Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).
Given the various elements of the picnic come in neat little plastic containers it does make you wonder if Waitrose will be rolling out this - or something similar - for the rest of us to buy from their branches but we could at least could drink English wine with it. (I suspect none of the UK wine producers has deep enough pockets to provide wine for the 10,000 guests that will attend the function.)
You can bet your bottom dollar that all supermarkets will have special offers on English sparkling wines in the run-up to the Jubilee or try these other suggestions if you want to do some more precise food and wine matching:
The picnic kicks off with some chilled British baby plum tomato soup with red peppers and cucumber finished with garden mint-infused oil. I’d be inclined to go for the Sauvignon Blanc-like Bacchus with this or other dry-ish English white which would also go with the spicy main courses: fragrant Lapsang Souchong tea-smoked salmon and Diamond Jubilee Chicken (Heston’s new spin on Coronation Chicken). If you were just matching the salmon and chicken I'd probably go for a crisp dry Riesling - maybe an Aussie one, keeping the Commonwealth in the loop - a Pinot Gris, a Viognier or a fruity rosé.
If you wanted a red I’d go for a Beaujolais (the 2009s would be ideal) or a New Zealand Pinot Noir which would pair particularly well with the veggie option - a mushroom parfait.
With the dessert - a Sandringham strawberry crumble crunch - a concoction of yoghurt, strawberries and cream with a meringue and oat topping - and with the cakes - I'd revert to bubbly, preferably one with a touch of sweetness or a gently sparkling Moscato d’Asti.
Finally there’s cheese and chutney which would probably kill off any of the preceeding wines and would be best matched with a proper English ale. (Not Cobra, please!)