The world capital of Champagne


I planned to go to Disneyland on my fourth day in Paris, but then I aborted the plan because Bandi’s high-school English teacher (now call Bandi her nephew) invited us to visit her at Reims, a small town located 150km outside Paris.

Took Thalys to Reims!

Took Thalys to Reims!

Oh how Universe really loves me! The disneyland plan was aborted for something fun, amazing and new for me!

First, experiencing the traditional French life.

Aunty Aini picked us up at the train station and when I met her I liked her at once. She was fun, talkative and laughed a lot. She seemed like really loving her life. She invited us to her house, and she said her parents in law was spending the night there so me and Bandi should follow French tradition to bring one bucket of flowers and one bottle of wine to the house we were visiting to. Bandi had already brought wine but we didn’t have time to buy the flowers from Paris.

So Aunty Aini brought us to her favorite florist and OH MY GOD, I almost fainted because of how beautiful all the flowers all!! It was just like in a French movie when the main character rode a bike and went to a florist. “AHHH!! I WANT TO LIVE HERE!” I screamed hundred times.

Photo 17-10-13 5 43 27 pm

I picked the flowers!

I picked the flowers!

After buying the flowers we went to her house and we must introduced ourselves in French, “Bonjour! Je m’appelle May. Enchanté!” and then I kissed them. The tradition is so lovely. :)

Aunty Aini’s parents in law has zero English so I had fun challenging myself talking to them, while Bandi was smiling as wide as he could. We also met the cutie Domino who liked to sit on my lap.

Here's Domino!

Here’s Domino!

We were served snacks such as pretzels, bread with foie gras and sausages. And it is said to be a tradition to open a bottle of champagne before meal in Reims. Haleluyah for whoever created that tradition!

Photo 18-10-13 1 11 50 am

Photo 18-10-13 1 13 28 am

So here’s the thing, I haven’t found my favorite alcohol. I mean, everyone has their own favorite alcohol and once they’ve found it, they would have their epiphany. (LOL I was kidding.) Anyway… I can’t drink wine because it tasted funny and I don’t like Beer because it is bitter. I can drink hard liquor like bourbon but I think it’s too strong. So far I only prefer cocktails like Cosmo or Cranberry Vodka, but still it is not that good.

Until I drink THE CHAMPAGNE!!!

Gosh, IT WAS SOOOO DELICIOUS!

Second, the champagne!

I was confused at first, how on earth I never tasted champagne before? (Later I found out that champagne is expensive and so far I only bought wine because they’re cheap)

Aunty Ainy told us that Reims is the capital of Champagne. I didn’t really understand what it meant until I fell deeper in love with champagne and intentionally read more about it.

The chatting compliments the home-cooked meal Aunty Aini has prepared for us!

French people always start the meal with soup!

French people always start the meal with soup!

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

And the European Salad... with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

And the European Salad… with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

A pie which fruit I can't remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I've never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like "kurma"

A pie which fruit I can’t remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I’ve never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like “kurma”

French grapes! Pinot Noir, CHardonnay and one more name I couldn't remember.

French grapes! Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and one more name I couldn’t remember. All I know is they make great wines. :p

Of course, it's espresso o'clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

Of course, it’s espresso o’clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

And the famous French cheeses!!!

And the famous French cheeses!!!

So, after five full course of French meal and two glasses of good champagne (BEST champagne in my life so far!), Aunty Aini brought Bandi and me to Martell cave to have a champagne tour (yaiy!). The guide showed us how to make champagne traditionally and in modern way. We were also brought to the champagne cave to see all the traditional tools of making champagne.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn't work well.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn’t work well.

Yum yum!

The left one was so sweet, middle one is brut, less sugar; the right one is rose champagne. All of them are yummy!

If you’re confused what’s the different between wine and champagne, don’t worry. I was confused too, until I drank them. :p

There are a difference between wine and sparkling wine. Beside the price of course (damn it!), the difference is the sparkle. I was explained by the guide about the fermentation and the sparkle but I was “under influence” so pardon me if I didn’t really get the chemical theory. If you really want to know, go google it.

But for me, the huge difference is this: wine tastes sour and bitter, while sparkling wine tastes sour and sweet and refreshing.

And what is champagne?

Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wine came from this region and they were called Champagne. Later on there are a lot of winery that produced champagne but then they couldn’t call the sparkling wine as champagne anymore because of the law created to protect “real champagne”.

You might find other sparking wine outside France that is called differently like cava (spain) or Sekt (German) but basically they are the same thing, only from different winery. I’ve tried sparkling wines from other region beside Champagne region and they all are delicious. It is just a habit for me to call them all champagne (which is wrong) because the first sparkling wine I tasted was champagne.

Bottom line is… I finally have found my kind of alcohol! Sparkling wine! Now I understand why Bandi could suddenly crave for beer and how he liked to drink beer after a tiring day at work. I never liked alcohol before.

Oh, thankfully I’ve found champagne!

So if you ever wanted to buy me alcohol, please do buy me sparkling wine! I will accept it with so much love.

My love to champagne also takes full responsibility for the great time I had with my two best buds in Bandung last weekend. It was always fun having late night chat, but it was more fun when I was “relaxed”. :)

Anyway… Reims was beautiful. I snapped some photos of the small town when Aunty Aini brought us around. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

And third, a new dream to live in France.

I fell in love with Reims and seriously plan to stay there for two months to do illegal work and learn French language and of course to have the experience to be living in a small town in France. Why Reims? I mean, of all the small town, why Reims? Maybe because I have a relative there and it isn’t touristy and so peaceful. And of course because everyone speaks French and I would love to be fluent in French. Je veux parler Francaise. And of course the champagne *ahem*. Ohh J’aime France!

I hope someday I’m crazy enough to do that, ;)

Cheers,

May, loving France even more.

47 thoughts on “The world capital of Champagne

  1. wah seru ya… kesempatan dijamu secara rumahan… :)

    bangunan2nya khas eropa, cakep2 semua ya may…

    btw gua kalo makan salad juga kudu pake dressing. thousand islands atau balsamic atau french pokoknya harus ber-dressing. gua liat disini orang2 juga sukanya makan salad tanpa dressing. emang lebih sehat ya, tapi kok bisa ya.. kan gak enak kalo gak ada dressing nya. huaahhaa

    • Hahaha sama banget lo man sama gue!!! Kalo gue sih kagak ketelen man!! Makanya kalo temen gue blg ke gue, “Lo diet aja kalo dinner makan salad aja.” Dalam hati mengutuk, “Lah makan salad gue porsi nya gede, plus dressing, croutons, grated cheese dll, sama aja gendutnyaaaa XD

  2. May, What an excellent experience living a real French life for a day! Itu pienya kalo bukan korma, bisa jadi plum kering. Reims is historical for the French cause all French kings were crown in the cathedral.

    Ha…ha..now you are a Champagne girl :-) Enak ya, mild, bubble wine bursting in your mouth. A tip: Sometimes the French mix brut Champagne with crème de cassis (cherry extract), this cocktail is called Kir Royal. I think you’d love this. You’re right about the alternatives of Champagne. They are good too, and a lot cheaper :-)

    I wait for another interesting stories from la France and the rest. Greetings from fellow Francophil.

  3. katedralnya bagus bener mai….makanannya semua bikin ngiler ( entah tapi lidahnya cocok atau kagak…lidah kampungan gini )…gedung2 eropa bagus2 deh….

  4. that would be nice, to live there and be a french for a month or two :D
    just like me being a singaporean for 5 weeks XD and I have to say that the experience changed my whooole life hahaha!
    I have always love France (and UK and German and Holland), but your posts make me love ’em even moaar~
    wish you can live there like your wish cece! <3

    p.s. we should have a shot or two next time we meet! we're going to be good drink buddies~ I have to say that I enjoy drinks more than how kids my age supposed to lolol :p

      • Ahahahhaa xD
        I still have a bottle of wine in my storage~
        And nooo, i hope i wont get any hangover even when i am older… i never have one (thanks to our family’s high tolerance of alcohol) and i hope it stays the way it is lolol :p

  5. Gee, really great and hospitable people over there in Reims. And, well, they did splendid work by getting you ( and Bandi?) hooked on Champagne :).

    One detail though.

    You wrote you occasionally “bought wine because they’re cheap” in the past, though you’re not really fond of that liquid. But the reason why you didn’t like ‘ordinary’ wine may have been that high quality wine is not cheap. A real fine Chablis (white) or a Châtaux Margaux 2005 (red) has it’s price but will definitely make you think otherwise :).

      • Gosh, JERRY!!! RELAX!!!!!
        A GLASS OF WINE!!!
        Let me give you another example. Bandi would drink 10 cans of cheap beer and it still tastes good for him.
        I know that the more expensive the wine is the better it tastes, but I did try a US$30 champagne and hell it still tastes as good as the $60 one! :p

  6. Seruu banget May pengalamannya :D Kapan lagi yah bisa ngerasain dijamu dgn cara yg masih asli begitu.. Dan skrg jadi tau banyak soal champagne, jadi kapan nih kita nge-champagne bareng keknya bakal seruu :D

  7. May! Yang pertama langsung pengen gw komen adalah kostum lo! itu bagian atas lo ketutup banget tapi kaki lo bare gitu. Emang nggak dingin ape???? haha.

    Kedua… ngeliat sekilas foto-foto yang lo upload selama ke Yurop…. gw makin napsu mewujudkan mimpi gw juga keliling Eropah. I WILL GO TOU EUROPE! I WILL!!! *NGGAK SANTE*

  8. Mauuuu bgt Maaayyyy.. Enak bgt pasti tinggal disana ya. Suasananya itu loh.. Jadi makin semangat nabung ke Europe!!! aaaaa thanks ya May, semangatmuu menular :’)

  9. ahhh may…seru sekali pengalaman lo! bisa ngerasain budaya lokal emang priceless banget ya, gw bacanya aja sampe ikut seru sendiri haha. *walo kalo gw jd lo belom tentu bisa makan itu semua, kayanya aneeehh hihihihi. anw, gw juga not into alcohol, gara2 postingan lo jadi wondering apa gw jg belom nemu yg pas aja kali ya? hahaha. wine gw kaga suka, champagne, not so sure, kayanya lumayan suka tp biasa aja. beer definitely ga suka, yg pait2 ga suka deh pokoknya. 1-1 nya alcohol yg gw suka cuma baileys hahahah.

  10. may, ntar kawinan bisa minum champagne yg banyak klo gitu hehehehe…
    Seru ya bisa dateng ngerasain langsung gimana budaya disana.
    Ntar klo lu beneran tinggal disana, undang gw ya buat bertamu hahahaha *ngarep*

  11. Waaaah… Enak banget Mei, lo sempet ngerasain “hidup orang lokal” disana. Ternyata nama pinot noir dkk itu diambil dari nama anggurnya yah? Gw baru tau loh kalo itu.

    Anyway, seriously?!?!?!?!? You turned down disneyland?????

  12. woaaa seneng bgt bisa living like locals!
    karena uda banyak yang komenin soal champagne nya, gw komen aja soal kembangnya.
    Pedih gw kalo liat kembang di luar, bagus2 dan murah2 bgt. pedih hati aku *lebai*

  13. Oooh lala May, sounds like a great time! I love a good dinner party. Is that pecan nuts on the pie? Looks similar from the photo. I hope you get to be Frenchie someday as you wish. Glad you find your booze of choice. Make some mimosas with the bubbles. Great way to do a Sunday brunch ;)

  14. Hahaha May what an exciting story! Emang paling enak kl bisa ngerasain authentic local daily living yah.. Btw May not all wines are sour.. Try dessert wines, ice wines, different kinds of whites, rose & reds.. Ada yg easy to drink, ada yg dryer.. Ada yg aroma nya so floral or fruity.. Oh btw try Italian sparkling wine brand moscato d’asti. Yummy!

    • Let’s try them sometimes Li. Hiihih.
      I did try prosecco and didn’t really like it. Let me try Moscato then. Ada toko champagne murah (lebih murah dr Duty free) namanya Bottles&Bottles Li!

      • Owww kynya pernah liat itu bottles&bottles.. ternyata ada di Parkway!! hahahh.. murah ya? hmm i will check it out..

        moscato itu sparkling wine yg dibikin dr muscat grapes.. jd ada bbrp merk tapi menurut gw yg paling enak yg moscato d’asti itu.. more exp for moscato tp kynya lebih murah dr champagne.. tp ga tau yg di bottles&bottles itu brp-an harganya.. jd penasaran.. haha..

  15. hahahahahhaha….champagne emang mantabs!! itu yg side-effectnya gak terlalu jelek buat gue dibanding alcohol lain….
    temen gue ke german juga poto nya ama toko bunga! hahahaha….

  16. Gak apa-apa gak ke Disneylanddd… jelek kok Disneyland Paris dibandingin yang lain hihihi…

    Sparkling wine itu kayaknya satu2nya alkohol yang gue bisa minum dengan santai…. Btw, lu doyan yang manis2 seger? Minum aja Midori on the rocks langsung atau campur sprite. ENAK!

  17. Pingback: Bay Europe Adventure, Full Report: The sweet kisses, the scenic journey, and the dirty laundry. | Sanguine's journal

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