A Tale of Two Citizens
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Gore Vidal
Midday in Paris. Printemps is the Harrods of Paris | Le Bon Marché is the Liberty of Paris | Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is the Selfridges of Paris. We’re bound for Lafayette’s Angélina restaurant. In the ultimate BYO experience, we’ve brought our own Champagne. Rare Champagne 2002 and Rare Rosé Champagne 2007, no less. It helps that we’re lunching with Régis Camus, the world’s most decorated Chef de Cave, even more no less. Over oeufs brouillés à la brisure de truffe d’été (scrambled eggs with summer truffle breakings) and salade de saumon fume, chèvre frais, avocat, tomates grappes, pomélo, salade romaine (smoked salmon salad, fresh goat’s cheese, avocado, tomatoes on the vine, grapefruit, romaine lettuce), Régis shares his top tips for enjoying bottled glamour:
- “Temperature is first. It should be between 10 and 12 degrees centigrade for our Rosé and 12 to 14 degrees for Rare Le Secret Champagne.
- The glass is very important: it is good for wine to be poured in a big glass to express itself. A small quantity in a big glass; 65 percent full maximum. Serve often to keep the perfect temperature.
- Open the bottle delicately. Don’t turn the cap, turn the bottle.
- The colour of all wines is either good or not. For example, rosé is not good if it is the colour of onion skin. The amazing colour of Rare Rosé Champagne 2007 has amber and copper tones. I was inspired by the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Reims when the sun shines through. The Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims and is where the Kings of France were crowned.”
Successful Champagne moments are more than mere formulae though. “Feel the joy of the colour with your eyes, the colour of life! It’s vibrant, radiant, expressive! The key is to create pleasure, to discover the smile in discovering Champagne.” Monsieur Camus props the House of Lavender’s Blue brochure on the lunch table to form a backdrop to the Rare Rosé Champagne bottle. The following day, another bottle of Rare Champagne 2002 will take pride of place in the House of Lavender’s Blue itself. After lunch at Angélina, we stroll along the golden streets past the Palais Garnier with all its ghosts, making our way through Place Vendôme, gazing at The Ritz and grazing at Hôtel Le Meurice. It’s time to roar again. Ouhouah!