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Prepare for this busy party season with my Holiday Champagne Guide.  I’ve also got fabulous New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for you too, so let’s get started!

champagne guide

HOLIDAY CHAMPAGNE GUIDE & NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY IDEAS

Today’s post contains my Holiday Champagne Guide that tells you everything you need to know if you want to serve your guests champagne.  Not only will you learn all about the delicious bubbly, I’ll give you lots of New Year’s Eve party ideas too.

Why not greet your guests with Truffled Popcorn and Champagne?  You’ll be the gal in your crowd that always has the most fabulous ideas up her sleeve.  What a gracious hostess you’ll be! 

CLICK HERE FOR THE DELICIOUS RECIPE FOR TRUFFLED POPCORN   

truffled popcorn and champagne

A CHAMPAGNE GUIDE – JUST THE FACTS JACK (AND JILL)!

Champagne season is here!   At this time of year the battle cry can be heard, “break out the bubbly”, and I’m inclined to agree!

What kind of New Year’s Eve party ideas would neglect the sacred NYE ritual that is Champagne?

Most Champagne is the less expensive “nonvintage” kind that blends vintages to achieve a consistent taste and style for their brand.  They want you to know what to expect when you pop the cork.  Brands like Moët, Ruinart, Taittinger, Bollinger all use this method in bottling their Champagnes.

 

If you’re a connoisseur of fine vintage Champagnes, you know that the grapes must come from a single harvestOnly a small quantity are bottled and usually only in a vineyard’s top years.

As a result, the wines have a more distinctive personality, with deeper and fuller flavors. And with a steeper price.

Depending on your tastes and pocketbook, there are so many great Champagne to choose from in any price-point.  Ask your wine shop to help you select one that suits your needs and tastes.

 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAMPAGNE AND PROSECCO?

A sparkling wine by any other name isn’t actually as sweet – it’s sweeter!  I’m talking about Prosecco, the darling of the sparkling wine world.  It’s not only a tinge sweeter, it’s also lighter.   The lightness extends to the price too, as Prosecco tends to be less expensive than most drinkable Champagnes.

 

holiday champagne guide

So what is the actual difference between these two very similar pours?  It’s all about the type of grape and region the wine is made from.  The names say it all…

  • Champagne is from the specific region in France of the same name. 
  • Prosecco is from Northern Italy, near Venice and as such is made from a very different grape varietal. 
  • The other difference happens during the second fermentation process.  With Champagne, the fermentation happens inside the bottle, but with Prosecco it’s done in the tank before bottling.

 

Here lies the reason for the prices difference between the two wines.  Champagne’s fermentation is both a long and expensive process.  Hence the heftier price tags.  Personally, I like them both!

 

GET READY – ALDI’S IS SELLING CHOCOLATE PROSECCO THIS YEAR!

Aldi has quickly become a go-to place for anyone looking for unconventional boozy drinks. 

This year’s sure-to-be “hit” is a fabulous  Cocosecco, that’s a chocolate prosecco that blends a sweet and rich taste with the bubbly drink people love.

 

chocolate prosecco from aldi's

ChocoSecco is appropriately named by combining the two flavors, chocolate and prosecco, together. Prosecco by itself is a sparkling wine often used for special occasions and fancy cocktails. With the added chocolate taste, it’s given a whole new life.

Chocolate and prosecco pair well together normally, so there’s no question the drink will be a refreshingly new take on the pairing.

This isn’t the first year ChocoSecco is being offered at Aldi, but because of the recent popularity of the alcohol selection at the grocery store, it will probably be a big hit this year. It’ll hit shelves on November 25 for $6.99.

 

NYE CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE DECO WRAPPERS – Download and Print 

I’m kicking off my New Year’s Eve Party Ideas today with something really cool.  These decorative Champagne bottle wrappers are the perfect way to “up your hostess game”.

Decorated champagne bottles, ready to pour, look fabulous sitting on your Ultimate Holiday Bar Cart!

I’ve created four different designs to choose from, or download and print out all four! 

USE GLOSSY WHITE CARD STOCK TO PRINT YOUR CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE WRAPPERS FOR BEST RESULTS.  I’ll tell you a little later how to get your own copies!

 

WHAT FOODS PAIR WELL WITH CHAMPAGNE?

Sorry to burst your romantic bubble folks, but the pairing of Champagne and chocolate is a bad idea.  As any good Holiday Champagne Guide will tell you, chocolate is too sweet and highlights the wine’s acidity.  That’s a no-no, as it makes the Champagne taste bitter.

lobster risotto with champagne

Now, what does go with Champagne just might surprise you.

  • salty nibbles
  • fried foods
  • oysters with vinegar based mignonette
  • grapes or pears
  • black and white truffles
  • lobster and shellfish  (no kidding!)
  • raspberries with brie
  • spicy thai foods
  • eggs (think French omelet with chives)

 

holiday champagne guide

MEET YOUR GUESTS AT THE DOOR WITH CHAMPAGNE AND TRUFFLED POPCORN!

Now you know what kinds of foods pair well with a glass of bubbly.  And truffles and salty foods are right at the top of that list.  So, when I greet my guests at the door, they will be offered a glass of Champagne and a harlequin cone of TRUFFLED POPCORN.

 

truffled popcorn

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY IDEAS THAT SATISFY OUR “HUNGER FOR STYLE”

Truffled Popcorn and Champagne are the perfect combo for New Year’s Eve.  No, I didn’t spend a few hundred dollars for a fresh black truffle.  I simply purchased a very good bottle of black truffle oil ($30) and mixed a little with imported French unsalted butter.

The deep earthy flavor profile of the truffle oil is the perfect underpinning for Asiago and Parmesan shavings.  Throw in some fresh chopped herbs, kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper, and voila!  You’ve got the perfect way to kick off your guests’ New Year’s Eve.

 

NAN’S HOLIDAY CHAMPAGNE GUIDE BUYING TIP

If you’ll be drinking and serving Champagne during the holiday seasonBUY A CASE OR TWO!

The demand for Champagne skyrockets during the holidays, but you’ll find that the prices will actually go down.  I know that the usual supply and demand model states that when demand is high, prices go up.  Think red roses on Valentine’s Day.

 

holiday champagne guide

But a study from the University of Chicago explains that seasonal Champagne buyers are price-conscious.  Because the competition is stiff, many retailers lower their “by the case” prices to reel in new holiday customers.

Let’s face it, how many of your friends stop at one glass of bubbly?  Buy the case, you’ll use it up on Valentine’s Day, right?

 

HOLIDAY CHAMPAGNE GUIDE – “THE QUICK CHILL” METHOD

The internet had a lot of suggestions. Pouring a bottle of wine into a plastic zip-lock bag and popping it in the freezer.  Or, wrapping cloth before chilling, or plopping it in a fancy ice bucket.

 

holiday champagne guide

  • Turns out, there’s a good reason sommeliers put your bottle in an ice bucket after they pour your first glass.  If you’ve got a big enough container and enough ice, you can surround your wine with icy-cold water, which is always going to cool it faster than cold air.
  • If you don’t have an ice bucket (or a similarly large container), put your wine in the freezer.
  • And, unless you really can’t find a single square inch of extra space in there, place your wine on its side. The additional surface area that comes in contact with the cold surface of your freezer shelf results in much faster cooling than placing a bottle upright to chill. 
  • A horizontal bottle is ready to drink in 60 minutes, and a standing one will take an extra 25 minutes.

 

HOW TO PROPERLY OPEN A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE

holiday champagne guide

Here’s how you do it correctly:

  • take the wire cage off of the cork
  • drape a bar towel over the top of the bottle
  • tilt the bottle away from people and breakables
  • grab the top of the cork with one hand while you twist the bottle with the other hand
  • continue twisting the bottle until the cork starts to loosen and gently pops out
  • pour slowly, so the bubble don’t overflow the glass (don’t waste it!) 

 

 

 

GETTING READY FOR YOUR MIDNIGHT TOAST

If you choose to have a toast in the moments preceding midnight, you’ll need to be prepared.  Making sure you have everything ready for your toast by 11:00 pm ensures that you’ll be able to keep enjoying your party.

 

holiday champagne guide

  • Have the correct number of clean Champagne glasses on a table or trays ready for pouring.
  • Keep things simple, use decorative plastic champagne glasses for the toast, even if you’re using crystal at your bar. 
  • OR, rent one set of flutes specifically for your midnight toast.
  • Calculate the number of bottles you’ll need to open for the toast and chill them in a separate cooler near the Champagne glass set-up.   (each bottle serves 6 – 4 ounce servings)
  • Ask for help to open, pour, and serve the champagne quickly to allow time for the toast before midnight.
  • Making your guests aware of an impending Champagne toast helps round up the crowd for quick distribution of glasses.
  • Decide who will be giving the toast, and make sure it is short and sweet.  Midnight waits for no one!
  • Raise your glass and revel in the first moments of the new year with your guests.  

 

ON NEW YEAR’S EVE IN MEXICO…  (Quirky NYE tradition #2)

woman with suitcasesThese quirky New Year’s eve traditions in Mexico are just what a “wanderluster” aspires to in any given year! 

Tradition says that walking your empty suitcase around the block will guarantee a year filled with travel and new experiences.

Locals will also toss a glass of water out of their window to signify fewer tears in the future.

A year of fabulous travel, adventure and no tears – Mexico seems to know something we don’t!

What are you waiting for? Get out your suitcase, and put it by the door so you’ll be ready to head out after midnight!

The world awaits you!

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE PRINTABLES – Up Your Hostess Game!

Don’t forget to download these fabulous New Year’s Party Printables to help make your soiree a festive greeting to the New Year!

  • Ultimate Holiday Bar Cart Guide
  • Cocktail “Bow tie” Drink Name Tags
  • “Happy New Year’s” Garland
  • NYE Champagne Bottle Wrappers
  • NYE Party Photo Props

 

happy new year garland

Want your own set of all the fabulous NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY PRINTBLES?  BUT YOU AREN’T  ON OUR LIST YET?

Why not join in on the fun!

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