Taste of Hartford + a Recap of the @MaxsOysterBar Taittinger Champagne Dinner

It’s time to eat well.  OK, it’s always time to eat well.  But Taste of Hartford offers the chance to do so for $30.16 and try some amazing multi-course menus in Hartford.  Here’s the full list of participants, plus the menus for Trumbull Kitchen and Max Downtown!

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So, yes, make a reservation, go “taste.”  It’s a good time for your mouth (and your wallet).

And now, let’s discuss bubbles.

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Aha.  Yes.

The good folks at Max Oyster Bar were kind enough to invite me – and guest!  to a lovely, multi course tasting of the cuisine of Head Chef, Hunter Morton, paired with the the expertly produced champagnes from one of the oldest establishments of the region: the Taittinger Group.  Hunter’s food pairing ranged from oysters and caviar to prosciutto wrapped veal loin.  The bright, creamy and well balanced acids of the selected champagnes cut through the rich proteins like a well balanced piano wire through a stick of butter (an elaborate metaphor perhaps but try a glass of champagne and rich, well executed dish and tell me if I’m wrong).  Visually appealing vegetables helped the champagnes with their balancing act, and regional brand representative Christian Dalbavie of Taittinger was on hand to introduce each varietal and walk guests through its distinctive tasting notes.  Below is a visual tour of our incredible meal.  Please enjoy.  We certainly did.

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@AbsoluteElyx Martinis @MaxDowntown + a Champagne Taittinger dinner @MaxsOysterBar

True confession.  I’m not much of a vodka girl.  I’m a whiskey girl.  Oh, and a champagne girl.  Definitely that.  So I cannot TELL you how excited I am for the Taittinger dinner tonight at Max Oyster:


Nicolas Delione will be present for this event on behalf to Taittinger – a centuries old house of bubbly which is the third oldest producer of champagne.  The vines extend across a broad swath of the Champagne district of France, which allows for a massive terroir replete with different subtle characteristics.  Paired with the cuisine of Head Chef, Hunter Morton?  I.  Can’t.  Wait.  Full write up to follow.  Oh, and seats are – or should be – still remaining for this, depending on when you call, so please join me if you’re so inclined!

Ah, but back to my more questionable companion, vodka.  I’m just not – into it.  Typically.  However, Elyx Vodka is a higher proof, luxurious label which almost has subtle moonshine characteristics.  It has more body and flavor, is what I’m saying.  I sampled the ‘perfect’ martini at a sampling event held at Max Downtown several weeks back.  The copper pineapples are a lovely touch, and I now want some for my own bar (naturally):

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So pretty!

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Stirred, not shaken.  But of course.

Below, please find – and enjoy! Head Max Mixologist Brian Mitchell (also Beverage Director) recipe for “Pickle Me This” – a playful, sour, and spicy vodka martini.  Which has, quite honestly, swayed me to order a drink with clear liquor more than once following the Elyx mixer.  😉

Pickle Me This

2.5 oz Elyx Vodka

1 oz Dill pickle brine

Cholula Hot Sauce

Build in cocktail shaker, quick shake for not he rocks, or shake well for up.  garnish with a lemon peel and bread and butter pickle slice.