The 20th Absa Champagne in Africa Festival was held at The Polo Room at the Inanda Club earlier this November, after a long COVID-19 break.
- Most Champagne is made from the grapes Pinot noir, Pinot meunier, and Chardonnay.
- Although sparkling wines are produced all over the world, several regulatory frameworks restrict the term ‘Champagne’ to just sparkling wines from the Champagne region.
- Champagne Day is marked on the fourth Friday of October each year.
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Synonymous with affluence and prestige, champagne dates back to as early as the 17th century when nobles and royals were the only ones able to indulge in the French elixir. Today, Champagne still holds its status but has become more accessible, a favourite of boujee socialites, who have brought the bottle, the glass and the drink firmly into pop culture.
It’s a good thing. Champagne is delicious, delightful and an experience in every bottle. While the nightclub list seems limited to Moët & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot, and while the terroir remains limited to the specific region of France, Champagne brands are expanding. I was pleased that Absa has committed to sharing the many varietals of the world’s best Champagne with guests, ready to learn and experience the bubbly amongst fellow enthusiasts who arrived dressed to impress at the 20th Annual Absa Champagne in Africa Festival – a rare and elegant opportunity, to sip the nectar and taste the stars of 30 fabulous Champagne houses.
With multiple brands to swirl, sniff and sip – it was an immersive evening of the finer things in life. The event was curated in collaboration with the Ambassadeur Dignitaire of L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, members of the centuries old French order tasked with extolling the virtues of Champagne globally. This year, up to 30 different Champagne producers joined in the festival.
In addition to tasting, guests were treated to a gastronomic experience of flavours to pair with the bubbles. We enjoyed Canapés that ranged from popular Salt & Pepper Oysters to more unique creations like Parma Ham Panna Cotta and Panko Prawns with Soya Crème Brulee. My favourite pick was the Deutz Brut Classic with subtle hints of peach and lemon coupled with a velvety mousse. Their range includes a Brut Rosé and Brut Millésimé which was just as majestic.
A pianist seduced patrons for the evening – truly a splendid way to celebrate two decades of the Absa Champagne in Africa Festival. A proudly African platform sponsored by Absa CIB, the event is a celebration of “excellence and joie de vivre”. The fine dining experience and expert selection of premium and delectable bubbles lifted spirits while remaining an educational experience.
And if you missed out, the opportunity still exists to take your appreciation to the next level by expanding your knowledge and expertise through the Champagne Massive Open Online Course. This simple to follow educational course promises to transform consumers to connoisseurs. It allows guests to take a virtual tour of the mythical Champagne region and learn from global industry professionals. Definitely one to do with a chilled flute in hand.
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