Visiting the Champagne region was probably the best day I’ve had here.
1. Because I love Champagne
2. The group of people that were on the trip
3. The lunch on the trip
4. What happened after we got back to Paris
5. Getting out of Paris and seeing some of the country side
6. I enjoy coach buses
So we had to meet at school around 8ish. My alarm was set for 6:30. Of course, I could not fall asleep and ended up only getting like 3 or 4 hours of sleep that night. Not the best way to start a full day. We went to caves (cellars) in Reims which is about an hour and a half away from Paris.
Our first stop was to the G.H. Mumm cave. They’ve been making Champagne since 1827 and were very official and classy.Their claim to fame bottle is the Cordon Rouge.
I learned a lot about Champagne. They’re made from three different kinds of grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. There are different percentages for each bottle and each year and each company. Only the grapes grown in this region can be used to make Champagne and there’s a whole committee which decides how many days each kind of champagne must age and how they’re stored etc. They showed us how they used to make Champagne and the evolution of their processes through out the years, the various size of bottles and prices and ages for each kind, and the fermentation process. Basically they put yeast in the bottle as a second fermentation which gives it the bubbles and while it ages, they turn the bottle like 15 degrees and eventually the yeast collects at the neck of the bottle. To get the yeast out, they put the neck in a super cold substance (liquid nitrogen?) and then the yeast freezes in ice cube form and pops out because of the pressure. Some Champagne is lost but it’s not significant.
So basically, there are two main types of Champagne: Brut and Demi-Sec. Brut is drier and more common in the states while the Demi-Sec has like 20 extra grams of suger and is pretty sweet (reminds me of Andre…bahah)
At the end of the tour at the Mumm cave there was a kind of quasi-museum and then we got to sample or deguster in French. I of course tried the Brut but took a sip of the Demi-Sec from my friend. Yummm.
Next we were off to lunch. I’m not sure where we ate but it was in Marne which is in Reims. It was amazing. A 4 course meal with a glass of champagne and 3 bottles of wine for a table (there were only 6 at my table).
First course: salad with special French dressing (it’s amazing and it’s on every salad here), some kind of warm cheese on baguette, escargots (out of shell) in a garlicy champagne sauce.
Second course: Champagne liquer sorbet. They call it a Champgne trou or something which means Champagne hole. It’s served in the middle of meals like that in order to “make a hole” in your stomach for more food. It was quite alcoholic.
Third course: Pork tenderloin (some kind of Champagne sauce), veggies, hashbrown potato (looked like it was from McDo)
Fourth course: dessert. Honestly, at this point, I cannot remember what the dessert was. It was some kind of cake.
And of course coffee.
Our table was deemed the “Alcoholic Table” and I’m sure if you’re reading this, we talk pretty often so I will explain this story more when I see you because it’s probs not safe for the interwebz.
After lunch, we went to the Vadin-Plateau cave which is a family run cellar. The tour was much shorter and we were very close to the machinar etc cause it was such a small place. This time we got 2 glasses. One of the Brut and one of the Rosé. I asked the French guy (very cute) how they make Rosé and he said it’s a mixture of the red and white grapes.
On the way back to Paris, we got stopped by the Gendarmerie!! It was quite exciting. We all had to buckle our seat belts and he just came on and checked the fire exits and what not. He was concerned about the Champagne bottles people bought and what would happen to us if we got in a crash and the bottles flew everywhere so he made them put the bottles under the bus.
After we got rid of the Gendarme, we had enough time to stop in the middle of Reims to see the cathedral. It’s basically a mini Notre-Dame but very, very impressive. We literally only had 15 minutes but I was glad we stopped. Later that evening I got an email from my granddad (who was driving from England to Italy) which a picture attached asking me to indentify where he was. Well guess what!? It was the Reims Cathedral. And the ONLY reason I could even google that was because we HAPPENED to have enough time to stop by. I love coincidences like that.
Once we were back in Paris, Galit, Kate, and I went to a French house party with some Louisiana guys from the FIAP. Turns out the party was in the French Parliament building. Partying with the Gendarmerie and the French ministers?? Yes. bahah. The French guy we knew had an appartment in the building because his dad works there and since they have long hours the get apartments but no one uses the apartments on the weekends. The party was a lot of fun! And they had food! That is one thing our parties at home need: food. I don’t know how many frozen pizzas this kid made but the fact that I didn’t eat dinner before the party was not an issue.
I ended up leaving the party pretty early since I had to wake up early to go to the beach (which didn’t happen) or finish my paper. Of course, this was the day my credits on my phone unexpectedly “expired” and I had to take the metro and walk home (5 min from the metro stop) by myself at night!! Well, Paris isn’t as sketchy as I thought (at least not before the metro closes on a Saturday night) and I made it home safe. Deff a bit nerve racking though.
So that was probs the best Saturday ever. Ahh J’adore France.