January 1, 2013 Feliç Any Nou / Happy New Year / Bonne Année
Cava is Catalan champagne. Of course, since the Champagne Wars ended and France won, I am legally obliged to say that cava is not champagne, but is a Catalan sparkling wine.
The most famous brand of cava is Freixenet [fray-sheh-net] though any Catalan person you ask will tell you that it’s the worst one. This is true. Freixenet is exactly like Budweiser: they have a huge marketing budget, 100% market saturation and no one really likes it. Much like Bud’s Super Bowl commercials, the annual Freixenet ad is covered in the press and is a genuine TV Event. The year that Martin Scorsese came off his Oscar win for The Departed, he directed their holiday ad. It was an Incredibly Huge Deal in Catalunya.
We always had Freixenet for holiday meals at my house growing up, presumably because it was the only Spanish champagne that my mother could find. I have kept the tradition up and feel particularly subversive buying a Catalan brand in France, but I gotta represent when it counts, not just when it’s fashionable.