Despite the grey sky and the rain, my friend Aimee and I were excited about our picnic at Somerset House tonight to celebrate Picnic Week with Mercure. Minutes after we arrived, we were handed a luxurious Tom’s Kitchen picnic hamper with a three course meal, a picnic blanket and a bottle of Prosecco. What a lovely way to feel welcome to a party!
We had time for a sip of our Prosecco before the start of our wine tasting session with Susie and Peter, Masters of Wine, who give advice on pairing wines and dishes on Saturday Kitchen (BBC 1).
We started with an exercise. Susie handed around some jelly beans, instructing us to block our nose with 2 fingers, put the jelly bean in our mouth, chew and take a deep breath. It clearly showed us the difference between taste and flavours.
Taste is just about using your taste buds, but you also have to use your nose to let in the aromas, the flavours in. Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold, you do not appreciate food or a drink so much? It is simply because you cannot smell them.
Things I learnt about sparkling wines:
- In the average bottle of sparkling wine, there are 49 million bubbles.
- You would have to be 50 meters under water to feel the same pressure as there is in a bottle of sparkling wine.
- The cork comes out at 100km an hour!
- Prosecco is really different from other sparkling wines. It is made fizzy in a tank really quickly, whereas Champagne and Cava are made fizzy (fermentation) in the bottle over a longer period of time.
Susie and Peter are big fans of Rosé and regularly recommend it on Saturday Kitchen. I loved the Alpha Zeta Rosato we tried. It is made in Italy and tastes like a lighter version of Valporicella. Rosé is versatile. It works well with curries, spicy food, tuna Nicoise. Rosé wine sales have increased by 250% in the past year alone in the UK.
We also tried a Spanish red and went to the courtyard, where live music was being well received by the audience.
There, we had our picnic: houmous, salad, scotch eggs, popcorn, passion fruit cheesecakes, sandwiches and drinks.
Giant Jenga, Tea Pot photo area, singing on stage, Smoothie Bikes… You name it, they were all there!
We were invited to this grand #PicnicWithMercure and were given a full picnic basket, bottle of Prosecco and a picnic blanket but we were not compensated in any other way. All photos and opinions are my own.