With National Picnic Week in full-swing Comité Champagne has created top tips on how to elevate one of our favourite British pastimes by pairing Champagne with your picnic!
Champagne and picnic pairings
Beef pastrami with caramelised onions sandwich - Blanc de Noirs Champagne
For meat lovers, we would recommend choosing a Blanc de Noirs Champagne. This is a white champagne made from 100% black grapes – Pinot Noir or Meunier. With more structure, this style complements bold flavours.
Egg mayonnaise and cress sandwich - Blanc de blancs Champagne
We would recommend pairing a blanc de blancs Champagne with more creamy or rich dishes, in particular with an Egg mayonnaise and cress sandwich, as well as buttery pastries. Made from 100% chardonnay, a blanc de blancs Champagne is known for its citrus fruit flavours and aromas. This will help to balance flavours and cut through any potential heaviness and make everything taste much lighter.
Cucumber sandwich with minted cream cheese - Zero Dosage Champagne
A zero dosage Champagne, also known as ‘Extra Brut’ is great to pair with a Cucumber sandwich. The delicate flavours pair very well with the no-frills, low-to-no sugar style, which will let the vegetables’ natural sweetness shine through.
Smoked salmon on buttered brown bread or soft prawn rolls – Rosé Champagne
For the seafood aficionado, a pink hued Rosé Champagne is the perfect pairing. An exceptionally versatile style that matches oily fish and shellfish harmoniously.
Cheese, Nuts, And Fruit – Rosé Champagne
In addition to being the most Instagrammable of them all, Rosé Champagne is a wonderful pairing option with soft goats and ewes’ cheeses. For a fruity wine that screams “summer!”, choose a Rosé Champagne with red fruit flavours of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the nose, you might also be treated to heady hazelnut aromas. For those of you who are fond of cheese, try Rosé with focaccia or bruschetta layered with goats’ cheese and topped with delicious figs.
Vegan Feast – Vegan Brut Non-Vintage Champagne
The Champagne region offers a wide range of vegan Champagne. There are a large number of producers whose production process is strictly vegan, across a vast range of styles. A Brut Non-Vintage, also known as a ‘Classic Blend’ Champagne, will be the flagship style of the brand you choose, its effervescent, elegant, and undoubtedly a worthy match for whichever dish you choose.
Sweet Treats – Demi-Sec Champagne
Choose a Demi-Sec Champagne to pair with your desserts, which will match with sweet pastries, chocolate and cakes. A lesser- known style currently growing in popularity, Demi-sec Champagne has a slightly sweeter dosage than Brut, that matches well with creamy, sweet, or rich dishes.
Which Champagne to buy
Know your styles - Champagne comes in 3 styles: Non-Vintage (a blend of several harvests); Vintage (a blend of a single harvest – harvest year written on the label); Prestige Cuvées (top of the line Champagne; and rare always comes at a cost)
How to open and serve Champagne like a pro
To open a bottle of Champagne, take the foil off, untwist the wire cage, keep your thumb firmly on the cork, and twist the bottle (not the cork) anti-clockwise. For the ideal glassware, opt for tulip-shaped glasses rather than narrow flutes, this will allow the wine to breathe and the aromas to develop.
How to chill when outdoors all day
The best temperature to serve Champagne is 8-10ºC, which is around the same temperature as the cellar where the Champagne producer would have first stored it. For convenience, for your picnic, the best and quickest way to chill your Champagne is to get a bucket and fill it with water, ice, and a healthy dash of table salt. This works faster than if you just use ice, and should take around 30 mins to chill to the optimum temperature.