BYOB (as in Basket)

Champagne Taittinger, noted for its dry, brut style, is truly a bubbly that should be poured a plenty. One of the only remaining family-owned and operated Champagne houses, the label is respected for its large percentage of chardonnay grapes, prestigious Grand Cru vineyards, sustainable production and consistent (90+) scores. While flutes of Taittinger Champagne are surely spilling over in celebration at indoor or alfresco formal affairs, what about when these soirées end? Take your bubbly to go…

Phyllis Horner of Taittinger shares tips to prepping a haute picnic basket for your very own mobile, gourmet meal.

Q. What are some of the most commonly forgotten items for posh picnics?

Most people focus on the food and may forget about other dining essentials. Don’t overlook nice napkins—either colorfully printed paper ones or cloth. For a true posh picnic, real silverware is vital, as are ceramic or china plates and wine glasses/flutes. And don’t forget a cute picnic basket to transport everything in as well: A well-designed, beautiful basket isn’t just functional, but [also] sets the stage for revealing what’s inside. These little elements make all the difference and take picnics from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

One note about glasses: Though it’s important to bring real glass or crystal glasses to a posh picnic, you don’t necessarily need flutes for Champagne. A chardonnay glass will do just fine, and is often even better at bringing out the nose of the Champagne. Sometimes, I even drink Champagne out of beer glasses at picnics! You won’t see as many of the pretty, long streams of bubbles in those glasses as you would with a flute, but bigger, rounder glasses capture the nose of Champagne very well, adding another sensory element to the whole experience.

Q. What do you admire about movable feasts, whether they be large, celebratory surprise gatherings, or an intimate Champagne picnic? What makes them attractive to the general public?

I think everyone gets excited about coming together to dine as a community in a beautiful setting. Even when it takes a little effort and setup, when you’re finally sitting down to an amazing picnic spread—glass of Champagne in hand—with phenomenal company, it’s all worth it. Creating moments like those takes some planning, but always end up [being] thoroughly enjoyable, unforgettable experiences. It’s also simply great fun to dine in interesting, unusual places.

Q. The best thing about a bubbly, seaside picnic?

Champagne, sea breezes, amazing cuisine and wonderful company—it doesn’t get any better than that. Outdoor picnics stimulate all of your senses, and unlike dining inside, there’s an element of surprise. And you don’t need a manicured lawn to set up a picnic: a blanket in the sand, or pillows set up against a tree trunk will do. There’s joy to be found in the visual contrast between a posh picnic setup and the surrounding natural environment.

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We’ll raise a glass of Taittinger to that. To savor more of Reims’ famous Champagne, visit taittinger.com.

 
Picnic photo by Shibby Stylee; stylist: Feliz Salas; couture linens courtesy Les Saisons. Champagne photo (bottom) courtesy Taittinger. All photos courtesy Dîner en Blanc Honolulu.

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