Saturday, September 4, 2010



Alexandra joined Doc for a Champagne breakfast
During visits to New Orleans, I enjoy flutes of Champagne with Creole eggs, shrimp and grits, biscuits, ham and andouille sausage. I came to expect it, but always thought that this noble custom was confined to the French Quarter, Quebec City and Paris. My early morning breakfast interview in Atlanta with the heiress of Laurent-Perrier one of the world’s great Champagne houses caused me to reconsider these old notions.

Breakfast suddenly rivaled dinner.

“I have enjoyed my visit in your beautiful city,” Alexandra told me while the attentive waiter poured another glass of Ultra-Brut Laurent-Perrier, which we paired with scrambled eggs and caviar. I couldn’t resist telling her about the Champagne folklore in the South. During the Civil War, Confederate blockade runners managed to smuggle in thousands of bottles. Champagne, as anyone familiar with Rhett Butler knows, has always occupied a hallowed place at Southern dining tables.

Founded in 1812, Laurent –Perrier has always been avant-garde in creating unique and elegant champagnes. For over 50 years, Bernard Nonancourt, Alexandra’s father, has dedicated his life to innovating and perfecting Laurent-Perrier Champagne. Alexandra gently took me along a journey of her Champagnes, the history of this region of France and all the great events associated with Laurent-Perrier. Mark Twain once said that he believed Joan of Arc to be the world’s greatest figure. The young warrior who became a Saint was from the area of Rhiems, the capital of the Champagne region of France.

Continuing a tradition of association with things noble and regal, Laurent-Perrier has been, I was told, the official Champagne of the Academy Awards for the past decade. Alexandra de Nonancourt’s father, in honor of her marriage, specially crafted an elegant Champagne and named it after her.

Sometimes you really hate to see breakfast come to an end. Our parting was memorialized by a gift of a rare bottle of Champagne from Alexandra. I’ll save it for something very important in my life, perhaps a day that has particular significance for Atlanta. 

With Champagne, we celebrate and christen. Champagne is the universal elixir of love. Nothing comes in second. We ring in the New Year with it and serving it on Valentine’s Day is obligatory. It’s also very appropriate for saying farewell.

Laurent-Perrier Champagne is now among my favorite things. I associate each glass of magnificent bubbly with Alexandra, the gracious emissary who spiritually took me to her region of France that produces it.

I confirmed the perfect pairing of food and beverage for breakfast.

Good-bye orange juice.

Have you enjoyed the New Orleans breakfast experience? Where? When?

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