I’ll concede that we can talk about Christmas now that December has arrived and it definitely feels like party-time. That doesn’t mean there’s any excuse for drinking Mulled wine - my all-time worst drink. Much more fun and festive (& less headache inducing) is a champagne or dry sparkling wine. Champagne Yapp is a lovely dry growers' wine made by our old friend Gilles Dumangin on the Montagne de Reims which will stand up well to delicate canapés such as smoked salmon blinis. We recently enjoyed the not too salty Chesil Smokery Smoked salmon which has a good texture and is thicker cut (& beautifully packaged – a great present).

A cheaper alternative (for bigger parties or tighter budgets) would be the peerless bottle-fermented, apple-scented Vouvray Mousseaux Brut from Domaine Aubert. We tend to go for dry sparkling wines and then offer the option of a Kir Royale (made with the excellent Gabriel Boudier Crême de Cassis) for some festive colour. At the humbler end of the canapé choice there are pigs-in-blankets (cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon) or home-made roasted nuts with rosemary, cayenne, salt & muscovada sugar. My vegetarian friend Charlotte also makes a dip of artichoke hearts, pecorino cheese, lemon juice & olive oil – spread thinly on water biscuits it’s light & delicious.

I’m sure the Yapp Brothers staff will be sharing their Christmas food & wine recommendations – I’ll look forward to stealing some ideas from them.

By: Pippa Goldfinger