Mireille and her husband, Edward, a professor at the New York Institute of Technology, entertain year-round with Champagne. As she says, "We subscribe to the rule that there are no rules about what wines go best with what foods. Openness can lead to some unexpected, winning combinations--like Champagne with pizza or steak."
The Guilianos put their beliefs to the test with a New Year's Eve dinner party for eight at their Greenwich Village penthouse: hors d'oeuvres plus four courses paired with four different Veuve Clicquot Champagnes.
The wine is the key to making these matches work, of course. Veuve Clicquot, with its signature Halloween-orange labels, is a true Champagne--meaning a traditionally made sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France, about 90 miles northeast of Paris. The Champagne area has a history of strong women taking charge of family businesses, among them the veuve, or widow, Clicquot. The formidable Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin Clicquot inherited her Champagne house in 1805, at age 27, upon the sudden death of her husband. La Grande Dame guided the firm to glory through turbulent times, opening trade with Russia and preserving the family fortune.