“Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.”
– Oscar Wilde
I’ve often heard that when Oscar Wilde was on his deathbed, he sipped champagne and uttered the words, “Alas, I am dying beyond my means.” I have no idea if that’s true or not, but for the sake of this post I’m going to assume it is.
I love champagne. And what’s more, I love the idea of champagne. It makes a fashionable appearance at special occasions, and maybe you have a really good bottle that you’re saving stashed in your fridge somewhere. It’s an elegant drink. Even when it’s pink.
With the exception of Émile Zola’s Nana, I couldn’t find too many examples of champagne appearing in literature. But I did find this interesting article about the marketing behind Moët & Chandon in Baz Luhrmann’s flashy but enjoyable adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
Apparently Oscar Wilde drank champagne often. I don’t always feel fancy enough to sip on champagne, but I really do want to make a point of drinking it more. Although I would like to avoid that dreaded champagne headache so I think I’ll follow NPR’s advice and alternate between the bubbly stuff and boring ol’ water to avoid dehydration. I wonder if Wilde ever had a hangover from all the champagne he drank? If he did, I’m sure he also had a witty remark about how to cure it.
While I’m not in the habit of popping open a bottle of champagne on a regular basis, I have been known to bake a cake every now and again. So to pay homage to Oscar Wilde and his love of champagne, I thought I’d make a champagne cake. I followed this recipe but omitted the buttercream and went for sliced strawberries instead. But the cake wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked so perhaps I should have stuck with the frosting. Anyway, I ate some cake and sipped some champagne. And it was lovely.
For more on Wilde and champagne, check out this post on Paper and Salt.