I’ve been to most of the Foodies Festival shows in Edinburgh over the last few years and really enjoyed them so I was looking forward to Foodies Christmas at the Assembly Rooms last Friday.
For me the highlight was the Codorníu Sparkling Wine Masterclass. Our host was Jo Sorenson, the Brand Manager.
She was highly entertaining and guided us through a most amusing and educational hour, during which I learned some new tips on how to pop a cork with panache…
We tried four Codorníu cavas
- Vintage Brut 2007/2008
- Anna de Codorníu Brut
- Seleccion Raventos Brut
- Reina Maria Cristina Reserva Vintage Brut
I particularly enjoyed 1, 2 and 4. Each would suit a different mood. Vintage Brut is sharp and crispy with more than a hint of Granny Smith’s apples, Anna is smooth, fruity and dangerously drinkable. Maria Cristina was my favorite on Friday, with more body, mangoes and honeyed notes for a bubliciously sweet finish.
And these bottles are a bargain too. Apparently the Vintage Brut is in Tescos at the moment at half price so just £5.99 and Maria Cristina is in Majestic at £9.99 a discount of £7 on RRP. So a sparkling Christmas in store but at these prices, I won’t wait until then!
We also learned the production method for Codorníu is the same as that for champagne. Cava is far cheaper for a number of reasons, of which I can only recall a few: grapes are more often owned by cava producers whereas champagne producers usually buy in their grapes which is more expensive; ageing is shorter in Spain where the sun does more of the work while the grapes are on the vine; this shorter ageing process – 9 months as opposed to 15 months for champagne means lower cellar costs; lower marketing costs for cava. I could go on!
What I’m trying to say is that although cava is typically cheaper than champagne, it’s not necessarily inferior to champagne. Champagne, of course, can only be produced in Champagne, France. Sparkling wine produced anywhere else in the world is just that. And some of it is very, very good. Good news for the Monday night ‘I made it home through the snow’ party or the Wednesday night ‘I love Alan Sugar’ party. Yes every night’s a party night with sparkly.
How to pop your cork
Jo’s top tips on popping your cork were great. I’ve already road-tested them for your benefit of course. My absolute favourite tip means that you need never erupt prematurely. And unless you are celebrating an F1 win, it’s such a waste. I’d much rather drink it than wear it.
1. Unfasten the cage. Trivia tip: it’s always 6 turns.
2. Top tip: hold the bottle at 45 degrees, this pushes the air into a pocket beyond the shoulder of the bottle and prevents any early shooting.
3. Hold the cork and turn the bottle a few times until you hear that satisfying pop!
Or if that’s too tame for you and you like to shoot your bubbly before you drink it, sabering is for you. Big knife + bottle could be a dangerous combination. Don’t try this at home!
While at the show I bumped into Alison Grieve who I haven’t seen for ages. Alison used to run lovely dinners and social events at Sine Events. She now has a new business and fantastic product called Safetray. Safetray is a super product which helps keep things on trays. It’s been a hit with hotels and restaurants where breakages can be so costly.
I also chatted with lots of amazing food and drinks producers. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and I look forward to seeing what they have in store for next August’s Foodies Festival in Holyrood Park.
Foodies is back to Edinburgh 12-14 August 2011 at Holyrood Park
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