That old song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons always pops into my head whenever I hear the word sherry. Most people unfortunately, usually associate sherry with grandmothers, rocking away the afternoon with a knit shawl on their lap and a small glass of sherry close by.
Tio Pepe is trying to shed that image of fustiness and have come up with the Sherry and Tapas trail. A trip round some of the best tapas bars London has to offer. Between 12th – 18th July 2010 you can enjoy a free glass of Tio Pepe when you order a tapa (worth £4.50 or more) at any of the 9 restaurants on the tapas trail route. Participating restaurants are: Barrafina, Pinchitos, Fino and Barrica on the Central leg of the trail and on the Northern leg: Camino, Bar Pepito, Moro and Pinchitos (Old St.).
I joined Eatlikeagirl for part of the Central leg. We visited Fino on Charlotte St. and Pinchitos on Bayley St. Our drink of choice was the Tio Pepe en rama Fino dry sherry. A special edition, unfiltered, dry sherry. If you think sherry is sticky and sweet, drink again! The en rama was dry and crisp, minerally and full bodied with a slight salty, nutty tang to it. The sherry has been taken from the middle of the cask where all the flor (the yeast that grows on the surface of the wine and gives it it’s distinct yeasty overtones) congregates.
We tried it with a variety of tapas at Fino, starting off with the most tomatoey pan con tomate I’ve ever had, an explosion of tomato flavours thinly covering the bread, working our way through the morcilla with quail egg, braised pig cheeks and chorizo and potato chips, which were little chorizo sausages wrapped in thin slices of potato. Only the finest ingredients and mouthwateringly good. We had to stop ourselves ordering more as we were heading out to Pinchitos next.
Pinchitos is more a bar then restaurant and the one on Bayley Street was very lively as we walked up with people spilling out into the street or sitting at one of the outdoor tables in front of the venue. Funky and cool would be how I describe Pinchitos. Their tapas are more of the variety you’d find in any tapas bar in Spain, very authentic. We had the traditional manchego cheese and chorizo along with croquetas and calamare.
What was most impressive was the knowledge of the staff regarding sherry. Guillaume, was a fount of sherry knowledge and was a delight to speak with. If you want to know about the sherrys on Pinchito’s list or the history of Pinchito, Guillaume’s your man. Pinchitos does sherry cocktails as well, we had one made with cava, the Sevilla Fizz and it was delish. By this time we’d probably drank all of Pinchitos Tio Pepe en rama so we headed off into the night but the evening definitely made me an even bigger fan of sherry. If you’re looking for a cool summer drink, sherry fino is it!
The Tio Pepe Sherry trail is running from the 12-18th of July.