Chef Luis Bollo.
Photo: Stephanie Szerlip
Spend enough time in a professional kitchen and you pick up plenty of MacGyver-like skills and tricks that can come in handy in all sorts of situations — techniques you only learn when you’re on an undermanned, overworked line and every second counts. With that in mind, welcome to Chef Hacks, wherein each entry will be devoted to one such useful, unexpected technique that you can put to use immediately. Today: Chef Luis Bollo from Salinas proves that you can keep an open bottle of Champagne bubbly with nothing more than a spoon.
The hack itself is a well-known old wives’ tale: To preserve an open bottle of sparkling wine, just drop a spoon in the top and store it in the fridge. The surprising thing is that it actually works.
“In Spain, we are the biggest consumers of cava and Champagne in the world,” Bollo says. “My father and my grandfather, whatever cava was left over they just store it with the spoon from one day or the other. I don’t know what’s going on, but it works pretty well.”
So, what is going on? Here’s one explanation: The dangling handle of the spoon helps cool the air inside the bottle more quickly. Cooler air is denser, so that air “sits” on the surface of the wine and prevents the bubbles from escaping too quickly. The result: The bubbles will stay in the wine at least overnight. “It’s not like opening a fresh bottle of Champagne, but you’re going to have a better result with the spoon.”
1. Here’s the Champagne from a new bottle. Look at all those bubbles.