The Art of Sabrage

I love a good show. That is why I love the concept of sabering a bottle of champagne (or any bubbly for that matter) instead of just popping open a cork. It is not a convenient practice, but it is an entertaining one. This is why I used M’s birthday as a clever excuse to buy one (for him of course).

All wrapped up
All wrapped up

The art of sabering a champagne bottle has it’s roots in Napoleons France. It is a practice developed by the French army to celebrate their many wins and to console the many losses. Napoleon is known to have said ‘Champagne! in victory one deserves it and in defeat one needs it’. I agree with those words, even if I don’t in general agree with Napoleon.

The sabering of the bottle happens by sliding the dull side of the sword along the neck and the seam of the bottle. With adequate pressure applied to the crossing of the seam and the lip of the bottle (the top of the neck), the neck pops off together with the cork. In a clean break, there is little loss of champagne, but one should always check the first glass poured for glass residue. This is a messy practice, and you can expect a few failures along the way (due to poor technique or poor quality of glass). At least you can expect to be mopping the floor even after a perfect swing. But when you get the hang of the technique, it is relatively easy to put on a good show.

Simple and elegant design
Simple and elegant design
So shiny one can sneak a selfie
So shiny one can sneak a selfie

I have only tried sabrage a few times. It has been a success from the start, but just to make sure, I only sabered some cheap bottles. And even so, just the loss of champagne would make me hesitate using a saber on something really nice. I think it might have been dumb luck, so I will not get too smug about it. However, I can tell you it is fun. Maybe it is the exhilaration of the risk of breaking the bottle or the loud pop from when the cork flies off, but it is a wonderful feeling when you can claim victory.

I selected this saber from Georg Jensen as I loved the simple, yet elegant design. The saber is light in the hand, but sturdy. It promises a good grip and that is what you need when you set out to give a firm blow on the lip of the bottle. It was not too pricey either, around 1200 SEK (130 EUR) which was less than other sabers on the market. I ordered this from the Georg Jensen webshop, who arranged the beautiful wrapping and home delivery. Unfortunately the experience was not all good as UPS screwed up the delivery with a week making me miss M’s birthday. Well, a present is a present, even if it comes late. M (or maybe me) is very excited about it and cant wait to start the exercises. Lets see how many laps we have left after the first week.

Wineweek 30: Sword and Legos

It is finally Sunday again (or Monday as something went wrong with WordPress on Sunday), they day of the week I try to dedicate to resting (and some creative writing). One can see that vacations are closing in as everybody is extremely busy. I, as many others, like to have things done and out of the way in advance of the well deserved break. Stockholm has also started showing signs of summer: temperatures above 20 C and the migration of the Burger boat. Yes, the burger boat! It arrives when it is summer and it leaves when it feels like it. I have not had any burgers there yet, but I will, when I am on vacation (as it often shows up around lunch time to the marina close to where we live).

This week we made some interesting purchases. M (finally) received his birthday present, only a week late (thanks to crappy UPS, seriously do not understand how they can even survive as their service is horrible outside the US), the beautiful champagne saber from Georg Jensen. I really liked it’s clean design and I felt it was about time that M, married to a Finn, gets his own knife (all the Swedes joke about Finns carrying around knifes, don’t ask me why). I have sabered before, and it is not that hard, but it requires some practice. Let’s see how many lamps we have left in our living room after the first session. One thing is for sure, regardless of whether the sabering is done wrong or right, is that our floors will from now on be mopped with  champagne. We also purchased some nice Bodum Pavina double glass cups. The double glass shields the hands of the holder from extreme hot or cold, so these will be great for coffee, tea as well as beverages with ice.

There was also some extreme dining this week. Not that I am at all jealous, M traveled to Copenhagen (originally to meet our accountant and warehouse manager) to eat at Noma, one of the most known restaurants in the world. It sounded like a wonderful meal and a wonderful experience, however I am not sure what I would have thought about eating ants. Yes, one of the dishes contained ants. Supposedly they tasted like lemon.

We also did some nice dining last night at a new restaurant in Stockholm, Punk Royale. It was a weird and fun experience with some of the best seafood I have had all year. We played with Legos on the table and the staff went around rubbing the guests with a fox fur. The food was fun, quirky and amazingly tasty. There was a scent of burned butter in the air, perhaps due to the fact that almost all dishes had been prepared with a fair amount of it. We took also a drinks flight with the meal and it was very nice: diverse, with beer, snaps (vodka), wines and punsch (a Swedish arrack flavored alcoholic beverage). This was one of the best meals I have had all year and I cannot wait to go back again when the menu has changed.

Being wine merchants one would think that we drink our own wines all the time. Among all the sampling and curiosity for new things, that is seldom the case. So I was very happy on Friday to open a bottle of one of the best cavas we have in our selection, the Rimarts Chardonnay. It is a Gran Reserva from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is not a variety indigenous to Penedes, but it is more and more used in the production of cava. The chardonnay gives the wine some of the toasty and nutty notes that are more often found in champagne, but you can still taste the limestone from the Sant Sadurni terroir. I love the combination.

So an eventful week with a lot of wine and great food (especially for M). Next week it is time for Midsummer, the celebration of the longest day of the year in the Nordic countries. Midsummer is often celebrated at the cabin (summer house) with great food (barbecue), wine and in Finland a great big bonfire (and in Sweden with dancing around the maypole/midsummer pole).  As we are not cabin-people we will be escaping to Iceland, where there is no Midsummer. There we will be celebrating with some great food and wine as well, just without the mosquitoes and out-of-control fires.