Friday, 13 May 2016

Perfect partners - taste testing Asda drinks & picnic food. #ToastTheSummer

I love my email inbox. Well actually not all the time. Not when it's overly friendly folk keen to improve my SEO for a small (large) fee or when I'm offered "great images" and a mention on a social media channel with 42 followers for publishing a fascinating infographic about the sock-wearing habits of Australian teens. Insert eye roll here.

Bloggers will know exactly what I'm talking about. Non-bloggers - imagine the spam bloggers get mainly because we publish contact details online. My favourite was the guy who wanted to pay for pictures of my feet. I was briefly tempted...

Anyway - on this particular day I was delighted to see an invitation from the lovely people at Freuds (a PR team who work with Asda) inviting me to #ToastTheSummer at a "perfect picnic pairings evening" complete with wine and food tasting in Carnaby Street in London.


Was I interested in attending? Do bears take toilet roll into the woods? Well no, but you know what I mean.

Mr Madmumof7 was allowed to come too and we decided to treat it as a belated anniversary outing (24 years clocked up the day before) and an early birthday trip for me (birthday this Saturday in case you want to post a card).

We entered a room with more wine bottles than a pub and an array of spittoons which had been utilised by the "serious" wine press earlier in the day. Now I'm not commenting on the seriousness of the assembled bloggers that evening but I saw very little spitting into spittoons if I'm honest.


The evening had been billed as a party and very soon there really was a party atmosphere around the table. Bloggers are good at creating a party atmosphere- you can pretty much count on us for that.

Asda's wine buying manager Ed Betts and the brand's wine buyer, Nathalie Estribeau (herself an award winning winemaker)  proved interesting and informative in a delightfully unstuffy way. Fab for someone like me who would serve Prosecco with everything and has never detected raspberries, frolicking rabbits or fresh mown grass in any wine I've every drunk. Sorry Jilly.

We were served some tasty picnic food including pork pie, black pudding sausage rolls and smoked salmon and given drinks which the Asda experts had decided paired well.


I reluctantly sipped Asda's Extra Special Pinot Noir with Sriracha (sweet chilli) Houmous and found to my amazement that finally I had tasted a red wine I liked. It complimented the food beautifully too.


My favourite was the gin and tonic served (in a cute mini milk bottle with a striped straw) with smoked salmon while my husband raved about the totally unexpected rapport between Roquefort cheese and sweet Calafia Muscatel wine.


Dotted around the studio there were some giant Champagne bottles - officially known as Jeroboams-each bottle contains the equivalent of four standard Champagne bottles.


Ed revealed that very soon you will be able to pick these show-stopping bottles in selected Asda stores. How cool would they be on the top table at a wedding or, for instance, at a blogger's birthday party? *whistles nonchalantly*

I can't reveal the price just yet (it hasn't been finalised) but will update here as soon as I know.

To be fair - I don't think you'd be able to post one of these monster bottles - when Ed (pictured below) popped the cork on one for us to try (hurrah!) it soon became obvious that it could even be a two person job to pour the Champagne into glasses!


The fizz was served alongside Asda's enormously fun SMASH cake - you have to smash through the chocolate dome to reach a selection of sweeties atop moist and tasty chocolate cake- and as finales go it was a good one!




I hadn't realised quite how comprehensive Asda's wine collection was, especially if you explore the online wine site which offers exclusive wines and offers.

And the best bit - you can buy wines for around £5, perfect for a picnic or a Friday night with friends, or impress your wine snob friends with exceptional wines, still at reasonable prices.

Top tip from the evening? If you are baffled about what wine to serve with particular foods choose a wine from the region the food comes from. So Provencal style food? Pick a wine from that area of France. Italian food - Italian wine.

My favourite wine from the evening was a deliciously light Portuguese Calafia Vino Verde which retails at a  mind-blowing £4.37. Yes you read that right - £4.37.

It's made with 70% Loureiro and 30% Trajadura grapes handpicked from 25 year old vines. I include that information in case it means anything to you. My recommendation is based on the fact it tastes really nice!

Asda also do a good Picpoul de Pinet which I mention because it seems to be rising in popularity (in our village anyway!)

This one is from 2015 harvested from 20 year old Piquepoul blanc grapes from around the village of Pinet in France. It costs just £5.37. Bargain!


All in all it was a very informative night and incredibly useful. Asda seem to really cater for wine lovers of all types with a broad range arranged in geographical regions.

The brand has already won IWC gold and silver medals for a selection of their wines and was named Decanter's "Supermarket of the Year" for "fierce commitment to value."

Just look for the medal stickers on bottles and you should be safe buying a good wine - then it's just down to your personal taste.

Now all we need is some consistent weather to plan a picnic!


Disclaimer: I was invited to a picnic party to taste wines and food for the purpose of this review. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love feedback- but keep it clean and kind.