broken crystal flutes with dog tails in the living room and gesturing arms; though perhaps the larger glasses encouraged greater consumption~
In these leaner days, we are all cutting back. French Champagne is only for holidays. Sigh... How I wish I could have been a part of the circle of Madame de Pompadour, who popularized Champagne in the court of Louis XV. The coupe de Champagne is said to be modelled after her breast. Versailles was drafty and the rooms so large and cold, I would have thought cognac more warming, but Mme. de P. loved her bubbly.
Well-read, beautiful, and accomplished in the arts and conversation, she met the King at a masked ball at Versailles, she dressed as a shepherdess and he dressed as...an "if," which is a conifer used for garden topiary (I think it was in fact a group disguise, but I've never understood how one dresses as "a topiary..."). Her marriage was dissolved several months later, as she remarked "Who but the King of the World could make one infidele?" I love this portrait of her by Boucher~Then again, if I look at this painting of Madame, I realize maybe it's ok to be on Champagne Austerity. One word: Calories. Hard to believe she is just 42 in this memorial portrait by Drouais, which was completed after her death from tuberculosis. At this point she and Le Roi were platonic but still very close friends~
In addition to quantities of Champagne, the King furnished his mistress with some nice digs, buying her one of the finest residences in Paris, the Hotel d'Evreux. Today we know it as the Elysee Palace, official residence of the President of France, though the palace and gardens have been changed many times since Madame's day. Laura and I should do a Metis French Fridays post on the Elysee. Here is my favorite room, the Salon Dore, which has been preserved intact since it was completed in 1861 for Empress Eugenie, queen consort of Napoleon III. The 18C bureau-plat or desk shown here is also magnificent, brought to the room by DeGaulle.
This is the traditional office of the President, the French Oval Office, if you will. If my office looked like this, I'd move right in! Sorry for the bunny-trail of Champagne, Madame de P. and the Elysee. In any case, it's au revoir to my dear friend Champagne for another 10 months, or at least until my trip to France in May, haha!