Champagne and Chandeliers. Edutainment and Glamour. Delectable food and entertaining company. These are just the highlights that make up a successful party.
The event is a corporate Glamor on the Go Champagne Experience with guest speaker Champagne Jayne, a respected authority and advocate of fine bubbles delivering her unique brand of “sparkling edutainment“. Mr G and I are her invited guests. We met the bon vivant lady at the Ultimo Wine Centre Annual Champagne Tasting and more recently as her guests at the Greenhouse by Joost Finale Party.
Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jayne) is an expert on Champagne with a soon to be published book, Champagnes – Behind the Bubbles. With a host of functions to her name spanning many of Australia’s Top 100 companies, she is sharing her knowledge in an engaging and entertaining fashion. Champagne Storyteller, author, speaker, educator and entertainer, Jayne connects consumers to Champagne in an exciting alternative to standard corporate entertainment.
Blason De Bourgogne Rosé on arrival
We are greeted on arrival by a glass of Blason De Bourgogne Rosé. The topless waiters with their model looks are a reminder that this is indeed pampering to a ladies’ night. The elegant space is brimming with sparkling chandeliers and warm red lighting. There is a make-shift beauty salon and a tent for tarot cards and palmistry readings. A DJ is playing mood music.
The beauty and hair experts of Glamor on the Go are pampering the ladies with their glamour services that include 10 minute makeovers, manicures, upstyles or dry hair styling.
10 minute makeovers
I opt for a ‘lips n lashes’ makeover with the lovely Boo Talbot applying a few false lashes to lengthen my own and a bold red lipstick to define my lips. Under her expert hands, my long straight hair is turned into bouncing curls in mere minutes. I emerge from the makeover feeling glam, feminine and on top of the world, just as one of the handsome waiters tops up my glass.
Glamor on the Go: Champagne and manicures
Boo Talbot (Glamor on the Go) and Champagne Jayne
Glamor on the Go Services
Champagne Jayne takes to the podium and in her convivial style, she greets everyone in French and English. Captivating and gregarious, she delights the audience as she introduces the first sparkling wine of the evening.
CJ Presenting Blason De Bourgogne Rosé
Before going into the specifics of the wine, she clarifies that Blason De Bourgogne Rosé is not in fact Champagne as it comes from Burgundy. Jayne explains that the feud between the two regions in France is centuries old dating back to the time of Louis XIV. Dr Fagon, the Sun King’s physician persuaded him to drink Burgundy wine to combat his gout. We also learn that at that time, there were still wines as it was not until the 18th century that bubbles were introduced.
Blason De Bourgogne Rosé
Blason De Bourgogne Rosé is an apéritif style sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. Light, fresh and fruity, the pale pink sparkling is easy to drink and has fragrant notes of strawberry on the nose and apricot and peach flavours on the palate.
The first canapé is served, a sesame crusted tuna with wasabi mayo and wakame to compliment the Blason. For the vegetarian and no seafood option, there is a baked goats cheese and pimento tart with spiced tomato pickle.
Sesame crusted tuna with wasabi mayo and wakame
Jayne introduces the first Champagne of the evening, Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge in Piccolo, served in 200 ml bottles with red and black straws.
CJ Presenting Mumm Cordon Rouge
She regales us with the correct pronunciation of Mumm, not in a French accent, as this Champagne was started by three German brothers in 1827. This is the oldest wine on tasting this evening, and was the best selling champagne in American bordellos at the end of the 19th century.
Made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this Champagne is made from reserve wine of different vintages. It has a well-rounded and fruity style with elegant aromas of fresh tropical fruits on the nose and vanilla and caramel undertones on the palate.
Mumm Cordon Rouge Piccolo
Mumm Cordon Rouge is matched with seared lamb fillet with smoked eggplant purée and pomegranate and the market best oysters with Champagne and eshallot vinegar that are set up on the reception bar.
Oysters with Champagne and eshallot vinegar
During a break from tasting, more Blason De Bourgogne Rosé is served while guests are getting pampered by Glamor on the Go or having their tarot card readings, palmistry and numerology told by the ladies of Argyle Oracle Readings.
Argyle Oracle Readings
My initial skepticism wavers and I choose to have a tarot card reading. Much to my surprise, I find it to be a positive experience. But there is no point in tempting fate. I pass on the rest of the readings and top up my glass instead.
Blason De Bourgogne Rosé – top up wine.
I take a sneak peek into the make-shift kitchen where Executive Chef Darryl Grey from Simon Ekas Catering is busy preparing the remaining courses.
Prepping with Executive Chef Darryl Grey
The next dish is a seared ocean trout with dill creme fraîche, cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and a moist flavoursome flesh. This dish may or may not have had an encore; I am not at liberty to break a pact I made with another guest.
Seared ocean trout with dill creme fraîche
Champagne Jayne introduces the next Champagne, Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs. This is a 1er cru made purely from Chardonnay grapes. We learn that this is a growers Champagne, with the family owning 25 hectares of vineyards spread across 1er cru Cuis, and the Grand Crus of Cramant and Chouilly.
CJ introducing Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs
When the global economy went into recession in 1929, the price of grapes plummeted by 50 per cent. Consequently, the Champenois were left with 150 million bottles in their cellars when only 4.5 million were sold internationally. As a result, Champagne makers had to entice local consumers to their brands and small vineyard owners pooled their resources to create Champagne cooperatives to survive under these market conditions. The result was to market Champagne under the name of a particular village, with the motto, “Let the growth in Champagne replace the brand.” And that is historically how the house of Pierre Gimonnet became a growers’ Champagne.
Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs
Light, fresh and crisp with a slight acidity, Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs is a good accompaniment to fish dishes. Tonight, it is paired with seared scallops with sauce vierge – plump and juicy, served with cherry tomato, basil, oil and lemon juice.
Seared scallops with sauce vierge
The Gimmonet is also paired with the goats curd on rye with beetroot relish as the vegetarian and no seafood option for this course.
Goats curd on rye with beetroot relish
Green gold in colour, fresh and fruity on the palate, this is a delicate style of blanc de blancs Champagne described as having classic citrus notes and a lingering finish that leaves you wanting more.
Bollinger Special Cuvée may need little introduction as it is known as the Champagne of James Bond. Jayne takes the opportunity to remind us of three benefits of drinking this classic full-bodied Champagne that is dry and vinous. With less than 100 calories a glass, it has mild diuretic qualities and aids in weight loss. When the yeast breaks down with the ageing bubbles, it reconstitutes into amino acids which basically yield extra protein, and as a natural anti-depressant, the happiness factor is always evident when enjoying a glass.
CJ presenting Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée
A blend of 25% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier, Bollinger Special Cuvée is a classical style of pinot noir dominant champagne with great complexity and potential longevity – like 007 himself.
The Bollinger is paired with pumpkin, leek and pecorino ravioli served with burnt butter sauce resting on a small bed of mashed pumpkin.
Pumpkin, leek and pecorino ravioli with burnt butter sauce
Spicy lamb and couscous
Another course is served, one that I saw prepped a little earlier with spicy lamb on a serve of fluffy couscous.
With the final tasting, Champagne Jayne takes to the steps in front of the kitchen island where guests have gathered. She introduces Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé, crafted from 1er cru Pinot Noir, with a dash of grand cru Chardonnay.
She explains that this Champagne house is a very successful family business. Much like Veuve Clicquot, Madame Carol Duval Leroy took over and expanded the business when her husband died of cancer. A woman who epitomises the modern day Champagne widow, 70% of her workforce is female, including her wine maker.
CJ presenting Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé
This salmon coloured rosé champagne has wild cherries on the nose and a well balanced mature vinosity on the palate with strawberries and hints of fig and ginger and is a great match with the dessert course.
The chocolate tarts with hazelnuts and raspberries are wickedly good that I can’t stop at just one. Our waiter tempts us with the fig tarts then returns with another offering of the chocolate tarts. Resistance in this very case is futile.
Chocolate tart with hazelnuts and raspberries – Fig tarts
Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé in fine company
Food is aplenty on the kitchen island with Red Velvet Cup Cake tiers by Ghermez Cupcakes, a French cheese board from Simon Johnson including Brique d’Affinois and Florette, as well as fresh strawberries, figs and breads.
Red Velvet Cup Cake tiers by Ghermez Cupcakes
Simon Johnson cheese board and assorted breads
Fresh strawberries, chocolate cigars, figs
With approximately 100 guests, the evening progresses incredibly fast which is testament to a successful, entertaining and enjoyable event.
Champagne Jayne with Leon Adler (Event Manager for Champagne Jayne)
Waiters/Models from Visions In Style (L to R): Tom, Dan, Romeo
Champagne Jayne – Sparkling Edutainment
Gourmantic attended the event as media guests.
Simon Ekas Catering
Photography by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – (c) All rights reserved.
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