Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
NEW YORK--Champagne Taittinger Artistic Director and Global Ambassador Vitalie Taittinger personally unveiled the brand's re-imagining of Valentine's Day with a heartfelt welcome to "Uncage My Heart," a day dedicated to cherished friends, timeless love and the incomparable wines of Champagne Taittinger.
"Valentine's Day is so many different things to so many people," she emphasized. "Champagne Taittinger would like to acknowledge the day by celebrating the different kinds of love; the beautiful, magical love shared by friends, the excitement of a first date and first impressions, and finally, lasting love. Each of these is a unique experience that lends itself to the enjoyment of wonderful wine and great food. That, of course, means Taittinger!"
The wines presented were all paired with the delightful and imaginative cuisine of Chef Camille Becerra, Executive Chef and Partner at Navy raw bar and restaurant in SoHo New York. Her experience in creating vegetarian meals at a Zen monastery in Mexico and as a contestant on Top Chef Season 3, have all informed her global concept of cuisine. Her eclectic selection of dishes all paired perfectly with the unique and exciting flavors of Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV ($59.99), Prestige Rose NV ($83.99) Nocturne ($81.99), Taittinger Prelude Grands Crus ($94.99), and Comtes De Champagne Rose 2005 ($261.99).
"Valentine's Day is a great time to spend time with your friends like never before," Vitalie emphasized. "That's why we decided to bring you a fun and easy party idea complete with bite-sized samples prepared by Chef Becerra with our signature Champagne Tower at center stage,. The experience is complete with Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise and Nocturne, the beautiful accompaniment to any night of celebration. We call it the "Bubble Bash!"
The dinner menu is a simple, but elegant and tasty one; Liver Mousse with Chocolate and Chocolate Nibs, Avocado Tostados with Hominy, Sprouts and Seeds and Quail Eggs in Shiso with Sea Bean and Aji.
"Nothing makes the perfect first-date impression like creating an impeccable and irresistible food and wine pairing. We combined Chef Becerra's Lettuce Hearts with Gentleman's Relish and Spiced Steak with a Grand Finale of Chocolate Mousse," Vitalie explained.
"Love is timeless, cherished and magical," Vitalie expounded. "We at Taittinger believe that love should be celebrated, and what better way than with an intimate Champagne dinner for two. We dedicate it to Lasting Love."
Chef Becerra created a sumptuous menu, with a First Course of Crispy Potato Latke with cured trout and horseradish creme fraiche paired with Brut La Francaise NV, Shrimp Rillette with Prestige Rose NV and Castelvetrano Olive with New York Cheddar puff pastry and smoke almond paired with Brut La Francaise NV. Second Course consists of Maple-Bourbon Spiral Ham with pineapple casserole and cornbread streusel paired with Nocturne, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Champagne vinaigrette a nd Pomegranate with Prestige Rose NV followed by a palate cleanser of Cranberry-Blood Orange Compote.
Dessert Course rounded out this unparalleled evening of love and luscious cuisine with Lemon Tart topped by toasted meringue paired with delectable Nocturne, French Macaron with Champagne buttercream accompanied by Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, 2005 and the piece de resistance, Chocolate Champagne Truffles with glass of Prestige Rose NV, one of the finest Champagnes to ever grace a bottle.
"This is the time to slow down and savor the moment with the one you love," Vitalie concluded. "The intimately elegant Comtes Rose is the highlight of this final celebration, which Chef Becerra paired with a wholesome, upscale menu that is expertly crafted to complement Champagne Taittinger. It is also the final step on our journey of the heart, meant to keep your love lasting forvever"
Especially if that love is fueled frequently by Champagne Taittinger!