Champagne Tips for NYE
A master sommelier on glassware, proper chilling, and the very best food pairings.
December 31, 2012
With New Year’s Eve upon us, Krug Champagne master sommelier Ian Cauble shares his expertise on serving and pairing a fine bottle of bubbly.
How does one determine which glass to use—a coupe, a flute, a regular wine glass?
IAN CAUBLE: Ignore the classic stereotypes. Contrary to popular belief, Champagne is best when served in an all purpose wine glass, rather than a flute. A flute tends to mask flavors. Its design is more focused on showcasing the bubbles, thus hindering the wine from breathing. A wine glass lets the wine fully come to life and breathe.
Should Champagne be served chilled on ice or kept in the fridge?
IC: Colder doesn’t always mean better. One of the worst possible things to do is serve Champagne super cold. When frosty, Champagnes become shy and the personality is lost. An inside tip is to take the Champagne out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before drinking it.
What are some foods that pair well with Champagne?
IC: Champagne is one of the most versatile wine pairings in the world due to the perfect contrast between the richness of texture and freshness of acidity. Krug, in particular, has the outstanding ability to stand up to complex and rich flavors like truffle, curries, and cheese plates, while simultaneously allowing the taster to accent delicate flavors like those found in seafood and nuts. Serve an entire meal paired with Champagne: blancs de blancs like Krug Clos du Mesnil with oysters, Krug Rosé with spicy food such as Thai, or Krug Grande Cuvée with meats. Get creative!
The Ultimate Cheese Platter
The Cheese Course's Denyse Gervasoni curates the perfect holiday cheese board.
December 24, 2012
A cheese board at The Cheese Course
Denyse Gervasoni is the head cheesemonger of South Florida-based artisan cheese retailer The Cheese Course. Gervasoni has been with the company for more than ten years and became a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society this year, joining an elite group of national cheese educators and service providers. With holiday hosting festivities in full swing, we asked Gervasoni to curate the perfect cheese board.
What is the standard serving size for a cheese platter?
DENYSE GERVASONI: If you are serving a cheese plate as an appetizer, allow one ounce of cheese per person. If it is to be served as the focus of a meal, allow two ounces of cheese per person.
How many varieties of cheese should be on the board, and what are the best accoutrement?
DG: It's most important to have flavors you enjoy because every palate is different, but if you are looking for balance, have one from each category: fresh, soft with washed rind and bloomy rind, hard, and blue. Then complement with items that are savory, sweet, spicy, etc. Honeycomb with Bonne Bouche or Rogue River Blue is great for a classic salty and sweet combination.
At The Cheese Course, which items are prime for holiday entertaining?
DG: The pesto and walnuts are prepared in-house and sold fresh by the pound or in small, medium, and large quantities. The olives can be bought in the same quantities. The boards and biscuits are also available. We are also serving this year's American Cheese Society Best in Show winner, Beecher's Handmade Cheese Flagsheep. Only 25 wheels were made and we're lucky to have one.
The Cheese Course has locations in Midtown Miami, Pinecrest, Aventura Mall, Downtown Miami (opening in 2013), Weston, Coral Springs, Plantation, and Mizner Park.
Weekend Recommender: December 27-30
A celebrity shoe designer in town, a salute to Viennese opera, and more.
December 24, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 11 p.m.
The weeklong New Year festivities at LIV continue, welcoming Laidback Luke to the decks on Thursday night. Presale tickets begin at $40 and can be purchased at wantickets.com. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Ruthie Davis at Neiman Marcus
Friday, December 28, 3-5 p.m.
Beloved by Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Lady Gaga, shoe designer Ruthie Davis will make a rare appearance at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour Shops. Find out what inspires her bold, sexy silhouettes and take a peek at her most recent collection. 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour
Salute to Vienna
Sunday, December 30, 7 p.m.
More than 75 musicians and world-class dancers present classic Viennese operettas like "Die Fledermaus" and "The Merry Widow" at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Tickets begin at $45 and can be purchased online. 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-949-6722
Fireworks and Foie Gras at Zuma
Reserve a table for the most luxurious New Year’s Eve dinner in Miami.
December 22, 2012
Celebrate the New Year in the heart of Downtown Miami at ZUMA, the two-year-old savory innovation of award-winning chef Rainer Becker. To start off the exciting evening, Zuma will cater to guests with an unforgettable tasting menu stacked with everything from seared foie gras to truffled scallops to toro tartare and caviar. Following dinner, Japanese drummers will lead guests into a waterfront terrace lounge (modeled after Harajuku’s enchanting roadway passages), where London-based DJ Craig Dunn will put the party in gear for a spectacular riverside firework display and a dramatic balloon drop at the stroke of midnight. Dinner reservations range from $225 to $325 per person, depending on seating time. Access to the afterparty is an additional $50 and reservations for the terrace party only can be made for $125 per person. 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, RSVP 305-577-0277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What We're Reading
Local stone crab supply plummets, Cooper Avenue temporarily shutters...
December 21, 2012
Just as Lee Klein touted Cooper Avenue on bonappetit.com, the haute food hall temporarily shut down
As you contemplate your New Year’s resolution, consider the fact that basketball superstar LeBron James bikes from his home in Coconut Grove to downtown’s American Airlines Arena for most home games. (The ride takes 40-plus mintes, each way) That’s an eco-friendly workout if we’ve ever heard one. [Sun Sentinel]
Don Shula, Romero Britto, and a slew of other local celebs came together to read and record "The Night Before Christmas." Watch the video for a good laugh and a spirited start to the long holiday weekend. [SouthFlorida.com]
Veteran local restaurant critic Lee Klein shines the national spotlight on some of Miami’s best food haunts for bonappetit.com. [Bon Appetit]
A stone crab shortage is causing prices to soar and fishermen in Florida to call it quits just two months into the season. [Huffington Post Miami]
Weekend Recommender: December 20-24
An end of days dinner party, a fashion-forward man-iversary, and more!
December 20, 2012
STK Miami will host an end of days dinner party this Friday
The Man's Store Anniversary Event
Thursday, December 20, 6:30 p.m.
Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour celebrates the anniversary of its renovated Man's Store with cocktails, Texas de Brazil bites, and a sneak preview of the new 2013 Range Rover. 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305-993-4612; email@example.com
Thursday-Monday, December 20-24
The Miami City Ballet closes its annual production of The Nutcracker this weekend at The Adrienne Arsht Center, dazzling audiences with its world-class dancers, stellar costumes, and hundred-plus person cast. 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-949-6722; miamicityballet.org
End of Days Dinner Party
Friday, December 21, 9-11 p.m.
STK Miami at The Perry South Beach rings in the predicted doomsday with a Mayan-themed party. Dancers will be dressed in Mesoamerican garb and guests will enjoy Don Julio cocktails and a DJ set by Afro Kumbé. 2377 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-604-6988
Seasonal Sangria Recipes
Nutmeg, cranberries, and vanilla transform traditional sangria into a holiday treat.
December 20, 2012
The workweek is almost over, the holidays are in full swing, and today is National Sangria Day! Take a load off and invite some friends over for an impromptu celebration with these seasonal sangria recipes from organic, low-calorie Eppa Sangria.
Spiced Warm Eppa
1 bottle sangria
1 red or green sweet apple
1/4 cup premium gold rum
1/3 cup honey or sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
8 to 20 cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Combine ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker. Gently warm on low to medium heat to avoid boiling for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasional until the sugar (if using) dissolves and ingredients are well blended. Ladle the mulled sangria (leaving out cloves) into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
2 bottles sangria
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
12 ounces cranberry juice
1 cup sliced green apples
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lemon
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and chill for one hour before serving.
3 ounces sangria
2 ounces apple juice
1/16 tsp. vanilla
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with cranberries and apple slices.
Petra Nemcova Teams with Clinique
A sweet fragrance does worlds of good for children and schools affected by natural disaster.
December 19, 2012
A sought-after model who has worked for all of the major magazines, Czech beauty Petra Nemcova is also a model humanitarian. After surviving the catastrophic 2004 tsunami that ravaged Thailand, Nemcova established the Happy Hearts Fund, which rebuilds schools in areas devastated by natural disaster, in 2006. Joining Nemcova and the Happy Hearts Fund's plight to help those in need is Clinique and its popular fragrance, Happy Heart, which has been specially repackaged for the partnership. For each $37 bottle sold, Clinique will donate $10 to the Happy Hearts Fund.
To launch the initiative in Miami, Nemcova made stops at Bloomingdale’s in Aventura and Macy's in Dadeland. Here, we learn more about the Happy Hearts Fund, and its partnership with Clinique, in a conversation with Nemcova and Clinique vice president of global communications CeCe Coffin.
Was it challenging to get the Happy Hearts Fund up and running?
PETRA NEMCOVA: Since I started without having any background in philanthropy, you are learning on the go. One of the most important lessons was to focus. Without focus you can't really tackle a challenge and create tangible results.
It seems like a very grassroots effort, but a hugely successful one.
PN: Showing a clear mission, tangible measurable results, and having zero percent administration costs, all help to engage people. They see there is purity in it. We've been growing in supporters internationally and are establishing local boards in Indonesia and other countries. We raise funds in the U.S. and Europe, but the funds are leveraged through organizations in the countries where we rebuild schools. It gets people within the country involved in rebuilding their own school, which is very important to us.
As someone who helps survivors of tragedy, what are your thoughts on the Sandy Hook school shooting? How does the healing process begin?
PN: The pain they are going through must be unbearable. It's so hard to wrap your head around it because it should not have happened. My heart goes out to the families and the whole community. We see families losing their children through natural disasters and there are no words that can make it better, only love and care. Tragedy creates very special bonds that will be there forever and I hope they find the strength within each other.
How did the partnership with Clinique come to be?
PN: It came like a blessing from the sky! [Laughs] Clinique had been talking with their consultants about what they care about most and the results were education and education for children. So that was one of the synergies and philosophies we share. We have similar brand identities and with Clinique already having a Happy Hearts perfume, there were many touch points that were alike.
CECE COFFIN: We knew whoever we were going to align with that there had to be authenticity and passion and the education initiative. The minute we met Petra and Happy Heart's executive director Phil Caputo and they talked to us about their mission and where they were going, there was just a mutual respect for each other.
Can you describe the scent of Happy Hearts?
PN: It is sweet with notes of mandarin orange, water lily, and geranium. The new packing is representative of both brands with hearts drawn by children. The perfume is now pink and orange and when you align the four boxes side-by-side, the hearts connect. It is a reminder that your heart is connected to those of the children you are helping.
What other goals do you have for this partnership?
CC: There is a lot to accomplish and huge opportunities here. We will continue to develop employee engagement programs and we think we will roll out globally—right now the perfume is only available in North America. This is just the beginning of the journey for us. We're just excited.
PN: I go to New York tomorrow for one night, then for a few hours to London, then to Thailand, and then to the Czech Republic to visit my family.
CC: She's unbelievable. Talk about a woman who is committed.
We agree. And speaking of travel, what are your on the go beauty rituals?
PN: Obviously drinking lots of water is important. Clinique's All About The Eyes serum is also one of my secrets. I've also narrowed it down to traveling only with carry-ons; I can't be bothered with too much stuff, even if the trip is two or three weeks. People who travel a lot are at risk for getting blood clots, so I eat dark berries or beetroots before a flight to thin my blood. I always have a large scarf—it's my sweater, my dress, my everything.
Pop the Question at The Ritz
A new hotel package offers the ultimate romantic setting—and a diamond ring.
December 19, 2012
The Love Knot ring, part of The Ritz-Carlton's new To Di For package
Calling all couples: The Ritz-Carlton South Beach has conjured up the perfect package to pop the question—or just indulge a few days of luxury—with its new, dripping in diamonds To Di For package. For $4,954 per night, guests will slumber in a recently renovated ocean front suite and enjoy a custom diamond-infused facial treatment, foot ritual, and scalp massage. In addition to any gifts bestowed to each other, guests will also receive a sparkling 18k white gold 1.02 carat diamond Love Knot ring by Coralie, of Duchamp Jewelers. Though the diamonds themselves may last forever, the To 'Di' For package will only be offered through December of next year. 1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 786-276-4000
Holiday Dining Recommender
Three of Miami’s best restaurants cook splendid Christmas suppers—so you don’t have to.
December 18, 2012
The chef's daily mussel special at Angelique Euro Café
Angelique Euro Café
This charming Miracle Mile eatery will serve a special Holiday Spice prix fixe dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The three-course meal ($35) starts with bites like escargot in butter and wine sauce or the chef's daily mussel special. Scottish salmon, scallop risotto with truffle oil, and chicken breast with braised lentils round out second course offerings. For dessert, choose from raspberry white chocolate bread pudding, chocolate raspberry ganache cake, or vanilla bean ice cream with Amaretti cookie crumbs. 117 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 305-529-9922; angeliqueeurocafe.com
Available Christmas Eve and Christmas, BLT’s à la carte holiday offerings include chestnut apple soup with ginger whipped cream and apple tuile; roasted porcini mushroom with fonduta, pomegranate, mâché, and shaved white truffle, and a 20-ounce Kansas City strip steak with smoked brisket marmalade. Dessert promises a traditional Bûche de Noël with candy cane buttercream. 1440 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-673-0044; thebetsyhotel.com
The Fontainebleau's anchoring Italian outpost will open on Christmas Eve, but its fabulous feast takes place on Christmas Day, with a one-night-only prix fixe dinner. For $75 per person, guests can indulge in four courses, including plates like yellowtail and polenta, Alaskan halibut, and coconut panna cotta. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 877-326-741; fontainebleau.com