I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Aug 04, 12 I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Posted by in Food and Wine, Italy, wine bars

I know this great little place in Covent Garden, it’s called Dalla Terra. It’s easy to miss even though it is in the heart of Covent Garden, just off Long Acre as a matter of fact. Dodging my way past the throngs of shoppers and tourists, I turned off on to a sleek corridor of shops which ended in an open stone courtyard, surrounded on all sides by some very beautiful architecture. Dalla Terra’s glass fronted facade announces its presence in big white blocky letters. Stepping inside though, it’s very inviting, warmly lit with walls of wine lining both sides of the interior. One side of the room has individual tables  whilst the other side has a long communal table, ending with a table for two situated right next to the glass walled wine cellar. There’s also a long bar at the back of the bar if you just fancy a few bar snacks. It’s a wine bar that specializes in small Italian wine producers. They range from the big boys like Banfi and Gaja to small, natural wine producers. As many of you know, I am sceptical of natural wines but there are enough good ones to justify having them on a list and Dalla Terra has some winners. We were there for some wine and food matching. Dalla Terra has a full menu as well as cheese and charcuterie platters.  We tried  a fab dish of marinated hake before moving onto a “board” of meat as it’s termed at the restaurant. Dalla Terra sources as much of their food from Italy as possible and the charcuterie plate was a bonanza of salami! They offer a salami and cheese board paired with 5 different red and white wines and is available for only £20 – bargain and well worth it! The cheeses as well were all Italian. We picked a red wine to go with the cheeses, a Valpolicello, Kairos  from the producer, Zyme. A rich, textured wine, bursting with flavour, a succulent...

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Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Jul 29, 12 Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Posted by in Austria, Food and Wine

I went to a rather interesting dinner over the weekend. It’s called Global Feast and the premise is over 20 days, the event will feature a cuisine from 20 regions around the world. Global Feast is also featuring chefs and supper club owners each night, many of them flying in specifically for the event. Besides all that, the main feature is the table. The night I went, it wasn’t finished yet but when it’s done, it will be a world map, called a Worldscape. In a nutshell, it’s a “sculptural geographical landscape” based on NASA’s digital map of  the world. I wasn’t really sure how to make heads or tails of it, even after it had been explained to us but I do remember it having something to do with the holes in the tables representing the population densities of the world, hence in the Indian and Chinese parts of the world, there wasn’t much table top(! )and the sculptures standing on the table represented the height of mountains and other geographical landscapes. I’d like to go back and see it when it’s completely constructed. But anyway, back to the food. It was Northern Europe’s turn the evening I attended and Swedish Chef Linn Soderstrom was in residence along with London supperclub owner Claudia Stachelhaus. We started with some lovely canapes of garlicky cucumber gazpacho and crispy flatbread direct from Sweden with prawns in mayo and dill –  the prawns were served with an edible daisy, quite tasty. I like edible flowers. I could have also eaten the whole platter of that flatbread starter. A very tasty starter of herring with beetroot and brown butter mayonnaise, paired with the 2010 Rabl gruner veltliner was first at dinner.  I liked the gruner, dry with white pepper and mineral notes. I also detected a bit of hay in there. However, one of my dining companions had some of the Italian Folonari  pinot grigio rose left from earlier in the evening and I thought the red fruits...

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Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter this weekend

May 16, 12 Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter this weekend

Posted by in Italy

It’s that time of  year, the Decanter Italian Fine Wine Encounter. I always seem to miss it but this year for whatever serendipitous reason, I am in town and looking forward to attending the event. I had a look at some of the producers attending and some of the big boys will be there, including Castello di Banfi and Isole di Olena, there will be plenty on offer. I am looking forward to trying some of the smaller producers as well. There are going to be over 300 producers on show so there is bound to be a hidden gem amongst the fine wines. There are also going to be various masterclasses available, including Marchesi Antinori, Allegrini and Barolo 2005 – should be good and I’m sure they will have some cracking vintages on tasting. And, last but not least, there will be food and wine matching classes on offer. Tickets are still on sale, £40 per person for entry to the event at The Landmark Hotel in Central London. For more info on the masterclasses and food and wine matching events, visit  http://www.decanter.com/events or call 020 3148 4513. See you there! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

May 14, 12 Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

Posted by in Italy, wine bars

You don’t have to go far from the UK to find exciting wines and wine regions. It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are very lucky to have access to wines from all over the world. We have so many great wine shops here. I was reminded of this last week when some Texan wine blogging friends of mine were in town and we decided to do a bit of wine tasting. We visited only a few but they were quite  impressed by the range of wines and wine shops in London. One of the shops we visited was the Italian wine specialist Vini Italiani. I like that name, if you say it out loud, it sounds like you’re referring to your friend Vinny. As in “Yo, Vinny! What’s  up?” Anyway. Italy is one of my favourite wine countries because I’m always discovering a new wine or variety or sometimes, both!  Everyone knows Barolo and Chianti, perhaps Nero d’Avola  and, of course, the ubiquitous pinot grigio but there are so many other varieties and wines waiting to be discovered. I had never been to Vini Italiani but had heard about it via Twitter and Facebook and it looked like they might have an interesting selection. What attracted me more then anything were the enomatic machines. I think they are a great attraction in any wine shop and certainly make the prospect of wine shopping a lot more fun. For those of you who are not familiar with the machines or haven’t had the opportunity to use them, they are basically wine dispensing machines which use a chip and pin type card to purchase the wine. You put on a set amount of money on the card and then slip it into the machine and make your choice. The machines dispense the wines in 3 different sizes, at Vini Italiani it was 25ml, 50 mls and 75 mls, all at various price points depending on the price of the bottle, which gets deducted from the...

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Europe’s iconic wine families, Primum Familiae Vini comes to London

Feb 15, 12 Europe’s iconic wine families, Primum Familiae Vini comes to London

Posted by in Food and Wine

2012 sure is shaping up to be the year to be in London. So, we’ve got the Olympics, the Para-Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee etc.  But what made it even more special, for me, was this was the year that the Primum Familiae Vini came to town. The PFV picks an international capital city once a year to play host to them. Now this may not sound like a big deal but the PFV also bring their wines with them. And now it gets interesting. What is the PFV you may be asking? They are a group of the leading wine families in the world. By world, I mean Europe and by leading, I mean, the creme de la creme. Marchese Antinori, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Joseph Drouhin, Egon Muller Scharzhof, Hugel & Fils, Champagne Pol Roger, Perrin & Fils, the Symington Family Estates, Tenuta San Guido, Miguel Torres and Vega Sicilia. Their charter states that they can have a maximum of  12 members but currently there are only 11 members of the group. PFV was established in 1992 and is by invitation only. While PVF might seem to be a bunch of old houses clubbing together, the real goal of the group is “a passion for the pursuit of excellence”. Started by Robert Drouhin and Miguel Torres when they were chatting and walking around a vineyard, they realized they had many of the same goals both in traditional winemaking values and business concerns.  It has since grown into a collective where they can share their knowledge and expertise as well as help each other out in the marketplace. While they are here to show their wines to the press and public, they also hold several tastings as well as a gala dinner and auction to raise funds for various local charities. Another major goal of the partnership is to pass on their knowledge to the next generation and many had brought along their progeny to lunch. Etienne Hugel joked that they were hoping for a...

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