Whenever you have the opportunity to travel, take it! The memories and experiences remain with you for as long as you are able to remember, and many remain as vivid as if they were yesterday.
One such memory for us is a trip in the ‘80s to Reims in France. We were living in London at the time and had an introduction to Taittinger Champagne House, which we were super excited about. At that time we had been wine lovers for many years but were not particularly experienced or knowledgeable with our champagnes, but we were keen to learn and to experience the historical catacombs of champagne that we’d heard of.
As many Australians did in the ‘80s, we donned the back pack, jumped on a flight to Paris from London then hopped a train to Reims and found ourselves a room to stay in for a couple of nights.
Taittinger had been notified that we were coming, and an appointment had been made for us at 10am on a Tuesday morning. That morning we put on our cleanest travelling clothes and wandered the streets of Reims until we found the much needed patisserie for our “pain au chocolat” (chocolate croissant) and black coffee prior to heading to one of the world’s most exclusive champagne houses at that time – Taittinger. We were very excited and understood the prestige of Taittinger and had expectations of joining a large group tour of the facility.
At 10am we brushed the crumbs from our faces and clothing, rose up from the pavement where we had enjoyed “le petite dejeuner” (breakfast) and headed to the entrance of Taittinger, which was a magnificent wooden door, and rung the bell. The door was promptly opened by a lady who – before we could utter a word – looked us up and down and exclaimed: “We are closed today, as we are expecting a private party … “ and she proceeded to the close the door on us. We looked at each other, knowing that this magnificent champagne house had been informed we were coming, and at most thought we might get a private tasting. We rung the doorbell again, and the same lady reappeared, looked at us more intently this time and asked, “… Attkins party?”
So, did we feel special or what! They had closed the place for the day to show the “Attkins party” their operation. Needless to say, we got the royal treatment, even though we were hardly dressed for such an occasion. We had a private showing in the theatre, one-one-one tastings with the champagne maker, personal tour of the underground catacombs and joined in the “riddling” – this is the manual process used to bring the sediment to the neck of the bottle in preparation for removal.
Fortunately the tour guide was a bit of a traveller herself, so we had a lot in common and had a great day in her company, which followed on with an evening meal together.
So that amazing experience has been with us for nearly thirty years, and Taittinger has been our favourite champagne ever since.
MOTHER’S DAY BACK PADDOCK MUSIC,
SUNDAY MAY 8TH with THE TRAPPS, SOAR and ALYSE GRAY.
TICKETS $15 – Under 13 FREE.