Wineweek 130: Walburgis Night

This year it really sneaked up on me: Vappu and May Day. It is one of the biggest festivals in Finland along with Christmas and Midsummer, so it’s hard to believe that I could not feel it coming. When I still lived in Finland, the preparations started several weeks, even a month before. April is always a busy time at work and at school, but everybody still takes the time to party Vappu. The holiday has a bit of the same curse though as New Years Eve. Its such a big event, that people have pressure on where to go and how to celebrate. It should always be awesome – thus often it is not. I guess this really proves I am becoming Swedish, as here, it is just not that big of a deal. Continue reading “Wineweek 130: Walburgis Night”

How to Enjoy your Sparkling on May 1st

This Thursday I will skip cocktails as it is somewhat of a special day. April 30th is the eve of Vappu, a day when we Finns pop open the sparkling and wreck havoc on the streets. Traditionally May 1st is Labor day. It is a carnival for celebrating workers students and the arrival of spring; and April 30th is just when we start the festivities. We Finns (and Swedes alike) are so excited about the thought of an approaching summer, that we pack our picnic baskets with mini-sausages and sparkling wine, and head to the parks – even if it rains and is +5 degrees (C). So today, I decided to re-post some of my tips for drinking sparkling wine, so at least your champagne will taste awesome if the weather-man lets you down. These tips are from Richard Julin, the champagne guru of Sweden:

Nothing better on May 1st than some Peret Fuster Cava
Nothing better on May 1st than some Peret Fuster Cava
1. You should have a right glass when drinking champagne. Tulip shaped. I wonder if there are any picnic-safe plastic ones available. Otherwise, if you pack some real table ware, opt for the glasses (the mini-sausage will taste the same from a plastic plate).

2. Don’t drink the champagne too cold. If you have had it in the ice bucket, its too chilled. Take the champagne from the fridge, wait 5 minutes, then pour. Perhaps if you are on a picnic, you can use one of those wine-cooling sleeves to keep an optimal temperature (or if it is below 8C, the outside weather is enough to simulate a fridge-temperature). It’s better to pour a little bit at a time and refill to make sure the champagne does not get too warm in the glass.

3. When it comes to food, Champagne goes well with food that has salt, fat and acidity. Avoid bitterness, sweetness and spiciness in foods and if using vegetables pre-cook them instead of having them raw. For a picnic some nice charcuterie, creamy Pata Negra and salty ham will fit well with the acidity of champagne. Perhaps even those mini-sausages can be a good pairing, at least of you spice it up with some humor.

So wishing you a great Vappu and May 1st celebrations. May the weather be warm and your champagne cold (historically it has been the other way around), and most of all, may you have a wonderful company to share the holiday with