Friday, 7 November 2008

Fireworks and Fizz

The ritual of fireworks is inextricably linked with Guy Fawkes' Night, but their origin is 6th-century China where, it is said, a cook had accidentally mixed and lit three common kitchen ingredients (potassium nitrate or saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal) within a bamboo shoot. (They don’t like common kitchen ingredients to me!) The first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of King Henry VII in 1486. They became very popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and have been a tradition of Guy Fawkes' Night since 1677.

Interestingly the most dangerous fireworks-related tragedy in the world occurred in France on May 16th in 1770, during the marriage of King Louis XVI to Marie Antoinette. After the celebratory fireworks show, there was a stampede where approximately 800 people where killed.

Fireworks were not the only fizz that the royal couple enjoyed – the Champagne saucer is said to have been modelled on Marie Antoinette's breast and it's rumoured that both the King and Queen drank a glass of Champagne with their final meal before facing the guillotine. Champagne is actually best drunk out of a flute glass as it tends to go flat in the saucer. Why not try Phillipe Seconde’s Champagne Vintage Brut Millesimes - it is produced just down the road from Moët and Chandon and is half the price! It's a fantastic Champagne full of fruity bubbles – a golden glassful of nectar.

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