Which bubbles are you drinking?

As we raise a toast to bring in the new year, the excitement and cheering often times drowns out the knowledge of the contents of the champagne glass. For most people, the mere fact that there is an icy cold, gold color, bubbly liquid, served in a long stem crystal glass is enough to mark the ceremonious occasion. But some of you connoisseurs may want to know the basic differences between Sparking White, Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Cremant and Spumanti. Whether you want to buy a bottle as a gift, or show off your expertise at the bar, this broad overview would help you distinguish your bubbles.

Image courtesy of Wine Folly

Sparking White Wine – Any white wine injected with carbon dioxide to produce bubbles falls into the category of sparkling white wine. There are also red sparkling wines such as Italian Brachetto and Australian sparkling Shiraz.

Sparkling wines and Champagnes are categorized as Extra Brut, BrutExtra dry, Sec and Demi-sec depending on their sugar levels. It is easy to find a good sparkling white wine under $30.

Champagne – In order to officially be called Champagne, the bubbly needs to be from the Champagne region of France and made in accordance with specific guidelines. A good bottle will cost upwards of $60.

Cava – Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that can be either white or rose. You can find it in varying levels of sweetness from the dry brut nature to a sweet wine. It generally has more bubbles than other sparking wines. Expect to spend around $10 for a decent bottle.

Prosecco – Originated in Italy, as a cheaper alternative to Champagne. Some of the ones you find today are of very high quality and comparable to Champagne. Budget unto $20 for a bottle of Italian Prosecco.

Cremant – The French terms “Mousseux” or “Crémant” are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region. This is made according to the Champagne method of fermentation in the bottle, but sometimes use different grape varieties. Generally, Cremant is less bubbly than other sparkling whites.

Espumante – A Portugese sparkling white wine and probably the cheapest version of this category. They are on the sweeter side. Its Italian name is Spumanti.

There are still other many regional versions of the bubbly drink found around the world.

While wines are named based on the variety of grapes used, sparklers need to be produced and processed according to strict guidelines in order to be labeled.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

“Two minutes to Super Bowl” recipe

What do you do when you have guests coming over, the big game is starting and you are left with only a few minutes to prepare something? Here is my two-minute recipe for a really delicious and healthy finger food. It’s perfect for gathering, big or small.

Salmon-Avocado bites

(makes 15 pieces)

1 box Athens mini fillo shells

4 oz smoked salmon (lox is fine too), coarsely chopped

1 avocado, diced

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, mix chopped avocado and lemon juice. Using a melon scooper, fill each shell with the avocado.  Top with smoked salmon and sprinkle with chopped red onion for garnish. Serve immediately.

That took only two minutes, didn’t it?

How to throw a Cinco de Mayo party

Having a Cinco de Mayo party at home can actually be quite fun. Whether you are hosting a few people or a large crowd, these easy to do ideas will make your event a big hit. As with any themed party, you must plan ahead of time to create the right mix of ambience, food and music. So decorate some Mexican flags, put some salsa music playing in the background and get your margarita glasses out.

Copyright Go Eat Give

Slice limes and keep some mint leaves on hand to decorate the cocktails. If you can afford to, always serve drinks in proper glasses, not disposables. Believe it or not, the presentation makes all the different in the flavor of the food!

For appetizers, serve tortilla chips with sour cream, few types of salsa, homemade guacamole, queso (melted cheese dip) and picco de gallo (salad of chopped tomatoes, onions, lettuce and cilantro).

Keep the entrée simple so that you are able to spend some quality time with your guests. Prepare a pot of yellow rice and black beans ahead of time to be served as sides. Present a make-your-own taco bar with fresh tortillas and fillings. You can have three or more options to appeal to everyone’s palate – one bowl of grilled vegetables (onions, red peppers, green peppers, tofu, etc.) for the vegetarians, second bowl of sliced cooked steak or chicken and third bowl of pre-cooked crawfish meat (available in seafood freezer section in grocery stores). Also buy readymade sauces such as a mole (if you can find it), chipotle steak sauce or a spicy seafood sauce to serve with the tacos. Serve them in nice bowls (not the original bottles) and they won’t know the difference! Refill the condiments (salsa, sour cream, etc.) as many people like to have them with their tacos as well.

For dessert, you can make a traditional flan, or upgrade to a caramel flavored cheesecake or dulce de leche gelato. Now go ahead and wear your long flowing skirts and sombreros and celebrate the rich tradition and culture of Mexico. Cheers!


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tsp. Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder
  • salt & pepper

 Peel the avocado & empty the pulp in a bowl. Chop it finely & add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.