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Bubbly Events, Champagne

#TopItOff with Louis Roederer Champagne & the Tablehopper

January 8, 2014
Party_guests_Marianne's_Roederer
At Top It Off hosted by Louis Roederer Champagne and the Tablehopper, the Brut Premier flowed.

At Top It Off hosted by Louis Roederer Champagne and the Tablehopper at The Cavalier SF, the Brut Premier flowed freely.

A few days before the end of 2013, I had a preview of New Year’s fun to come at a sparkling party with my friend the Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi and Louis Roederer Champagne. Dubbed Top It Off, the party offered a chance to experience the exclusive, members only event space at The Cavalier in SoMa and to enjoy the most agreeable Louis Roederer Brut Premier.

Cavalier is tucked away off Jesse Street on the backside of the Hotel Zetta; smart red awnings announce that you’ve arrived. It offers a San Francisco interpretation of a slightly posh London pub, with fish and chips, sticky pudding and Pimm’s Cups. In the style of many famous London establishments like Quo Vadis in Soho, the Cavalier has a clubby private space with a bar they call Marianne’s.

 

A smartly dressed coterie in Marianne's at The Cavalier. Can you spot The Tablehopper?

A smartly dressed coterie filled Marianne’s at The Cavalier. Can you spot The Tablehopper?

The room is dimply lit with tiny flickering tiny white votive candles placed about the room amid low sofas covered in a pastiche of materials like black-and-white houndstooth or hair calf. Velvet ottomans, Oriental carpets, and bric-a-brac like ceramic horse heads, taxidermy, old books and vases completed the vintage look.

Lots of champagne lovers go ga-ga for têtes de cuvée like Cristal, but I prefer the versatility of a well-crafted non-vintage brut. Like its American cousin, the Roederer Estate Brut made up in Anderson Valley, the Roederer Brut Premier had generous fresh fruit flavors, mixed with hints of toast and refreshing acidity. That winning combination gives Brut Premier marvelous drinkability.

And since the blend is lead by pinot noir, it pairs with so many foods. All sorts of tempting appetizers flowed from the Cavalier kitchen. Besides fresh oysters with mignonette, we nibbled grilled ham and cheese sandwiches cut into long fingers and served with a hollandaise dipping sauce, cured salmon on toast points, gougéres filled with Welsh rarebit gravy and perfectly seasoned sliders that I’m guessing were kobe beef on brioche.

Chef Jennifer Puccio's gorgeous gougères were filled with a Welsh rarebit sauce.

Chef Jennifer Puccio’s gorgeous gougéres were filled with a Welsh rarebit gravy.

We were treated to a performance by stunning jazz and cabaret singer Veronica Klaus. Her alto voice resonated beautifully in the small room as she sang standards like Peel Me a Grape. Here she is singing Wild is the Wind.

Klaus has a smooth voice that’s just as drinkable as a good glass of champagne… like the Roederer Brut Premier. I looking forward to more of both for Valentine’s Day.

Bubbly Events

The Bubbly Girl Featured in The Quick Sip column

January 4, 2014
Mercury News quick sip interview Maria Hunt
Photo credit: Alisa Damaso

Photo credit: Alisa Damaso

I receive all kinds of mail via my website, but it’s especially fun when it reconnects me with someone from the past. In mid-December, I heard from Jessica Yadegaran, the clever wine and food writer for the Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News. We met some years ago when I was a staff food writer and she was a news assistant at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Each week for her Quick Sip column, she interviews a local wine blogger about what they’re drinking right now and gets suggestions for fun food and wine pairings. We talked about some of the fabulous breakout bubbly I’d discovered this past year, like Illinois Sparkling Company‘s traditional method Brut crafted amid the cornfields, the Bodkin sparkling sauvignon blanc that’s perfect with sushi and lots of clean and fresh traditional method sparkling wines from Brazil’s Vale do Vinhedos, especially Cave Geisse and Casa Valduga.

Click to read the full interview with Jessica, and get a great recipe for an Asian style dipping sauce that pairs perfectly with Dungeness crab and brut sparkling wine.

 

 

 

Bubbly Events, Sparkling Wine

Iron Horse Harvest 2012 – Join the Party

September 18, 2012
iron_horse_party_trifle_tray

You couldn’t have asked for a more picture-perfect day than Sunday when Iron Horse Vineyards celebrated the 2012 harvest. It was a sunny 80 degree day, with hardly a cloud in the sky — I even spotted a young deer lurking near a twisted oak as I drove up the 101.

What I love about Iron Horse is that it’s one of the few places that you can have a rustic and natural experience, all the while sipping an exquisite glass of méthode champenoise sparkling wine.

Sometimes pictures tell a story better than words… so here are some images that capture the effervescence of Sunday’s party.

After parking under oak trees, we walked up a pathway lined with zinnias in decorate bubbly bottles.

At the end of the walk, guests were greeted with an Iron Harvest harvest cocktail of fresh pinot noir juice in the 2007 Brut X.

After noshing at Chef Ciara Meany’s bruschetta bar filled with grilled Costeaux French Bakery ciabatta, heirloom tomates from Barry Sterling’s garden, pesto, grilled bacon and other seasonal toppings, we sat down at two long tables set in a V-shape. Joy Sterling, president of Iron Horse, praised her brother Lawrence for his work running the winery, toasted her parents on the occasions of their 60th anniversary and thanked friends and Corral Club members for coming.

 

I loved the simple place settings topped with sprigs of lavender, the plates that look like this season’s fashionable jacquard prints and the Laguiole-inspired cutlery.

The first course was a lovely salad of fresh field greens — again from the estate garden — topped with pickled radishes, roasted sweet corn and Laura Chenel goat cheese followed by a delicious grilled quail stuffed with Swiss chard and sausage.

Dessert was a petite cup of trifle layered with late summer apples, vanilla cream and amaretti crumbles paired with a glass of Russian Cuvée.

Bubbly Events, Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Celebrate Summer with A New Strawberry Cocktail

June 20, 2012

It’s officially here: the start of summer 2012! But the weather has been so gorgeous for the past few weeks that I already initiated it by creating some new summer drinks starring strawberries.

Even though strawberries make their first appearance in spring, it’s this time of year when they start to get really sweet, plentiful and affordable, which makes them perfect for cocktails.

The Pink Berry Punch, shown above, is a non-alcoholic drink that I made with organic Driscoll’s strawberries, pineapple and pink grapefruit juice along with Perrier Mineral Water.

It was easy, since I fed everything into my juicer. And I showed a crowd of 50 guests how easy it was to use the Breville Juice Fountain to make drinks last Saturday at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre during the Cuisine Noir Magazine Summer Celebration. The demo, which included two delicious recipes by Chef Berlin Lillard II (for a crispy glazed shrimp and a spicy cucumber mint granita), wouldn’t have gone so smoothly without our fabulous hostess: Chef Candi Austin, the culinary specialist at Bloomingdale’s.

In the Bloomingdale’s demo kitchen, with the ingredients for the strawberry and Perrier Pink Berry Punch we served the crowd.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try making the Pink Berry Punch at home. You’ve probably noticed that these flavors would work well with a splash of gin or rum as well. But one in a while, it’s nice to make a drink that everyone at the party can enjoy.

Pink Berry Punch

1/2 cup organic strawberries, hulled

1 pink grapefruit, peeled

4 sprigs fresh mint

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 cup Perrier Mineral Water

small strawberry and sprig mint, for garnish

Feed the strawberries, grapefruit, mint and pineapple through your juicer. Let the juice settle and then strain into a cocktail glass. Add the chilled Perrier water. Garnish with the small strawberry and the sprig of mint.

Makes one drink

By Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl. All rights reserved.

We had a great crowd of 50 guests for the Summer Celebration at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre.

 

Bubbly Events

Think Pink & Bubbly for Breast Cancer Awareness

October 10, 2011

October is National Breat Cancer Awareness Month. Help raise funds for a cure with some pink bubbly and make sure to do your own breast exam.

I never, ever need an excuse to drink brut rosé sparkling wine or champagne. But there’s even more reason to enjoy pink bubbly when it helps raise money for breast cancer research during the month of October.

On October 13, Domaine Chandon presents Pink Party 2011, the winery’s annual fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This year, the exuberant party has been restyled as “Eve of Hope”, a swank $125 per person fashion show featuring creations by Whitney Port. Port gained name recognition after appearing on The Hills and The City. But she proved she had some fashion cred by working for Diane von Furstenburg before launching her own line Whitney Eve.

Whitney Port is the featured designer at "Eve of Hope," the Oct. 13 Domaine Chandon Pink Party to benefit The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Tickets are $125.Â

Party-goers can expect lots of Domaine Chandon Etoile Rosé  – a subtle rosé with hints of dried cranberry and hazelnut – to accompany appetizers by Chef Perry Hoffman of Etoile Restaurant. To order tickets for the 5:30 to 8:3 p.m. event, call 888-242-6366 or visit www.chandon.com

Australian sparkling wine producer Yellowglen is sponsoring a Sparkle for a Cause campaign during the month of October. For every bottle of Pink – their fun and fruity rosé – purchased this month, Yellowglen will donate $1 to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation.  The company has pledged to donate a maximum of $25,000 to the organization which creates memorable events for people losing their fight with breast cancer.

Neck tags on the Korbel Brut Rosé announce that the winery is donating $1 towards breast cancer research for every new "Like" on their Facebook page.

Korbel Winery is working to raise money for a cure with its Toast Life Foundation. For every new “Like” on the Korbel Facebook Page, the company is donating $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, with a maximum donation of $10,000. If you’ve never tried it, Korbel’s Brut Rosé is a dry (as in not sweet) méthode champenoise wine with lots of strawberry and cherry notes, thanks to its blend of pinot noir and gamay grapes.

So spread the word, buy some bubbly and help fund a breast cancer cure. And while you’re at it, take time this month to do a self breast exam– remember, early detection saves  lives!