From Bristol with Bubbles and Bumble Boxes

Bristol Cathedral
©Deborah Cater

Gloriously half-empty, my flight from Bristol to Málaga yesterday was both enlightening and surprisingly tasty. As a frequent traveller who nonetheless has to count the pennies/cents/groszy, I take the cheapest flight available to get me to my destination (when I'm not on the train that is). This proved to be Easyjet. In need of some nibbles I perused the Boutique and Bistro brochure for the Snack Pack staple that has seen me right on previous flights. It was not there. It has been replaced by the appallingly named, though prettily decorated Yumble Bumble Snack Pack and the Feel Good Snack Box (£4/€5). Not being a fan of dried fruits but a cheese-aholic I plumped for the Yumble Bumble which offered hummus, mini grissini sticks, spreadable cheese, crackers, Spudmuckers crisps, a yoghurt and apricot bar and a Lindt chocolate.


One of Easyjet's tasty snack boxes



Disappointment at the lack of hummus was replaced by a feeling akin to pleasure with its replacement the Mediterranean Style Vegetable Spread which is usually in the alternative snack box. You are warned that there may be changes to the contents so one cannot complain. Despite looking like a small jar of baby food the vegetable spread tasted as the label described with deliciously flavoured vegetables. The whole snack pack turned out to be a filling and tasty way to pass a good part of the flight.

Sadly I was not able to supplement snacks with sparkling wine due to the need to drive at the other end and opted for a 7Up instead. I did, however, and this is the enlightening part, discover that the Soviet Union produced its own champagne.

This information came via my history magazine which has a Historical Holidays feature. A traveller to Moscow in 1937 could expect to find "a sparkling wine of a quality that has terrified French experts who have sampled it"¹ so close to the French Champagne as it was. Sovetskoye Shampanskoye (Советское Шампанское), Soviet Champagne, was decreed to stay behind the Soviet borders by Stalin. This made me think, had I ever tasted it, is it still produced, was I missing a show-stopper of a drink? 

Old label for Soviet Champagne
 The answers are no, yes and yes! I am very disappointed with the first and third answers and will seek to rectify them as soon as possible. My research has found that it is produced in Russia (though according to this article Russian producers will cease using the generic name http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/529463/russia-to-stop-using-soviet-champagne-name), Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. With half an eye on making a trip through Russia and Ukraine in the not too distant future - by train - I shall search out this tipple to oil my train legs.
1952 advert for Soviet Champagne

It just goes to show how something as potentially mundane as a two and a half hour Easyjet flight can turn into something that stimulates the senses. 



If you have an urge to record your findings on airline meals this website is as good a place to do it as any.  http://www.airlinemeals.net/ 


¹ BBC History Magazine Vol 13, no.11, November 2012. Out and About, Ye Old Travel Guide. Moscow 1937 by William Ryan

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