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The Night They Invented Champagne


In the dim past of the last century, good time girls like Marilyn Monroe always celebrated their moments of victory with a glass of bubbly.

'I'm marrying a millionaire,' she'd thrill. 'Let's have champagne!'

Corks would pop, and the golden liquid would swirl and fizz into those wide, saucer-shaped glasses. Well-manicured fingers would spread elegantly around the bowl, the wine sparkling invitingly through the hollow stem.

Then with a suddenness of an express train passing a station, the saucer-shaped glass disappeared. And a whole tradition of romance went with it.

For the saucer-shaped champagne glass wasn't just another glass. It was designed as a special symbol of its own. Its inspiration was the legendary beauty of a woman's breast. Some say that famous breast belonged to Madame de Pompadour. Not only was the lady fond of all things beautiful which only the affection of king could give her, but she wasn't beyond commissioning a special plate or two with her very own designs.

Another name suggested for the shape of the glass is Marie Antionette. Beautiful enough, and tragic enough. But those fond of anything really ancient are pretty certain that there was never a breast deserving of fame so much as that of Helen of Troy.

However, while no one agrees on the name of the beautiful woman who inspired the shape of the glass, everyone pretty well agrees on the bodily part it resembles.

As to be expected, the manufacturing wizard who gave the glass its birth was a Frenchmen. And it was the French royalty who realised its full potential.

At a brunch, or a high tea, while drinking their champagne, the ladies would pass the tort or the angel cake. 'Oh, my dear,' they would cry, 'do try the sponge cake with the champagne. Have you ever tasted anything so delicious?' And they would dip their cake or pastry into the bubbles before popping the champagne-impregnated morsel into their mouth. Lovers, in particular, loved to feed each other on this heavenly fare.

Then along came the wine buffs. With no romance in their souls, just their long noses and cultivated palates, they went into a scientific huddle. Taking a tape measure they first measured the perimeter of the saucer-shaped glass and then the tulip-shaped glass, and shook their heads in dismay.

The surface of the saucer-bowl glass is so wide, they complained. What a waste of bubbles and aroma.

They cared little about how generous and giving the rounded curves of the saucer-shaped glass looked. And they cared even less about the charm of the saucer-shaped glass when the bride and groom toasted each other with their two hands intertwined.

Their focus was on keeping the aroma and the bubbles in the glass for as long as possible.

As if a true lover of champagne would take more than a minute or two to drink the lot!

Vlady is an Australian Civil Marriage Celebrant.She is the author of "Complete Book of Australian Weddings", "The Small Organisation Handbook" and "Honeymoon! A Sizzle or a Fizzle?".

She is a member of Civil Marriage Celebrants of Queensland, and Celebrant Training Association.She is also a member of Australian Authors, and Romance Writers of Australia Association.

You can visit Vlady at her website http://www.vlady-celebrant.com


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2005