There are few more delectable ways to pass a Thursday afternoon than at a seminar on tasting Champagne and caviar. Especially, as was the case last week, when the Champagne is Taittinger, a great marque Champagne house that’s owned and managed by the family whose name is on the label, and the caviar is from Calvisius, which farms its sturgeon on 150 acres of fresh water ponds in the town of Calvisano, located in Italy’s Brescia province.
Taking place at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles, the tasting was led by Vitalie Taittinger, artistic director for the Champagne house, and John Knierim, vice president of Calvisius.
Three types of caviar were paired with three different Champagne varietals. Each was exquisite. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Taittinger Comte de Champagne Rose 2006 that was complemented by royal oscietra caviar.
A caviar and champagne tasting would be a perfect group experience for C-suite execs on a retreat. It’s both meditative and completely luxurious. “Using all your senses lets the flavors come to you. Don’t rush it,” Knierim says of the proper way to experience caviar.
Here, according to Calvisius, are the three steps to tasting caviar.
1. Take a small amount of caviar with a mother-of-pearl spoon and place the caviar on the back of your hand, between the index finger and thumb. Gently move the caviar and tilt your fist towards the light, appreciating the color and sheen of the eggs.
2. After a few seconds on the hand, caviar warms slightly and the aromatic molecules become perceptible. Bring your fist under the nose to evaluate the fragrance; it should be very subtle, vaguely evoking the sea, but not fishy. Even after the caviar has been tasted, the hand shouldn’t have a strong fish odor.
3. Once caviar is in the mouth, linger pleasantly on its taste by sliding the eggs on the palate. Savor its smooth and tender texture and the amazing explosion of flavors. Only then, can the complexity of caviar be truly appreciated.