#37: Champagne and Cava
Cheers to my first 40 by 40 Project accomplishment: #37 - Drink Champagne in France and Cava in Spain!
As a documented lover of bubbly, it's no surprise that I enthusiastically - and thoroughly! -pursued this goal first. In fact, I'm not entirely sure just how much Champagne and Cava I managed to drink during my week of European adventures, but let's just say my birthday trip was properly celebrated.
I sought out my first cocktail within an hour of arriving in Paris. Exhausted and sleep-deprived, I plopped into a nondescript café and ordered a nondescript sparkling wine. Refreshing, but didn't really count as "champagne in Paris". True Champagne must meet strict standards as set by Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, which stipulates, among other things, that the grapes must be grown in specifically recognized vineyards within the Champagne region of France, adhere to very strict standards of grape production, and experience a secondary fermentation process in the bottle to achieve carbonation.
Alas, my wine didn't rise to such standards. But, c'est la vie, it was delicious anyway!
My REAL Champagne moment came later that day, thanks to a magnificently thoughtful birthday gift:
My darling friends surprised me with a bottle of unparalleled greatness: Veuve Clicquot. As I gazed out over the Parisian skyline from my terrace at the Hotel Brighton, I slowly sipped the luxurious Champagne and thus, achieved half of the #37 goal.
Being the overachiever that I am, however, I went ahead and had Moët that evening at The Ritz Carlton's famous Hemingway Bar. We'll call this Champagne Part Deux:
"If I have any money? I can't think of any better way of spending money than on champagne." - oh, Ernest, you know me so well!
After a couple days in Paris, I hopped the high-speed rail to head down to Barcelona where, within moments of arrival at The Serras Hotel, a sprite gentleman handed me a glass of Cava and ushered me to my room where I was doubly surprised by a full bottle of Cava and a decadent slice of chocolate cake. I ate and drank it all. Oh, yes I did. That's what birthday trips are for, right?
Cava is a sparkling Spanish wine primarily produced in Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain. As with champagne, there are strict standards that dictate what can be considered "Cava", including where and how the grapes are produced.
With my first "40 by 40 Project" goal completed, I toasted my achievement with another glass of Cava on the roof of the hotel. Cheers to my endeavors - only 39 more to go!