Everything You Need to Know About Champagne

These tips may be from 1979 — but bubbly smarts know no decade.

By Samantha Toscano


Breaking out the sparkling cocktail isn’t just about hoping the cork doesn’t hit someone or popping in a few strawberries because that’s what they do in the movies. And the proof is in our December 1979 issue.

Added fruit aside, here’s what you absolutely need to know before the bubbly starts to flow and the fun begins:

Why It Bubbles

Champagne begins as a still wine and is made sparkling by a second fermentation, creating natural effervescence. In the traditional French method, the second fermentation takes place in the individual bottle — more expensive champagnes in the United States are made this way as well. With less costly American champagnes — labeled “bulk process” or “Charmat process” — the second fermentation takes place before the wine is bottled.


The Many Varieties

Natural: Dry, no sweetness. Fine as an aperitif. Pair with seafood.

Brut: Dry, little or no sweetness. The most popular type, fine for general entertaining. Perfect with every course and as an aperitif.

Extra Dry: Faintly sweet. Good with desserts, fruits.

Dry, Sec, and Demi Sec: Fairly sweet. Good for afternoon, evening refreshment, with desserts.


Shopping Guide

A 750-ml. or 25.4-oz. bottle of champagne, the most popular size, yields six to eight glasses. If you need more than one bottle, the 1.5-liter magnum bottle is the better buy — it has the same neck, air space as a smaller bottle, more wine. For a toast, you can figure on one glassful per person. For an aperitif, one or two glasses per person. For dessert, one glass for each guest is usual. For an evening of entertaining, plan on a third to a half of a 750-ml. bottle for each guest.



Storing Guide

Store bottles in a cool, dark place where temperatures do not fluctuate widely. Lay the bottles on their side so the cork doesn’t dry out, allow air to enter, wine to leak or spoil.


Serving Guide

Use elegant stemmed glasses:  the traditional flute, or tulip- or egg-shaped glasses. They show the bubbles rising in a continuous stream and concentrate the wine’s aroma. Avoid saucer-type “champagne glasses.”

Cool bottles ahead: The best way is to let the bottle sit in a pail half-filled with ice and water for about 30 minutes. Or, chill (don’t freeze) bottles about three hours in the least cold part of the refrigerator.

Open bottles carefully: To avoid wasting wine. Don’t shake the bottle; hold it in one hand with the other, remove the wire muzzle. Now, slightly tilt bottle away from you and hold cork firmly while rotating the bottle itself. Pull bottle down gently and slowly to reduce internal pressure. Cork will come out with a soft “pop,” with no loss of froth. Wipe off the rim before serving.

Pour with finesse: Tilting each glass to keep foam or “mousse” from spilling, fill the glass a quarter full; let the “mousse” settle. Continue until glass is two-thirds full.


Lobster Boil Party

by Tori

Who says you cannot have a lobster boil in a landlocked state? When event planner Morgan Wetherington (from Nashville, TN) reached out to share this Luxe Lobster Bash I was day dreaming of my own seafood soiree. My favorite elements are the lovely lobster water color paper items and the use of nautical rope. Take a look at the amazing photos:


lobster boil picture 1



From Morgan:

Barbeque is the typical southern fare, but we opted for lobster for this upscale dinner party. For this New England inspired lobster boil, we used a color palate of cherry red, navy, and shades of cream. The La Tavola red rope linen was the perfect choice to include the theme. We incorporated nautical rope, starfish, and of course lobster. The client’s home provided an ideal outdoor space for the venue. We wanted to create a guest experience, everyone loved cracking lobster and flowing conversation.



With each individual place setting, all guests needed to enjoy their lobster was an appetite.












Seasonal cantaloupe, snow peas, and corn on the cob accompanied the lobster. No dinner party is completed without a bar, we even designed a bar area that included a special “Captain Jackson Cocktail”. Each guest left with a seafood seasoning favor to continue the celebration from home. This is a great event concept for any point in the summer whether it is 4th of July or Labor Day.




Styling, Photography, Paper Products :: Commerce Street Events
Linen :: La Tavola Fine Linen
Tableware :: Corzines
Venue :: Private Nashville Resident

Your Invited to a Mother’s Day Luncheon

Mother’s Day Luncheon hosted by

Grand Elegance Events

Sunday, May 11,2014

1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Join us on a special day with a love one.  Let’s celebrate Mother’s Day with a fabulous luncheon buffet , fun, free prize give aways and more much.

PI Banquet Hall
23347 Franklin Rd.
Southfield, MI 48034

Tickets available today at Eventbrite or at


By Cheryl Fish

I’m beginning this photo album at the end…dessert! Joann Roth-Oseary loves doing dessert trios, so I thought I’d offer the designdawg pack three tasty ideas for events for the Winter-Spring season. Designing dessert presentations is like designing events. First you need a focal point and then you can create the “fluff” around it.

This delicious dessert trio was designed for an automobile corporation. The goal was to design a dessert that had unique form and structure. The plate became our “showroom floor” that beautifully showcased the latest dessert delicacies.

Sweet and Structural Desserts
From bottom to top: A chocolate bombe encircled with a necklace of mini macarons; a white chocolate and blood orange creamsicle; an almond tuille filled with a cannoli.

LUSH AND LOUD   Lush, and loud…by loud I mean an event that speaks its mind with strong design and culinary statements. Here are three that don’t pull any punches!

The Big “B”
The decor and menu for this event revolved around a retirement party for a film executive. It was imperative to brand the send-off party with details that defined the honoree. His last name began with “B” so that was a natural, but better yet, upon retirement he planned to focus more on his hobby — bee keeping!
The theme came in loud and clear. A walk-around library with “B” book ends was a nod to the film libraries the executive had developed at the movie studio. A dramatic 12-foot high, three-dimensional bee hive creation sat in the center of the large comfort food buffet in the Bee Hive Lounge where guests could enjoy “Hot-from-the-Hive” honey spreads consisting of creamy mango, lemon, cinnamon and cranberry honey.
Caviar Chic
The inspiration for this event color palette originated from the Pantone colors of Honeysuckle, Regatta and Silver Cloud. The caviar station was presented on a custom sculpture of four vertical Plexi colonnades faced with a brushed platinum patter that was illuminated from within. The columns provided the framework for the elegant display of caviar, toast points, blinis and baby new potatoes that were tiered on varying level upon large, glass platforms. Bundles of monochromatic flowers were placed in a collection of modern vessels.
And the Envelope Please!
It was loud and clear who the nominees were at this event. VIPs entered the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foreign Language Film Awards through a hallway that literally spelled out the titles of the nominated films. Each was vibrantly lighted in rotating LED hues.

REFINED SUGAR   Refinement doesn’t have to mean bland. Here, is sweetness that doesn’t cloy; a taste of sugar that adds no calories…with the exception of a few teeny calories in this first example!

An Out of This World Dessert
At SITK, we meet with our pastry chef to discuss possibilities for outrageous desserts that reflect the themes of events. For a Seventh Heaven theme, our chef created a chocolate bombe surrounded by a flurry of white cotton candy topped with a white chocolate, gold-embossed angel.
Seventh Heaven
At that same event, tablescapes on the six, 32-foot sprawling tables were embellished with mirrored stars, translucent vessels, glistening candles and huge poofs of white hydrangea, roses and dahlias, sky blue napkins and white, fluffy table linens swathed the tables in powder pink, sky blue and light lilac.
A French Boudoir
We created a sensual vibe by introducing a color palette of passionate purple, ravishing red and bold black. The central buffet was swathed in black satin and etoile flocked fabrics. A dramatic cornice box, constructed with recessed lighting, was supported with upholstered columns. The buffet offered an array of appetizers that were beautifully embellished with rose pomander balls and unusual vessels. The spectacular structure was drizzled with hundreds of crystal orbs that cascaded over the station. Clusters of violet rose patterns bathed the ceiling and surrounding walls in light.
Flying High
A sleek plate designed as a runway starter course. From the top: a lobster martini with citrus vinaigrette and candied pistachios; cucumber avocado soup with chive oil; a Vidalia onion hay stack; watermelon beet soup with creme fraiche; and a chanterelle mushroom pancetta and Crescenza cheese tart.
Up, Up and Away
At that same event, two 100-foot long, runway-like dining tables were precisely positioned inside an airplane hangar with the unexpected placement of a vintage JU52 plane in the background. It felt as though the plane was actually circling inside the hangar, intensifying the vibe of the event. Metallic platinum linen, sleek candelabra and dollops of clustered floral conveyed the beauty of this feat of engineering.
Night Cap Lounge
After a dinner party, guests were surprised when French doors opened off a dining room to reveal a late night lounge. The outside patio had been tented which was then draped and pleated with white fabric. Dramatic black chandeliers and a flickering fireplace added a warm glow that complemented the glow of friendship in the setting.

The Masterpiece of Cakes

by Chef Renato Andovino

I have a passion for food decorations. Whenever I log onto my Facebook, I always love to see the beauty of world. One day, I came across Le Torte DI Renato. Chef Renato’s creative cakes and was fascinated with his creativity and attention to details. Here are some examples of his work.

Here’s a link to his site:


Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

Whimsical Woodland Thanksgiving

PARTY DETAILS, as told by Loralee

We decided to throw a children’s Thanksgiving Dinner complete with all the trimmings. This rustic, whimsical woodland creature theme is just right for a crisp alfresco meal to take in the autumn colors, or for a fantastic kids table near the hearth that will make the big kids jealous!

Loralee designed this theme specifically for a children’s Thanksgiving table but it complements well with any autumn gathering. It’s about bringing rustic whimsy to a traditionally formal event! The paper features nine one-of-a-kind hand drawn furry friends headed to Thanksgiving dinner. Loralee used a typical sized table for the desserts, covered with simple burlap. She embellished the burlap by cutting a few strips and making burlap bows. She likewise topped the children’s table chairs with the same burlap bows. For decor, she stacked a couple decorative bales of hay, pumpkins, artificial leaves, and cornucopias. For platters, she cut a medium sized tree log into horizontal circular slices, and used one for the pumpkin roll and three others for a cake stand.

For the actual dinner table, she placed wavy banner chair backers over the burlap bow tails and used a burlap runner down the center of the table. The settings were accompanied by salad served in a berry basket from Garnish, wrapped with a label from Loralee’s store. She also included an “Eat Your Veggies” salad topper and served up crushed apple cider in jars with straws and daisy lids. For an activity, she used simple little cards on which the kids could write what they were thankful for.



– Styling, Paper, Labels, Signage, Banners, Straws, Toppers, Jars & Daisy Lids: Loralee Lewis
– Photography: Blind Eye Photography
– Hay Bales, Baskets, Pumpkins, Basins & Leaves: Hobby Lobby
– Cups and Lids, Favor Containers: Garnish

Interactive Buffet & Station Ideas | Wedding, Mitzvah, Party

When it comes to throwing a wedding, bat/bar mitzvah or party, presentation is everything. Unless you’re serving caviar, champagne and Lindt chocolate mousse; appetizers, cocktails and desserts are often easily forgotten. But you don’t need to serve the crème de la crème to make these details memorable.

Up the WOW factor of everyday favorites with creative, fun & beautifully styled wedding & party buffets and stations!

Creative Ideas for Wedding & Party Buffet Stations


Build Your Own Bruschetta Station

There are endless possibilities when it comes to adding toppings to crostinis. Tapanades, spreads, cheeses, tomatoes… Let your guests create their own culinary masterpiece.

Build Your Own Bruschetta Bar | Wedding Station

Fruit & Vegetable Buffet Table

Crudités have long received a bad wrap as an unimaginative canapé. But the traditional French appetizer is not only healthy, but easy to prepare and light on the budget. Breathe new life into freshly cut vegetables by placing them in clear vases. Watermelon mint salads and other healthy fruit options add beautiful color to the display. Complete the look with a few tall martini glasses filled with dips.

Crudites Fruit Vegetable Buffet Table

Adult & Kids Snow Cone Station

Simple and fun, kid-friendly and “adult spiked” snow cones are a great way to keep guests cool during summer, outdoor weddings & events. Put out shaved ice, syrups, and your favorite cocktail mixes for a fun refreshing treat. Check out Frozen Cocktail Push-Pops & Spiked Snow Cones

Snow Cone Buffet Station

Ice Cream Buffet

Confectioneries may have made buffets trendy, but they’re not always to everyone’s taste. Ice-cream, however, is guaranteed to appeal to the kid in everyone. Klein’s Real Kosher Ice-cream comes in a variety of delicious dairy and dairy-free flavors. Let guests scoop their own flavor and top with nuts, sprinkles and sauces. Put out soda and you have yourself a Root Beer Float Station!

Ice Cream Buffet Station | Wedding, Mitzvah, Party

Popcorn Station

Dessert may have filled bellies after dinner, but many hours rocking the dance floor can leave a crowd peckish. Popcorn is not only a pocket-friendly, easy to make snack, but it’s also a great remedy for guests who’ve had one glass too many. Children will also enjoy this post-party snack on the ride home. Let guests spice their own pre-packed boxes or fill empty bags with pre-flavoured kernels.

Popcorn Bar & Party Station

DIY Cupcake Topping Table

Everyone has their favorite cupcake topping. So give them what they want with a do-it-yourself cupcake bar.

Cupcake Topping Bar Station


Mimosa Buffet / Champagne Infusion Bar

Unlike other, more complex cocktails, there’s no wrong way to make a mimosa. Let guests create their own mimosas with a champagne infusion bar! Put out champagne, fruit juices (like orange and mango), liquors and flavored schnapps. Cut up some fruit and let the fun begin! A table with just the juices and fruit are a great a kid-friendly option.

Mimosa Champagne Infusion Bar

Bloody Mary Bar

For morning and afternoon events (or evening…why not!) a Bloody Mary bar will put a big smile on your guests’ faces. Some like their Bloodys hot and spicy with 6 olives – let them have it! Put out regular & flavored vodka, Bloody Mary mix, olives, lemons, limes, raw and pickled vegetables, spices, and a variety of hot sauces for a fun & colorful drink station.Bloody Mary Bar

Martini Bar

Shaken or stirred? Let your guests decide with a DIY martini station. Prepare the spirits by pouring vodka, vermouth and water into clear labelled decanters. Fill three square vases with sliced cucumber, lemon peels and stuffed olives. If providing chilled glasses is a problem for your caterer, place a bucket of ice alongside the glasses and instruct guests to cool their glasses before filling.

Deconstruct any of your favorite cocktails for a unique standalone bar!

Make Your Own Martini Bar | Wedding Station

Whatever buffet fits your function, remember the right styling can transform the ordinary into the sublime!

 Blog credit; MazelMoments.com

Photo Sources:I Love SW Mag, Amy Atlas, Martha Stewart, Eat Drink Chic, Bridal Guide, Boutwell Studio, Centsational Girl, The Symmetric Swan, Sunday Suppers

Food Trucks for a Wedding Reception

Food trucks at wedding receptions have become increasingly popular these past two years.  It’s a great alternative to booking caterers or a conventional sit-down dinner.  They’re a great option for smaller wedding receptions or outdoor receptions.  Your guest can dine on an array of food selections ranging from finger foods to French pastries.  A great option at cocktail hour instead of hors d’oeuvres, have a couple of food trucks serving a lite tasting menu before the main course. This will simply tickle your guest.

Kogi's menu is a mashup of Korean and Mexican food, like short-rib tacos, above, which are stuffed with beef prepared in a soy-based marinade. Kogi se
Picture by Erin Shin

Savory and Sweet Kogi’s menu is a mashup of Korean and Mexican food, like short-rib tacos, above, which are stuffed with beef prepared in a soy-based marinade. Kogi serves its $2 tacos with an onion-cilantro relish and a chili-soy vinaigrette salad.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1973377,00.html#ixzz23TeJ4QT3

The element of surprise at the midnight hour is a food truck.  Serve your friends and family barbecued pulled pork, sliders, French fries, gourmet pizza, grilled cheese or hot dogs.  So think about this unique summertime idea for your wedding and impress your guest.

Photograph via Engaging Affairs Photo by Poetic Reality Photography

Food Truck Tips

  •       Think about what you both like to eat
  •       Make sure you take fun photos of your guest and food trucks
  •       Talk to the caterers about choosing your menu
  •       Select customized disposable containers
  •       Consider travel cost and location of vendors
  •       Set  up cocktail tables outside for your guest
  •       Avoid long line, have at least 3  food truck choices serving a variety of cuisine