The emergence in this week’s news that an Easyjet flight had to make an emergency landing due to a stray Champagne cork, had me thinking how many people aren’t sure how to open Champagne (or any fizz) properly.
Of course, there is the sentiment amongst many that it’s not a celebration without an explosive bang, and the traditional Champanoise technique of ‘Le saberage’ (opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword- yes really!) does nothing to dissuade people from this showy technique.
The proper way of opening a bottle though is as quietly, and unobtrusively as possible, in order to preserve the precious nectar in the bottle.
What you want is a quiet ‘psshht’ sound. Rather crudely referred to by those in the know as sounding ‘like a duchess’ fart’.
How do you achieve this enviable quiet hiss?
Carefully remove the foil, and undo the cage holding the cork in place. ALWAYS covering the cork in case it feels the need to escape prematurely.
Hold the bottle at an angle (aimed away from any glass, or body parts you don’t wish to maim), with one hand at the base of the bottle and one holding the cork in place.
Now for the magic:
Twist the bottle and not the cork!
Once you feel the cork pressing against your hand, keep twisting the bottle and pushing down against the cork. Eventually the cork will release with the desired ‘psshht’.
Admittedly, it’s a bit less wow than the desirable ‘pop!’, but it’s actually a rather admirable skill to possess. Try it yourself – it’s pretty tricky and takes a bit of perfecting.
Personally, I’m more in awe of those who exert the level of control necessary to not end up with an accidental Champagne fountain.
(But not quite as in awe as those who use a sword!)