Last week, a perfect storm of luck, timing, karmic repayment, and a unforeseen hiccup in Josh’s schedule had me whisking off to Paris on an Open Skies flight to join some other bloggers as guests of Veuve Clicquot (think bold yellow label). In the past few years I’ve been noticing a stronger presence of Veuve Clicquot in the states — I think this is probably due to a combination of my own personal maturation, taking a notice in their various thoughtful forays into the world of design, and an increased marketing outreach on VC’s part. From a branding standpoint, I always thought that VC “got it,” and was doing a nice job reaching out to the U.S. market, but I was excited to get behind the curtain to see what that wonderful wizard was all about on a more nuts-and-bolts level.

In the States, we tend to treat champagne (“bubbly”) as a celebratory mechanism — our approach is decidedly habitual and formulaic, drawing cues from holidays like New Years and pop culture icons Jay-Z and 50-Cent (who drink lots of bubbly in the ‘cluh’ and show us in their videos just how that process works). A romantic portrayal of champagne? Sure, why not? But champagne has different significance in France. In its homeland, champagne is an integral component of French society, its heritage, and frankly, its style. Indeed, what I came to find out during my week with Veuve Clicquot is that, to the French, champagne is a way of life deeply rooted in tradition, rich soil, and most of all, family.

Some of these press trips can be nightmarish — following PR people around like puppy dogs for days on end, as a corporate agenda is shoved down your throat — and in which something (a certain advertorial something) is invariably expected of you in the end. This trip was of the more natural ilk — the nice people at Veuve Clicquot simply wanted us to experience their brand and their culture, and by adopting us into their family (literally), they created a truly enriching setting whereby I became inspired to share my experience with you all. Our aim as contributors on Joshspear.com is to continue the tradition upon which Josh founded the blog: to write about things we like — things that inspire us. Well make no mistake, my experience in France with Veuve Clicquot inspired me deeply.

Over the course of this week, I will endeavor to provide you, the readers, with the Veuve Clicquot recipe. I hope you will enjoy the ingredients on their own, and as a harmonious whole. But just remember, as with haute French cuisine, there are nuanced ingredients which can only be discovered through first hand experience — I will hold these ‘special’ ingredients in my mind and in my heart, with a hope that someday you will discover them for yourselves.

So, here’s a simple list of the ingredients in the Veuve Clicquot recipe. If you want to know how they all come together, stay tuned this week!

- 1 part design (Tuesday)
- 1 part ambiance (Wednesday)
- 1 part expertise (Thursday)
- 2 parts family (Friday)

Mix together for a little over 200 years, and enjoy.

Photos courtesy of Xavier Lavictoire