Wednesday 9 May 2012

Freixenet Cava review and recipe suggestions

As a mummy blogger with a family-friendly blog, I often get all manner of kiddie-themed food and drink products to review with the Madhouse Mini-testers. It was therefore absolutely lovely to receive a special package just for the grown ups to try out, containing two bottles of Freixenet. Madhouse Daddy Mike looked very impressed when he saw the bottles, then - realising it wasn't French - looked slightly dubious !

To make sure that he'd give it a fair go, despite his French food-snobbery, I scuttled off to do a bit of research on the Freixenet brand. It turns out that it is the UK’s most popular sparkling wine. It may not be French but it does have a impressive history and heritage. I discovered online (and reported back to Madhouse Daddy Mike) that : "Based in Catalonia in Spain, Freixenet is the world’s leading producer of sparkling wine. Founded in the 19th century, it remains a family owned business and has an impressive portfolio of award winning still and sparkling wines." It's Cava, which means that it is made using the same technique as champagne but with different grapes (and in a different country). The name comes from the underground cellars where it is made and stored. OK, history lesson over and on to the tasting.

Freixenet Cordon Negro, in the very classy black bottle, really looks the business but won't break the bank. A 75cl bottle will set you back a very reasonable £9.49 but you can also buy 20cl little black bottles for £2.99. Containing two servings and with a handy screw cap, these sound ideal for picnics (when the weather sorts itself out) or for cracking open with your best mate when getting ready to go out. I love the fine bubbles, the crisp fruity taste and the pale straw colour. We actually served this to some French friends who drank it quite happily, thinking it was French champagne or mousseux, until we told them otherwise. It's great for putting some sparkle into a special celebration or a romantic night in.

Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée is slightly more expensive, costing £14.99. Not being a professional wine taster, it's always hard to find ways of explaining the taste and smell of wines. We always smile when the annual Beaujolais Nouveau night comes round and the experts say it's a "strawberry" or "banana" year - it never tastes of either to us but maybe they have an ultra-refined palate ! Well, the Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée is described as having "a stylish bouquet which will remind you of roasted nuts, citrus fruit and honey". Well, I wouldn't have picked those out but it does have a very nice, fruity taste and smell. It has a lovely smooth taste which I suppose could be described as honeyed. The lovely pink colour seems extra special too.

The purists amongst you will love a crisp glass of unadulterated fizz but if you want something a bit more frivolous and adventurous, Freixenet have come up with these cheeky cocktail recipes. The Freixenet Spring Cocktails are created exclusively by Shaken and Stirred, Oxford, for Freixenet UK, using the Freixenet’s family of iconic Cavas.

Freixenet Rhubarb & Ginger Spring Bellini

A traditional favourite, with a spring twist. The tartness of the seasonal rhubarb is combined with warming ginger syrup, topped with the easy drinking Freixenet Cordon Oro. A little sunshine and warmth in an elegant flute – perfect for a bright spring day!
25 ml blended stewed rhubarb
10 ml ginger syrup (look out for Monin)
3 ml Grenadine (for colour)
Freixenet Cordon Oro

Stew rhubarb until soft, if you are using fresh or buy pre-stewed in tin.
Blend to puree
Shake ingredients (rhubarb, ginger syrup and Grenadine) over ice, then fine strain into glass
Top with Freixenet Cordon Oro

Lemon twist



Freixenet April Shower 
Inspired by soft spring rain, the Freixenet April Shower is refreshing and complex. Bursting with freshness, the distinctive bison grass vodka adds a subtle flavour reminiscent of grassy fields after the spring rain – just the thing to curl up with indoors as you watch the rain fall against the windowpanes.

 ½ kiwi fruit skinned and chopped
½ inch thick piece of cucumber chopped
35 ml Bison grass vodka (use citron vodka as an alternative)
5 ml sugar syrup
Squeeze of lime
Freixenet Cordon Negro

Chop and mix the kiwi and cucumber
Add vodka, lime and sugar syrup
Shake with crushed ice and pour
Top with extra crushed ice
Finally, top with Freixenet Cordon Negro

Slice of kiwi



Freixenet These Foolish Things 

New lambs in the fields, fluffy chicks scurrying, bunnies bouncing, pussy-willow and bright flowers bobbing in the breeze: everything is fresh and new, a charming scene of an idyllic spring. The Freixenet These Foolish Things cocktail is cute and delicious too. Combining ever popular strawberry with sweet maple syrup, the warmth of golden rum and extra zing from the lime juice, Freixenet Cordon Rosado is the fruity and floral flourish to this delicious spring treat.
2 fresh strawberries chopped/25ml strawberry puree
15 ml maple syrup
25 ml golden rum
2 squeezes fresh lime
Topped with Freixenet Cordon Rosado

Combine the strawberry and maple syrup
Add golden rum and lime
Shake over ice and strain
Top up with Freixenet Rosado

Strawberry fan



They have also come up with a food recipe, which not only uses Freixenet as an ingredient but is also perfect for eating accompanied with a glass of it.

Freixenet Poached Salmon Salad with New potatoes and Broad Beans
We love making this salad for an elegant alfresco lunch or dinner with friends. It can be prepared ahead of time and even better, as a bottle has to be opened for the recipe, it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass of fizz while you get ready!
Serves 6
  • 6 x skinless salmon fillets
  • butter for greasing
  • 250ml Freixenet Cordon Negro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • small bunch of dill
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 450g fresh podded broad beans
  • 100ml mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 500g cooked new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • small bag of pea shoots or watercress sprigs
  • lemon wedges to garnish
Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
Smear a little butter on the base of a large frying pan, and sit in the salmon. Slowly pour in the Freixenet and add the bay leaf, half of the dill and the shallots. Bring to a simmer, spoon some Freixenet over the salmon then cover with a lid. Poach for about 8-10 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.
Remove the salmon from the pan and boil the poaching liquid until it reduces in quantity by roughly one half. Leave both the salmon and poaching liquid to cool.
Cook the broad beans in boiling salted water for just a few minutes, then drain and rinse under the cold tap to cool. If you have the time it is well worth removing the greyish skin from the broad beans, revealing the bright green bean inside. 
To make a dressing, mix together the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard then add enough of the cooled poaching liquid to make a loose dressing, with the consistency of pouring cream. Chop the remaining dill, season with salt and pepper and mix.
The broad beans, potatoes and spring onions can now be mixed with the dressing. Add the pea shoots or watercress and then flake in the salmon. Gently mix together. Serve on a plate to share or on individual plates with lemon wedges on the side.
We’d recommend drinking Freixenet Cordon Negro with Freixenet Poached Salmon Salad with New Potatoes and Broad Beans, it’s clean on the palate and refreshes the flavours of the fish.


star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £9.49/£12.99

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  1. Sounds like a fun review. I'm definitely going to try the April Shower and the These Foolish Things recipes. Have added to my Pinterest account as a reminder.

  2. The April Shower and Rhubarb & Ginger Spring Bellini sound delicious! Thanks for posting these great recipes.

  3. Very interesting recipes and fun idea. Will have to try them over the summer.

  4. love cava - some great recipes- love the sound of the strawberry one!

  5. haven't tried cava but I just might now - thanks x


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