"The widow cuts cheese while François opens champagne with an expert pfffft. He offers me a coupe of rusty-colored fizz, a whiff of jasmine and peaches. The taste is even sweeter, appealing to my palate. 'What makes your champagne so delicious?' I ask. She pats the ground with her hand. 'The earth. Where the grapes grow. We call it terroir'."
"The first carafe is marked 1798. 'That was the year we married, it rained all summer,' I say, inhaling the weak fumes. 'Too much water for the grapes?' 'I’m impressed,' she says. 'Grapes like to work for their water. The more they’re stressed, the more flavor'."
I had no idea that widows worked the Champagne houses during the Napoleonic wars. And they could retain control of their vineyards so long as they didn't remarry. I was both educated and entertained by this historical fiction. If you love this genre, you'll adore this book. If you love Champagne, you'll want to get your hands on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and indulge!
I rarely buy Champagne because it sells at a much higher price point than the Spanish and Italian bubbles of Cava and Prosecco. But, when I do splurge, I enjoy it immensely.
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 2 cups flour
- 9 eggs
- 500 ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise with seeds scraped
- 3 eggs
- 100 grams organic granulated sugar
- 30 grams corn starch
- 25 grams butter
- 2 cups organic granulated sugar