Day 41: Bargain Bubblies + Parmesan-Rosemary Shortbreads
“There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.” ― Bette Davis
I'll be the first to admit it: I have a total weakness for bubbly. I love it. It's festive, it's fun, and it just tastes so good. And having a glass of Champagne - no matter what you're doing - makes that moment so much more memorable. I love the picture above, because I am totally in my happy place: in Paris, drinking bubbly (at lunch!) with my dear friend Chrissy. I'm sure the moment would have been fabulous without Champagne, but it was so much more fabulous with. Oh to go back in time!!
But here's a little secret: drinking sparkling wine doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Sure, real Champagne tends to be pricey, but there are so many other delicious, affordable varieties of sparkling wine to explore. And you don't have to wait for New Year's Eve or some other major celebration to pop a cork. I'm a huge fan of celebrating life's smaller victories - or infusing some fun into a tough day - with a $10 bottle of bubbly.
Last night at my "New Year's Eve"-themed West Elm class, I shared five of my favorite budget bubblies, ranging in price from $8.96 to $29.99, along with some delicious hors d'oeuvres to pair alongside. (For more in-depth info on sparkling wine, and the differences between cava, Prosecco, cremant, and Champagne, see my post Budget Bubblies: A User-Friendly Guide.)
Given we still have a few more weeks of merry-making ahead, I wanted to share these bottles (pictured below) with you all as well: they're the perfect thing to bring to a party, or to have on-hand at home for visitors who drop by. And of course, if you're hosting your own "Bubbly & Bites" New Year's Eve party, any of these would be a great option. I'm also including the recipe for tasty little Rosemary-Parmesan shortbreads that I served at class last night. These are the perfect compliment to a glass of Champagne - make up a batch and keep on hand for holiday gatherings. Cheers!
1) Nicolas Feuillate Brut Reserve Champagne ($29.99)
This is a steal of a deal at Trader Joe's right now. This non-vintange Champagne is composed of 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 40% Pinot Meunier, giving it a really balanced flavor profile. Pale gold in color, this sparkler is fresh and lightly floral, with delicate bubbles and notes of pear, apple, almonds, and hazelnuts.
2) Val de Mer Crémant de Bourgogne Non Dosé ($19.96)
A super-elegant crémant by Patrick Piuze, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown in the Chablis area of Burgundy. I'd drink this over Champagne any day: it's super-dry, with chalky minerality, and citrus notes. It makes for a beautiful aperatif, or as the perfect compliment to oysters.
3) Graham Beck Brut Rosé 2009 ($18.99)
This pale-pink South African bubbly is an amazing value, and you'd swear you were drinking Champagne. Made from a blend of 82% Pinot Noir and 18% Chardonnay, this methode champenoise sparkler has notes of raspberry, brioche, and strawberry, with a nice, dry finish. Great on its own, or try it with all sorts of hors d'oeuvres (it's especially great with spicy dishes!).
Another bargain from Trader Joe’s – this DOCG Prosecco has tiny refreshing bubbles and notes of fresh apple and hints of yeast. A perfect bottle to use in a holiday cocktail or just on its own.
5) Savia Viva Brut Reserva ($8.96)
This is my go-to when I need an affordable bottle of bubbly - it's just under $9 but tastes twice as expensive! A dry style of Cava (made from organic grapes) with delicate aromas of fresh lemon and zesty minerals, from Astor Wine & Spirits. This is great sparkling wine to pair with shellfish, or spicy Asian food.
Makes about 30 shortbreads
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted* butter
1 cup finely-grated Parmesan, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
Using electric beaters (or a stand mixer), beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, the rosemary, salt, pepper, and flour and blend until it begins to come together (the dough will be crumbly).
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a 12-inch log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes to firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take the dough from the freezer, unwrap it and slice it into 1/4 to 1/2-inch coins. Arrange them on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.
Let cool completely on a cooling rack. Serve with a glass of bubbly!
MAKE AHEAD: Store for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
*I prefer salted butter in this recipe, as I found the unsalted butter to be too bland in this recipe. If you do use unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.