This past Tuesday, July 11, Champagne Taittinger hosted Christmas in July, their third installment of “The Art of Celebrating the Holidays”. The series shares ways to entertain using the brand’s rich champagne. This year, the event was held at the NOMO, Soho’s premier hotel on Crosby St.
Taittinger was founded in 1734 and stands to be one of the rare remaining family-owned and operated champagne houses today. Based in Reims, it produces vintage champagnes as well as some more complex non-vintage blends. The house covers 288 hectares of vineyards and runs using some of the most environmentally friendly techniques. Taittinger possesses a style characterized by high proportions of Chardonnay. It’s no surprise their most popular option, Comtes De Champagne, is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.
Upon arrival, guests were welcomed through an entrance way of leaves and firefly lights and into a champagne wonderland. A champagne tree tower, pastel balloon photo booth, and cart of crankable champagne were just a few of the thoughtfully selected decorations contributing to the lively atmosphere. Bubbly and hors d'oeuvres ranging from mini artisanal turkey burgers to refreshing lentil salad were passed around, guaranteeing no stomach stayed empty.
After stopping by the photo booth to pose with a nearly 3-foot tall champagne bottle, guests took time perusing tables with fresh oysters and offerings from some of Taittinger’s partners: Calvisius Caviar, Urbani Truffles, and master chocolatier Jacques Torres.
Calvisus Caviar enlightened guests with the right way to eat caviar--by letting it warm on your hand and checking for odor before crushing the pearls on the roof of your mouth. If you haven’t indulged in caviar that way yet, it’s truly an experience worth the arduous process.
Notable guests included Chantelle Corbo; Catherine Cutier, Wine Expert; Julie Qin, Oyster Sommelier; and Vitalie Taittinger, Artistic Director of Champagne Taittinger. The four took lead in two private seminars on champagne and oyster pairings throughout the night.
The seminars discussed four oysters which were carefully selected out of an audition of 25, paired with champagnes to match. Ms. Corbo shared an important insight most people tend to overlook: not all champagnes go with all oysters. Each oyster has a distinct story behind the way it was raised, and everything from the algae it eats to the influence of the sea floor alters its taste and appearance. The variety amidst the Kumiai from Mexico, Nootka from Vancouver, Glidden Point of Maine, and Mystic from Connecticut allowed guests a unique opportunity to develop their palates.
While the lesson in champagne and oysters was intended for the preparation of holiday entertaining, it’s important to remember you don’t need a special occasion to drink champagne: life needs to be celebrated. Between being pampered with champagne, caviar, truffles, and oysters, Christmas in July certainly treated guests to a night of luxury they won’t forget.