Only at Christmas would champagne qualify as a staple - but it is a time to eat, drink and be merry
Native to Northern France, only 60 miles east of Paris, champagne is a sparkling wine from the region of the same name, which is home to 319 wine-making villages and more than 15,000 wine growers.
Traditionally, it is made of a blend of white and red grapes – pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. While still wine is the result of fermentation, champagne’s bubbles, like most sparkling wines, are the product of a second fermentation through the addition of yeast and sugar. Since 1936 it’s been awarded an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) thanks to its unique terroir, with its northerly latitude, cool climate and chalky soils.
Other sparkling wines are available round the world, from Spain’s cava and Italy’s prosecco to Germany’s Deutscher sekt. And you can find increasingly good sparkling wines from England, Brazil, Australia and South Africa. But a bottle of champagne is popped around the world every two seconds.