Since the birthplace of Bubbly was a mere 45 minutes away by train from Paris, we decided to swing by and get behind the fuss of the drink.
The reason why we pop a bottle of champagne during celebrations is simple – it is a practice of royalty passed down through the ages.
In the mid 17th century when champagne was first introduced here, the King was the first to be offered a sip. Or gulp, depending on how much of an alcoholic he is. It was only right because the guy owned the lands and anything good that came from them. He obviously liked the drink, quite rare at that time, and so was reserved for festivals and celebrations of the royals.
And you know how they took it? During dessert, in a glass left out for 2 hours. This meant no bubbles.
Well, because they had to let the sedimentation process take place in vitro. The makers did not possess knowledge as we now do, and so Royalty had to wait for a fizzy drink to fizz out before consumption. 😉 That didn’t take out the buzz in their revelry because they didn’t know better. Sometimes that is a blessing 🙂
That was a bit of what we learnt from our tour at Pommery-Vraken this morning. That, and how Madame Louise Pommery, widowed at 39, single-handedly built up the bubbly business. She was one of the rare few women of that time who had an education; And in England no less. She also had the foresight to construct the chalk caves under her castle-house by connecting the ones already dug out during the Gallo-Roman times to form an 18km thoroughfare for storage and ageing. It’s amazing.
Madame Pommery launched her champagne first in England where she studied, and later to Germany and Japan. There was even Mongolia. The tunnels in the chalk caves were named after these cities to commemorate the launches. Brilliant!