When it comes to champagne, and it is Global Champagne Day on 19th October after all, we like to quote Lily Bollinger of the House of Bollinger Champagne.
She said: “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.”
We couldn’t have summed it up better ourselves Lily.
So, what’s your favourite champagne? Everyone has different taste in bubbly; in the SK kitchen for example we’re quite partial to Laurent Perrier Rose. First created in 1968 and described as having “ripe red fruit aromas, a high intensity and great freshness”, well we’re not sure about that; all we know is we like it very much.
Champagne is actually very good used in food and before you recoil in horror at the thought of using an expensive variety (do you know the world’s costliest bubbly is valued at $2 million dollars, partly because the logo on a bottle of Diamonds, a blend of Grand Cru Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is handcrafted from 18-carat gold and accented by a 19-carat white diamond?) there are now loads of decent brands you can buy at your local supermarket for around £10.
Fish and seafood, for example, are great in a champagne sauce, bubby can be used in a lemon and mascarpone tart and as in our recipe below try it in a risotto, where the champagne is used instead of wine (let’s be honest they both start life a grape anyway.).
Champagne risotto with mushrooms and parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ minced onion
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 8 cups liquid: 3 cups champagne, 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water
- 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- Pour 250ml hot water over the mushrooms and let soak for 1 hour. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and the butter and melt together over medium low heat. Add the minced onion and mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Cook over medium low heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the rice to the pan along with the onions and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is translucent.
- Add 1 cup of champagne which will deglaze the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and stir the rice constantly as the champagne cooks off and is absorbed by the rice. Add the 2nd cup of champagne and stir until it is almost all absorbed, follow the same instructions for the 3rd cup of champagne.
- Next add the chicken broth in the same way, stirring constantly and adding just one cup at a time.
- At the last minute, turn the rice to low and add the cheese.