The Best Picnic Hampers for the Summer UK

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Let’s get rid of the odd plates and plastic bags full of food when you eat outside now’s the time to invest in a beautiful wicker hamper as we are getting into the British Summer. If you want to get really traditional, then you’ll need a picnic basket. 

We’ve shaken out our picnic blankets (or not in some cases, as some picnic baskets include one) and made sandwiches, salads and cakes galore to test out this year’s top picnic baskets. 

Before buying yours, make sure there’s enough room for all your food – some have barely enough space for cheese and wine, let alone a feast.

And consider if you’ll need a two, four or even six-person basket. Do you want an insulated food bag to keep food cool?

And do you prefer the idea of proper plates and glasses or the more practical plastic equivalents?

Affordable and Von Shef 4 Person Navy Picnic Hamper with Free Delivery

Fill this great-value grey wicker hamper up with edible goodies, find a good picnic spot, and Bob’s your uncle. The handles fold down, then the two sides of the lid – which house the cutlery – flip up to reveal a roomy area where you can store your gastronomic delights, while the four cotton napkins, dinner plates, plastic wine glasses, salt and pepper shakers and bottle opener attached to the sides. There’s a soft, waterproof-backed picnic blanket thrown in, making this an ultra-comprehensive option.

Full Picnic Dining Set Included

Inside, you’ll find lots of space for all your picnic must-haves and, because the basket stays upright at all times, you won’t have to worry about drinks leaking or cakes squashing together.

Set includes:

  • 4 x cotton napkins
  • 4 x stainless steel knives with polypropylene handle
  • 4 x stainless steel forks with polypropylene handle
  • 4 x stainless steel spoons with polypropylene handle
  • 4 x 7″ ceramic dinner plates
  • 4 x plastic wine glasses
  • 2 x salt & pepper shakers
  • 1 x bottle opener

Also comes with a matching striped soft fleece picnic blanket with waterproof PEVA backing. Measures approx. 115 x 135cm.

Basket size: 46 x 31 x 27cm approx.

“I brought this basket as a gift, what a lovely purchase. Great quality”. Hai

“Really good quality product.” Carina

Source: The Independent

The Amazing The Alderley Picnic Hamper, Great for the Family

Bunches luxury hampers are sourced by a dedicated team and filled with gourmet foods, delicious treats, wines and chocolates. Presented in keepsake baskets and boxes, a luxury food hamper makes a great gift. A mouth-watering selection of gourmet foods ideal to share with all the family.

Caramelised Onion & Garlic Chutney, Classic Truffles and Chocolate Tray Bake are accompanied by a bottle of Sangiovese Rubicone wine – yum! 

This hamper contains 11 items:

  • Vina Oria Tempranillo 75cl (Spain) 13% Vol
  • Mighty Fine Milk Chocolate Honeycomb Dips 90g
  • Taste Half Chocolate Coated Oat Flips 150g
  • Yorkshire Crisps Chardonnay Wine Vinegar 50g
  • Mrs Bridges Caramelised Onion & Garlic Chutney 100g
  • Eternal Grocer Chilli Coated Peanuts 100g
  • Olives Et Al Lemon and Coriander Olives 100g
  • Jacquot Classic Truffles 200g
  • Buttermilk Rum Hot Chocolate Fudge 100g
  • Great British Biscotti Cheddar & Fennel 100g
  • Original Cake Company Chocolate Tray Bake

Presented in a domed wicker basket.

“Having been using Bunches for 10 years+ Excellent value for money Always great comments from whoever I send them too.”. Susan

“I always use bunches and have recommended them to friends who also use them now”. Anne

A Truly Luxurious Picnic Hamper to be enjoyed with Friends or Family: The Picnic Hamper

A delightful selection of gourmet savoury foods presented in a brown wicker picnic basket including plates and cutlery. Perfect for a sunny day out! It includes a selection of cheese, wine and Spanish Serrano ham, a truly luxurious picnic hamper to be enjoyed with friends or family.

Perfect for a sunny day out! It includes a selection of cheese, wine and Spanish Serrano ham.

This hamper contains 11 items:

  • Chardonnay Arpeggio Catarratto Italy 75cl 12.5% vol
  • Barber’s Farmhouse Mature Cheddar Truckle 200g
  • Ford Farm Double Gloucester with Chives & Spring Onion Truckle 200g
  • West Country Farmhouse Cheddar & Onion Crisps 150g
  • Espuna Tapas Essentials Sliced Serrano Ham 70g
  • Otter Vale Apricot Chutney 225g
  • Silver & Green Thyme Bay Olives 220g
  • Story White Grape & Elderflower Sparkling Fruit Presse 75cl
  • The Dormen Baked Nuts & Fruit 160g
  • Titbits Mature Cheddar & Finest Oats Gourmet Bites 100g
  • Grandma Wild’s Oaty Biscuits Cheese Red Pepper & Pumpkin Seeds 130g

Delivered in a brown wicker picnic basket.

“Always a good range of choice for any season for any occasion!! at sensible prices”. Micheal

“Bunches UK have never let me down when I send gifts/flowers to the UK. Easy web site and delivery is always on time”. Carol

What is Champagne?

What is Champagne?

Did you know “Champagne” is only true Champagne when it comes from the Champagne region of France. There is an actual place in France called Champagne! Champagne is a region located approximately 90 miles northeast of Paris, France. The soils, vineyard conditions and regulated method of production all affect the overall product. Outside of this region is just simply called sparkling wine, for example, Crémant, Cava and of course Prosecco.

The process of making Champagne in France is complex, time-consuming, highly regulated and dependent on factors that can only be achieved within this very region in order to create a very high-quality product.

The regulations for making Champagne are incredibly strict, time-consuming and complex. They must follow these steps.

There are three primary grapes used in Champagne production Chardonnay, Pinot Noirand Pinot Meunier. While there are a few other grapes permitted in the region, they account for a fraction of the total plantings.

The grapes go through a traditional harvest much like any other wine and undergo Primary (First) Fermentation: This usually results in a wine that is between 10.5-11% alcohol and very high acidity. At this point, the wine is a still wine (no bubbles yet).

Wines from different grape varieties, vineyards and vintages are all blended together. This is to create a consistent style year after year so that you, as a consumer, will know that the wine you love right now will likely maintain a consistent flavour year after year. Unlike many other styles of wine that can taste vastly different vintage after vintage, the goal of many Champagne producers is to create a consistent “house style,” reflected year after year.

Liqueur de Tirage: This is where a measured quantity of cane sugar and yeast cultures are added to the mix to stimulate the second alcoholic fermentation. This takes place in a long-necked, dark green bottle with a crown cap like a glass beer bottle.

Second Fermentation: This occurs slowly within the bottles. This process can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Then the bottles are laid sideways to rest, mature, and age on their lees. The ageing on the lees is what aids in the “toasty” “doughy” “bread” like characteristics. French law requires 15 months of ageing after the wine is bottled for non-vintage Champagne and at least 36 months for vintage-dated wine. This is time-consuming! After the allotted time lots of yeast cells have settled to the bottom. They now need to be removed.

Remuage or Riddling: This is the process that requires twisting of the bottles to move the sediment towards the bottle cap (to get rid of it). This can be done by hand or machine and can take up to a week (mechanically) or two months if done by hand. This point is to get all the sediment to the tip of the bottle (the bottles are now stacked upside down) in preparation for the next step.

Disgorging or Dégorgement: This is the process of removing that gob of yeast residue that has now settled in the neck of the bottle. The neck of the bottle basically goes through a process of flash freezing. The lees are now frozen solid and can be carefully removed. The bottle cap is then popped open, and the CO2 pushes the frozen lees right out of the bottle. Boom!

Addition of the Liqueur d’Expedition: The bottle is now topped up with a small measured portion of additional Champagne in order to replace the quantity that was lost during disgorging. This “dosage” also contains a level of sugar that will determine the desired style of sweetness.

Re-corking: The bottle is now corked with a proper Champagne cork and sealed with wire cage (for protection), and is almost ready for sale (after a few months of additional resting time).

The process is time-consuming, requires specialised equipment and is very expensive.

Champagne is a very expensive, meticulous and expensive process, to begin with. For those who make Champagne. It can be a labour of love, but one so very worth it when you taste the end product!

Styles of Champagne

Champagne comes in a variety of styles and levels of sweetness. It is important to understand this when you are shopping for a bottle, so you get what you want.

  • Blanc de Blanc: means “white from white,” white wine made from white (Chardonnay) grapes, and usually lighter in style than the following types.
  • Blanc de Noir: translates to “white from black,” meaning a white wine made from black grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier).
  • Rosé: most often made by blending red wine and white wine together prior to bottling.
  • Non-Vintage (NV): meaning that the wines are a blend of different vintages of wines. Champagne producers blend multiple vintages together in order to achieve a consistent “house style.” This creates consistency, so the consumer can expect a similar tasting product year after year.
  • Vintage Champagne: produced only in the most exceptional years, and 100% of the grapes used must come from the vintage stated on the bottle. Less than 10% of Champagne produced each year is vintage Champagne. You will see the year of harvest labelled on the bottle.

Sweetness Levels in Champagne

This refers back to that small dose of sugar (dosage) that is added to the wine prior to determining what style of wine (level of sweetness) it will be. Understanding these terms will come in handy if you are particular about a wine’s level of sweetness (like I am!)

  • Brut Naturelle/Non-Dosage: bone dry, usually no sugar is added
  • Extra Brut: very dry, less than 1%
  • Brut: very dry to fairly dry (this is also the most common style you’ll see)
  • Extra Sec or Extra Dry: dry to medium-dry (around 3% sugar)
  • Sec: medium dry, or some call it medium sweet
  • Demi-Sec: sweet
  • Doux: dessert.

Image: Tristan Gassert-unsplash