With one ninja-like sharp sabre move the champagne bottle opens and starts to flow. It’s a technique developed by Napoleon (the French emperor, not Napoleon Dynamite) just after the French revolution.
Evidently Napoleon liked to drop in for a visit and celebrate his victory with parties where the cavalry took to opening champagne with their sabres.
Slicing the top off a champagne bottle with a sword has to be the best party trick ever.
If you’d like to be initiated into the art of sabrage, the Effervescence Champagne Festival Sunday program is the place to realise your dreams. Amanda Reboul, the Champagne Diva will demonstrate the technique and teach anyone who purchases a bottle from the bar how to do it too. You do need to pre-book and jump in quick because there are just a few seats available.
“Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.” Napoleon.
Ed+bK quizzed Amanda about the art of champagne sabrage
Is it hard to sabrage?
I would love to say it takes enormous skill and precision, but it is really just a question of physics and know how.
How did you learn how to do it?
I was lucky enough to end up in the restaurant of the chef, Jean-Claude Jalloux, the Grand Maitre, who started the ‘Confrerie du Sabre d’Or (Brotherhood of the Golden Sabre) in the small village of Apremont not far outside of Paris, through a mutual friend and told him of my fascination. He initiated me right there and then in his crowded restaurant Le Grange Aux Loups, sabering right into the fireplace!
Do you have a special trick?
The special trick with sabrage is to make sure the bottle neck is nice and cold and that you follow the blade along the seam of the bottle with a firm follow through.
Can you still drink the champagne?
Of course! Because of the pressure escaping from the bottle when the top is knocked off, nothing can fall back into the neck of the bottle. If anything is lost, or if there are any shards of glass, they fall on the ground – not back into the bottle! With a bit of skill and good timing, not much is wasted and the bottle can be enjoyed. Our VIP guests at Effervescence are having a whole ‘sabrage’ dinner with Pol Roger champagnes. All of the sabred champagnes will be served during the meal!
Sabrage is a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a sabre, used for ceremonial occasions. You slide the sabre along the body of the bottle to break the top of the neck away, leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. Don’t use the sharp side of the blade and the cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck.
Here’s what to expect at Effervescence on Sunday afternoon
- A Champagne Trail – work your way around the Spicers Hidden Vale to discover champagne from all across the champagne region.
- Q & A with event Director Amanda Reboul and Festival Ambassador Damien Anthony Rossi – What makes Champagne so special?Cooking demonstrations by Danielle Dixon bought to you by Electrolux with Quick and Easy Champagne Brunch ideas.
- A chef’s tour of markets, kitchen garden and smoke house at Spicers Hidden Vale.
- The Art of Sabrage and other Champagne Etiquette with Amanda Reboul and Damien Anthony Rossi followed by a sabrage instruction by Amanda Reboul.
- Le Masterclass – Learn about how champagne is made and the role of different grapes in the final blend. With Shin Saito, Champagne Jacquart’s Business Development Manager. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased tickets online
- Music from Tim O’Brien quartet
- Le Marche – wander around a variety of food stalls with local produce and prepared food to purchase.
- Le Boulodrome – play a round of petanque with glass in hand.
Where is it?
Effervesence will be held at Spicers Hidden Vale in the Brisbane Valley.
You do need to pre-book so jump in quick because there are just a few seats available.
Disclaimer: EdbK will be a guest at Effervescence.