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Henri of Henri's Reserve
September 7, 2014 | Henri of Henri's Reserve

Which Fork? How to Arrange a Formal Dinner Place Setting

how to set a formal tableAh, mes amis, you have taken the plunge! A formal dinner party is a delightful experience, full of style and elegance. Many have never attempted a formal dinner; they worry they could never pull it off. Entre nous, it’s simpler than you think!

Once you have chosen your menu and invited your guests, it is time to set the table…

As you lay your pieces, it is important to mind the space. Position your tableware geometrically, so the distances between pieces are equal and pleasing to the eye.

1. Drape a freshly laundered and ironed table cloth over your table. I prefer a classic white.

2. Arrange your centerpieces, one for each round or square table and centerpieces evenly spaced along rectangular tables. The centerpieces shouldn’t be taller than your guests.

3. Place the dinner plate upon a charger in front of each chair, about two inches from the table. Place your soup bowl and napkin across center plate. I enjoy the elegance of a simple napkin fold. It adds personality to your table.

4. Lay your flatware next to each plate.

On the right, lay your three knives: first course, main course, and salad, blades inward. Then, lay your teaspoon and soup spoon.

On the left, your forks from the inside: first course, main course, and salad.

Lay my favorite spoon - the dessert spoon – at the top of the plate with the dessert fork.

5. To the left of your dinner plate, above the forks, lay the bread plate. Some forgo this piece, but I feel a buttery delight is an important part of the meal. Lay the butter knife across the plate.

7. To the right of your plate, above the spoons, set your glassware: water glass and wine glasses, arranged as a triangle and in the order that complements the meal, from nearest the hand to furthest. If the meal calls for a sherry glass (perhaps with an appetizer or soup), place it to the right of the wine glasses, close to the hand. And of course, the pièce de résistance… the Champagne flute, placed near the water goblet if Champagne is served throughout the meal, or in the order the courses require.

Now, your table is set, your guests have arrived... Bon appétit!

buy champagneWritten by Henri of Henri's Reserve

Henri’s Reserve is an e-boutique devoted to champagne lovers. We are a gateway to the seductive world of Family Estate bubblies; a place to sit back and indulge in the joie de champagne. Henri’s Reserve offers exceptional grower champagnes with true depth and subtlety—original tastes you won’t find anywhere else. Our collection consists of handcrafted, estate-bottled champagnes produced by houses that ship often less than 5,000 cases a year and produce vastly fewer of their cuvée spéciales. 

Quality and exclusivity is what you experience with Henri’s Reserve. Be the “I want to go to their house” host. Don’t serve the same-old-same-old. Help your friends discover the world of Family Estate Champagnes and be the joy delivering gift-giver. Henri’s Reserve opens the world of Champagnes to you with a Champagne Club - receive magnificent bottles of champagne every month with “Henri’s Club.”

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Photo Credit: Carmen Rodriguez NSP via Compfight cc

Time Posted: Sep 7, 2014 at 2:41 PM
Henri of Henri's Reserve
September 6, 2012 | Henri of Henri's Reserve

Boy Meets Girl


In August, on the plane on my way from NYC to the Côte d'Azure, and a well deserved vacation, I was seated next to a femme magnifique. My habit of either working or trying to catch up on sleep any time I´m on plane just had to be altered -- I also told myself to let go of any vain hope that dear Olivia would ever be more just a friend.

I struck up a conversation with the wonderful creature next to me, an absolutely charming American named Audrey. After a while we, of course, reached the topic of Champagne and, to my delight, she seemed interested in my latest obsession: the growing trend of organic and biodynamic winemaking in the Champagne region. We discussed everything from my admiration for the wonderfully crisp and clean Champagnes that Pierre and Sophie Larmandier produce to the pioneering spirit of the Fleury family. (Jean-Pierre Fleury started experimenting with sustainable wine making in the 1970's and the estate is now the largest biodynamic producer in all of Champagne.)

After hours of talking, I finally built up enough courage to ask Audrey to join me for a late (very!) summer picnic lunch on the beach this weekend at Eze-Sur-Mer, where I would be staying with friends. My heart was beating fast and my palms were sweating while I was waiting for her answer (Yes, this happens to French men too!) To my relief, Audrey said that she would be happy to accept my offer and would come up from nearby Nice, where she would be staying.

Well the weekend is almost here and I'm very excited to be putting together our rendezvous.

Here's My plan:

I will first take her on a tour of the cliffside, ancient village of Eze, with its fabulous views over the Mediterranian and St. Jean-Cap Ferrat. If we feel brave enough we will hike down the steep Chemin de Nietzsche or Nietzsche's path to the sea. (The philosopher vacationed here in the 1880's.) I'll have to remind Audrey to wear good walking shoes!

Down at the pebbled beach, we'll stop my friend's house and pick up a blanket and the picnic basket that I will have had prepared for Audrey. I thought that it would be lovely to enjoy some of the Champagnes we discussed on the plane, paired with a few local specialties.

We'll start with a glass of Larmandier Bernier's Terre de Vertus. It's a Blanc de Blancs and a non-dosage wine. This Champagne is perfect at the beginning of a meal. It's elegant with toasty citrus fruit flavors and underlying minerality. While delicate, it has enough richness so that we can enjoy it with Bigorre ham, a few goat cheeses from the area and some rustic bread.

Our second glass will be of Fleury's Carte Rouge. It's a Blanc de Noirs and is made only from Pinot Noir grapes. It is a wonderful food Champagne: it is powerful but still fresh with berryish and biscuitty qualities. I have decided to pair this Champagne with a Pan-bagnat (literally translated, "bathed bread"). A Pan-bagnat is a salad Nicoise sandwich that is very popular in Provence -- you'll love my recipe below!

I'll also need something sweet for my sweet Audrey. As a near-purist when it comes to Champagne, I hardly ever drink Champagne cocktails. I do though love the Rose Royal served at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris: they just place freshly crushed raspberries in a Champagne glass and pour Champagne over them. Simply delicious! I will, of course, have some fresh raspberries and strawberries for us to nibble on.

So dear readers, wish me luck!



1 wide baguette or round white French country bread
extra virgin oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 very small garlic clove minced
2 anchovy fillets minced
1/2 red onion finely sliced into rings
pitted olives Nicoise
1 english cucumber sliced thinly
crisp lettuce
2 hard-boiled eggs sliced
1 jar premium tuna packed in olive oil, drained


1. Cut the bread in size portions and then cut them in half lengthways and scoop out some of the bread filling.

2. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, spread out the minced garlic and anchovy and season with pepper.

3. Fill the hollowed out half with lettuce leaves, red onion slices, cucumbers, olives, capers and tuna.

4. Put the other half of bread on top and wrap snugly in foil.

5. Put a heavy object on top of the sandwiches such as a book or books to flatten it. Leave for an hour or two before serving.


Champagne Facts:

"Organic Farming" means that the grapes are grown without using herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified seeds.

"Biodynamic" method of farming is a holistic management approach that incorporates organic farming, but also treats the vineyard as it's own self-sustaining ecosystem. (The vineyard is managed as a living organism, not just rows of grapevines and there is a strong emphasis on the relationship between plants, soil, animals and the lunar cycle.)

"Blanc de Blancs" literally means "white of whites" and that the Champagne is made from only Chardonnay grapes.

"Blanc de Noirs" means "white from blacks" and that the Champagne is made from only black grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or a blend of the two).

"Zero Dosage" means that the winemaker skips adding the small amount of sweet wine that is usually added to the still wine just before bottling.



Time Posted: Sep 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM
Henri of Henri's Reserve

Host a Bastille Day Soirée

Alas, mes amis, while Paris will not be the same without our presence for this year's Bastille Day festivities, Olivia and Frederick insist we throw a Champagne soirėe to celebrate with close friends at THE best place - "the Garden of Eden", my home in Champagne.

Why the celebration? For the French, my dear friends, the July 14, 1789 storming of the Bastille (a fortress and prison in Paris) by an angry mob marked the beginning of the French revolution, the demise of the monarchy and the birth of modern France. In France, Bastille Day is referred to as La Fête Nationale or just plainly le quatorze juillet (July 14th). Festivities are held throughout France, and in my village we celebrate with dancing, music and parties in the street, and of course, the piece de resistance - a spectacular fireworks display.

"Paris again, Henri?" The slight hint of sarcasm in Olivia's voice insisted on a different type of celebration this year. So, mes amis, I can't think of a better way for all to celebrate than to indulge in my reserve of artisanal Champagnes paired with some simple and delicious foods. Create your own unique village celebration with the suggestions that follow - viva la difference!

How to Set the Mood
Decorate your party space in the colors of the drapeau tricolore (the French flag). Most of us have white tableware so just adding red and blue napkins will put a French twist on things. (You might even have some left over from celebrating 4th of July.) Add a lovely touch by adding bouquets of red, blue and white flowers around the room.

Use coupe glasses for the Champagne. Legend has it that the coupe glass was molded from Marie Antoinette's left breast….as Frederick, would say, "talk about a personalized gift!"

Of course, it wouldn't be Bastille Day without singing La Marseillaise (the French national anthem) a few times, how fun it would be to request that your guests bring their favorite French (or French-themed) music. I love Edith Piaf and Malcolm McLaren's Paris album.

Add real joie de vive - encourage your guests to dress up a la 1790! Or at least in their favorite French designer's latest creation!

What to Drink and Serve
I'm a big believer in keeping things simple. Hosting parties should be fun, not a source of anxiety! For example, if you're not set on exactly what kind of Champagne you're planning to serve, I would recommend ordering my Tasting Sampler. It's a great way to let your guests sample three different styles of Champagne. It also makes for great conversation -- who doesn't love to compare notes on which wine went particularly well with a certain dish?!

Bastille Day is not associated with any particular food. This gives you the flexibility to serve your favorite French dishes without feeling that you're breaking with tradition. In this instance, I'm going to take advantage of how wonderfully Champagne pairs with salty, savory and rich foods. However, I will not at all feel offended if you create your own menu.

Henri's Menu


French Baguettes

Aged Gouda, Parmesan, Brie, Chėvre

French Dry Salami known as 'Saucisson Sec'

Smoked Salmon with Crėme Fraîche and Chives on Toasted Brioche

Gruyère Gougères

Bacon and Gruyère Quiche & Salmon and Broccoli Quiche with Herb and Salmon Roe Sauce

Raspberries and Strawberries


Salmon and Broccoli Quiche with Herb and Salmon Roe Sauce

• 1-1/4 cups flour
• 10-1/2 tbsp butter
• 1 pinch salt
• 2 tbsp water

• 3/8 lb chopped broccoli, slightly parboiled
• 1/4lb smoked salmon
• 3/4 cup cream
• 1/2 milk
• 3/4 grated gruyėre
• 3 large eggs
• 2 tbsp chopped dill
• 2 tbsp chopped chives
• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• crême fraîche
• 1 tsp of French mayonnaise
• chopped dill
• chopped parsley
• chopped chives
• chopped red onion
• salmon roe
• black pepper



• Mix the ingredients for the pie crust and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 min.

• Pre-bake the crust 10 min. at 400 F.

• Combine the eggs, heavy cream, grated cheese, dill, chives and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until evenly blended.

• Fill the crust with the smoked salmon and parboiled broccoli. Pour over the egg mix.

• Bake for about 35 min. at 400 F, but keep checking it.

• Mix the ingredients for the sauce, cover it and put in the refrigerator.

• Remove the quiche from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Let the quiche rest for about 20 min. before serving. Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

Bacon and Gruyėre Quiche

• 1-1/4 cups flour
• 10-1/2 tbsp butter
• 1 pinch salt
• 2 tbsp water

• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 cup minced onion
• 3 large eggs
• 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 cup grated gruyère cheese
• 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


• Mix the ingredients for the pie crust and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 min.

• Pre-bake the crust 10 min. at 400 F.

• Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove and reserve.

• Combine the eggs, heavy cream, grated cheese, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until evenly blended. Stir the bacon and onion into the egg mixture. Spread the egg mixture evenly in the quiche crust.

• Bake for about 35 min. at 400 F, but keep checking it.

• Remove the quiche from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Let the quiche rest for about 20 min. before serving. Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.


Gruyėre Gougėres
These little golden puffs are heavenly with Champagne. Makes 40 1 1/2 inch Gougères.

• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. sugar
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2-3eggs
• 2/3 cup grated gruyère cheese
• 1 tsp. dry mustard powder
• Cayenne pepper, a couple dashes or to taste


• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

• Add the water to a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the water is hot (steaming, but not boiling), add the butter, salt and sugar. Stir occasionally until the butter is completely melted. Lower the heat and stir the butter mixture with a wooden spoon vigorously as you gradually add the flour. Keep stirring vigorously until the mixture comes to together and starts forming a tacky ball in the pan (When you press your hand on the ball of dough it sticks but easily releases without leaving much if any dough on your hand.)

• Turn the dough out into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat in the eggs, one at a time on medium speed. You want the dough to be smooth, firm and waxy. If your dough is not smooth after beating in two eggs, you may want to add an extra egg, or half an egg. It is important that the dough is firm enough to stand up in round balls when you spoon it onto a cookie sheet without spreading. It should be as firm as cookie dough, but it is much softer and lighter.

• After adding the eggs, use a wooden spoon to stir in the cheese, mustard and cayenne. Spoon small one inch balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The Gougėres are done when they are lightly browned on top and brown on the bottom. Immediately after taking them out of the oven, us a paring knife to make a small slit in the side of each puff. This will release some of the hot air inside and prevent the puffs from "sweating" and losing their crispness. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Time Posted: Jul 5, 2012 at 8:25 AM
Henri of Henri's Reserve
February 25, 2012 | Henri of Henri's Reserve

And the Oscar Goes to...Henri's Truffled Popcorn

is the favorite food pairing at any tasting I do - rivaling potato chips that is!  It is so simple mes amis...

2 Bags of Plain Microwave Popcorn
3 oz. D'Artagnan Black Truffle Butter
1/2 cup Shaved Pecorino Cheese
A Sprinkling of Sea Salt to Taste 

I will be serving it with Diebolt-Vallois Prestige Blanc de Blancs (in honor of Paris' fashion week - the house Champagne at the George V).

Time Posted: Feb 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM

"Let me be your personal chef de cave. Sit back, relax, and I'll choose for you."


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