Rarely is there a book written which chronicles thirty-three great events on this earth, all of the happy ones which have links to drinking a bottle of champagne.
Brisbane’s premier lady of French bubbles Bernadette O’Shea recently released her first self-published golden-covered tome Champagne and Chandeliers.
Aside from some outstanding commentary on champagne styles Bernadette has set up a series of world occurrences linked with great meals, locating the champagne accompaniment, often from archives. As luck would have it many a grand occasion occurs in an outstanding dining room overlooked by glistening chandeliers. O’Shea pays homage to this rarely-addressed ceiling furniture.
Bernadette says, “We spent hours labouring over the name of this book, and with a shortlist of over thirty titles. Once the word chandelier came up it had to be, for my love of the sparkles in a glass of champagne had always extended to the glitter and glee that I experience when presenting champagne dinners. The two subjects are a great fit.”
This books reveals some old documents not previously published nor public, particularly in the case of Buckingham Palace dinner events.
At many events Bernadette has identified the champagne brand served, published the original menu then ghosted a range of parallel champagnes from the selected Champagne house. All the major Champagne houses receive her commentary.
The Great Wall of China is a rare backdrop for dress designer Karl Lagerfield to release the Fendi fashion show of October 2007 following the Beijing Olympics. Bernadette links Lagerfield to rare vintages of Dom Perignon as he is also the appointed designer for an image series by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey.
In Japan, now the scene of more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris, Hiroyuki Hiramatsu hosted his November 2003 dinner in Hiroo for the release of the rare champagne Salon Le Mesnil vintage 1995. So rare is Salon, a single grape champagne, also very rare, from chardonnay that only 37 vintages have been made in the last century. Salon only make vintage champagne.
Bernadette profiles the White House dinner meeting of US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin of October 1997; advancing her champagne selection when the Americans chose Californian wines for service of course.
In Hong Kong, the Mandarin Oriental hosted the inaugural and revered Krug dinner of February 1985. The same hotel had maintained a Krug room as the largest collection of Krug wines outside France with specially paired menus. Krug dinners have also occurred in Brisbane (1990), Tokyo (1994) and Melbourne (1997).
For the royal wedding of Crown Prince Naruhito and Masako in June 1993. sake was served so Bernadette’s champagne match prevails.
Dinners described include Three Emperors (1867), Tsar Alexander II, King Wilhelm I and Prince Otto von Bismarck; King George VI (1938) in Paris hosted by the mayor of Versailles; Henry Ford II in Brussels (1948); Princess Grace’s charity event in Monaco (1970); President Francois Mitterand and King Olav V of Norway in Paris (1984) and the Royal wedding of Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson of Tasmania (2004).
The famous link between the British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Champagne Pol Roger reveals a very personal side when Bernadette publishes Churchill’s menu of Odette Pol Roger’s visit to Buckingham Palace in 1951, when converted to a thank you note in his hand writing.
The book is a masterpiece of champagne commentary, thankfully without tasting notes. Bernadette says “This serves as a special gift item for visitors to Champagne. It is not a heavy book and can become hand luggage. Many champagne houses have gift shops selling champagne, and after the bottle itself there are few souvenirs to take from this wonderful region”. The book is currently being translated to French and Chinese.
Published by Hardie Grant 2009, buy online AUD 120 www.champagneconsultant.com and with Bernadette’s famous byline “joyous and abundant bubbles”.
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