Actually….real champagne only comes from France. I recently learned this – sparkling wine made from grapes from the Champagne region of France is the only sparkling wine that can be labeled and sold as champagne.
Cava is sparkling wine from Spain.
Prosecco is sparkling wine from Italy. And so on….
I think the word “champagne” has gone the way of Kleenex, Rollerblades, and Post-its. These are brands that are now synonymous with the product itself. How many people shop for “kleenex” (tissues), but don’t buy Kleenex brand?
My priority for this trip was my excursion to Champagne. It is one of the only regions of France I had not yet visited. I did a tour from Paris, via bus…. and it was a fabulous day.
We started at Mumm with a short movie, guided tour and tasting. I bought two bottles, and would have liked more than one glass of champagne.
We then went to the city of Reims to see their cathedral. This cathedral is famous for being the place where Frances’ kings held their coronations, and beautiful stained glass by Marc Chagall. I’ve seen many Chagall paintings, but never knew he also created beautiful stained glass.
I had a little free time for shopping and lunch. I unwillingly tried a local McDonald’s (I only eat at these when abroad). Their frites (french fries) taste the same as in the U.S. – over salted. I also tried their version of the macaroon. Don’t waste your money getting these cookies at a fast-food restaurant. Buy them from a proper French bakery. The ones at McDonald’s were sad imitations, and stale.
We got back on the bus for the short drive to Epernay – and to Moet & Chandon. Dom Perignon!
Their lobby looks like the lobby of a really nice hotel. (I wonder how many employees they have just for tours and tourists??) This was the huge flower arrangement on a large table in the sitting area.
They also showed us a short movie, and then down to the caves. We spent more time in their caves than we did at Mumm. I am pretty sure I couldn’t work down there for two reasons: 1. I would get lost, and 2. it is moldy and smells like dirt. Their caves are actually chalk….. the white stuff your teacher used to write on the blackboards.
The guide didn’t leave us alone with the Dom, and I know this isn’t a great picture but it is all I have to show for the fact that I got see some of this wonderful champagne before it was ready for sale.
The tasting was nice, but it was of Moet and not Dom. Their Dom prices were not good so I didn’t buy any.
I had a really nice nap in the bus on the way back to Paris. It was a great day!