Sake Flights of Fancy at CUT

Apr 17, 15 Sake Flights of Fancy at CUT

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

The more sake I taste, the more I realize what a great food wine it is. Most people start out drinking hot sake in their local Japanese restaurant but there is so much more to sake then gulping it down with sushi. Sommelier Vanessa Cinti of  45 Park Lane wants has always been fascinated by Japanese culture was introduced to sake by her love of the cuisine. She recently qualified as a Sake Sommelier, being certified by the world recognised organization, The Sake Sommelier Association and has now created a unique sake experience called Shini-Tai. Shini-Tai will be offered in Bar 45 and at American steak restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane. Both the bar and restaurant will be offering flights of sake comprising 3 sakes from small producers, chosen for their quality, flavour and array of style. We tasted the inaugural flight which consists of …’Amabuki Marigold brewed with yeast from the blossoms of marigold following a traditional Yamahai method, Kirin Vintage 2013, vintage sake with a rich sherry like taste and Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo a special sake aged in barrels of Domaine Ramonet (renowned Burgundy producer) will all be served at a chilled temperature…’ As Vanessa explained to us, sake is all about the purity of the water used, that’s what gives sake it’s distinctiveness. She also told us that like wine, there are many different varieties of rice used to make sake, as a matter of fact, there are about 80 different varieties in use today. During the tasting, we had both sweet and savoury food pairings. I was really surprised by how well the sake went with the pastries designed by CUT Pastry Chef, Niamh Larkin. The pastries were subtle and delicate, my favourite pairing being an orange madeleine with the sakes. CUT Executive Chef  David McIntyre has introduced new Asian influenced dishes on the menu this spring. Examples include Scallop ceviche, spring onions, shiso, wasabi-kosho ponzu, Tuna tartar cones, ginger, wasabi, sesame-miso tuille, and Steamed sea bass “Hong Kong” style, chili oil, garlic, ginger. We had...

read more

[PODCAST] Chatting with Beltran Domecq, President of the Sherry Council

Feb 27, 15 [PODCAST] Chatting with Beltran Domecq, President of the Sherry Council

Posted by in Podcast, Spain

Next in my podcast chats is Beltran Domecq, the president of the Sherry Council. If you have any comments about the podcast or podcasting, please feel free to leave a comment. You can subscribe and download the podcast here. I caught up with Beltran via Skype recently to chat about the ongoing 80th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Sherry Council and the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations for the designation of the Manzanilla DO (Denominacion Origen). Beltran also gave me some tips on how to best serve sherry and some great food and sherry matchings. The Feria de Jerez is coming up as well and there will be lots of sherry sampling and drinking going on as well as flamenco dancing and generally having a good time! For more information about sherry and the Sherry council as well as the Feria, visit their website here. You can download the podcast here or  listen to the podcast below: Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

Billecart-Salmon at Massimo’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

May 28, 12 Billecart-Salmon at Massimo’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

Walking into Massimo’s Restaurant is quite an impressive experience. I was not expecting the high ceilings, supported by striped white and black columns or the polished mahogany wood and leather banquettes, or the cool marble floors gleaming under the art deco inspired sleek chandeliers. In a way, it seemed like the restaurant should have been located in one of the grand train stations built in the US during the 1930’s, New York’s Grand Central Station or perhaps L.A.’s Union Station, both springing to mind. Massimo’s has a raw bar and it was there that I was directed to take part in a champagne and seafood matching event. Massimo prides itself on their signature dish, crudo, literally meaning “raw fish” in Italian, they are very passionate about using traditional Mediterranean methods and ingredients in all their dishes. And which champagne to pair with the crudo? One of the best, of course. That evening we were being treated to a selection of Billecart-Salmon’s champagnes. I’ve always enjoyed Billecart-Salmon’s champagnes and find that they are great food wines. They’ve been making champagne since 1818 and today the seventh generation are now running the house. We were seated at the serpentine marble topped bar and watched the raw bar chef quickly chuck the oysters in front of us, while we sipped on the Billecart-Salmon Blanc de blanc Grand Cru vintage. Paired with 3 native oysters, the Roch Loch Lyne, Colchester and Irish Rock, the champagne took on a different character with each oyster. The monsterously big Roch Loch Lyne was a big and meaty and the delicate Grand Cru was almost lost amongst the saline character of the oyster. The Colchester fared better, there being more of a balance and a crisp iodine note coming from the champagne. Lastly, the Irish Rock seemed to pair best with the champagne, a perfect balance of soil and sea, good minerality showing off from both and excellent balance. Neither seemed to outshine the other and complemented each other nicely: “Those are...

read more

Taittinger and Indian cuisine – can it handle the spice?

Apr 30, 12 Taittinger and Indian cuisine – can it handle the spice?

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

My regular readers know of my fondness for champagne, some might say obsession, but can I be blamed when champagne is such a versatile wine? Just when I think I have found the best food matches for champagne, along comes a new combination that makes me add another feather to champagne’s cap. I was invited to dinner at Moti Mahal to see what Taittinger could do when paired with Indian cuisine as well as meet Clovis Taittinger, the next in line at Taittinger. Clovis was in town last week to show off what his family champagne can do when paired with Indian cuisine.Clovis is known as a bit of a wild man and upon meeting him, I could see why – rushing down the stairs, slightly disheveled hair with impish smile and friendly air. He’s like a French, slimmer, darker version of our Mayor, Boris Johnson – and just as amusing. He had us all chuckling within 1 minute of opening his mouth,  something about the Kama Sutra and champagne, I think. Anyway, Clovis went on to tell us a bit about what he thinks makes Taittinger special – the quality and consistency of their wines is their calling card. Their wines are made with a high percentage of chardonnay which they believe gives them the finesse, elegance and delicacy that one expects from Taittinger. When queried about the best years, he replied he doesn’t remember the years, just the moments. A good way out of giving a straight answer he later admitted! While nibbling on an assortment of canapes we sipped the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc Brut 2000. Made from 100% grand cru chardonnay it’s a charming wine, Clovis defining it as a “dancing champagne” and if any champagne would do that, it would be the Comtes, great as an aperitif. Roasted beetroot and peanut salad with a lentil dumpling and yoghurt Chaat was served with the Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé NV. The sweetness of the beetroot was enhanced by...

read more

A Rose night in Soho…

Apr 23, 12 A Rose night in Soho…

Posted by in Food and Wine, France

There’s something about a glass of rosé from Provence that is so pleasing to the eye, a seductive quality in it’s shimmering hues that makes me just want to dive right in. I remember when I was first introduced to Provençal rosé, I was immediately smitten.  Professionally, we are trained to judge a wine by its colour but way before I got into the wine trade, I knew that there was something evocative and special about the rosés of Provence. Many British holiday-makers associate those pink tinged wines with long, lazy, hot summer days on the beaches of Southern France. Having grown up in California, I don’t, but they still have a siren call for me. Before you ask, no, I wasn’t hitting the rosé bottle before I sat down to write this post. I did, however, attend a dinner recently at Bistro du Vin Soho sponsored by Provence Wines, the generic body that promotes all wines Provençal. Wine has been made in Provence since 600 BC when the Greeks brought it over after colonizing the coast and founding Marseille. The Greeks were making wine long before the Romans had ever set foot in France, although, it was the Romans who spread the cultivation of vines to the Rhone and beyond. The first wines made by the Greeks were in fact a pale pink colour because at the time maceration was unknown and so the wines produced had little contact with the skins – just enough to give it a rosy shade. Wine making has progressed and we now have wines that come in various shades but the vignerons of Provence still carry on making their beautiful rosés. Provence is made up of 3 appellations, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. The region itself produces 88% of all rosé produced in France with Côtes de Provence producing primarily rosé wine. There are more then a dozen varieties allowed in the production of rosé but the majority use a combination of grenache,...

read more
%d bloggers like this: