Laurent Perrier Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

Mar 31, 14 Laurent Perrier Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

Posted by in Champagne, Hotels and Spas

Now that Spring has sprung, that means that the RHS Chelsea Flower show is just around the corner. The show was first held in 1913 on the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital and except for gaps during both World Wars, it has been held there ever since. It used to be the biggest flower show until it was overtaken by the Hampton Court show. It is still, however the most prestigious with members of the Royal Family attending Opening Day every year. Laurent Perrier is taking part for the 16th year in the Chelsea Flower Show. I was invited to preview the Laurent Perrier Garden at the flower show as well as the launch of The Dorchesters Afternoon Tea series with Laurent Perrier in The Dorchester’s Penthouse and Pavilion. The Penthouse has fabulous views of the city with the London Eye and other London landmarks clearly visible for miles on a clear day. The Dorchester will be running a Rooftop Afternoon Tea Series with guest speakers during Chelsea Flower Show week from 19 – 25 May 2014. Please for further details on speakers. The tea will be served at 2:00pm and 4:30pm. The tea will include a glass of Grand Siècle champagne and an exclusive gift on departure representing a flower from the Chelsea Flower Show garden. Priced at £75 per person. The 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 20-24 May. The Penthouse and Pavilion are sumptuously decorated and the finger sandwiches and pastries, developed by The Dorchester’s pastry team were delightful. I have to say though, the scones were my favourite. I love clotted cream and strawberry jam. The big debate around the table being, of course, which goes first, the cream or the jam? I’m firmly in the clotted cream first camp but there was plenty of disagreement! All in all a wonderful Afternoon Tea with amazing views and that wonderful Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle to go along with it. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Moti Mahal Dinner Series featuring the Grand Trunk Road

Mar 28, 14 Moti Mahal Dinner Series featuring the Grand Trunk Road

Posted by in Food and Wine, London, restaurants

I attended a dinner recently at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden featuring the culinary and cultural heritage of the Grand Trunk Road. For those of you unfamiliar with the GTR (as it’s commonly called) is an ancient trade and military route that linked the East and West of India for centuries. The road was crucial in the process of migration to Britain and has close links to Britain today. The GTR is dear to the heart of Moti Mahal chef, Anirudh Arora whose cuisine starts its journey in West Bengal continues through to Benares on the banks of the Ganges to Delhi, up to Amristar, through the hunting country of the Punjab, across the rugged mountains of Peshwar’s Khyber Pass and into the heart of Kabul. I have dined at Moti Mahal a few times and each time the food has been excellent. The dahl has to be the best I’ve had in along time and the kulfi ice cream is not too sweet or too heavy. The evening I attended was the first in the series and featured a talk and the photographs of Tim Smith. Tim (former writer for The Observer) works on long term photographic project and his main interest is Indian and Asian culture. Throughout the dinner, we were treated to a beautiful slide show of Tim’s photos with a running commentary on the who, what and where of each photo. Moti Mahal is featuring a series of dinners over the next few months, including a Beer and BBQ evening, in collaboration with a number of London’s upcoming microbreweries, a talk from an acclaimed filmmaker and an Asian wine pairing with New Zealand wine-maker, Matt Thompson. For more information, visit the Moti Mahal website. *All photos courtesy of Moti Mahal   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Kosher wine making a splash in London

Mar 14, 14 Kosher wine making a splash in London

Posted by in All

If someone had offered me kosher wine not too long ago I would have politely passed. To me, kosher wine meant sickly sweet and more akin to grape juice then wine. However, after the recent Kosher Food and Wine Experience I attended here in Central London, I have a definitely changed my tune. Kosher wine is technically ‘grape wine produced according to Judaism’s religious law, specifically, Jewish dietary laws (kashrut).’ I think for many years quality was not thought to be a necessary component of the finished product but that is quickly changing in the kosher wine scene. Many of the winemakers are from the New World or the wineries have connections with traditional wineries in wine regions around the world. That influence can be found in the increasing quality of the wine. Just because it’s a kosher wine, doesn’t mean that quality has to be sacrificed. In order to be kosher, the winemaker has to be a sabbath observing Jew and the production has to be overseen under strict rabbinical supervision. There were wineries from all over the world at the tasting. I thought that all kosher wine came from Israel but silly me, there are Jewish people all over the world so it stands to reason that there would be kosher wine from many different wine growing regions. Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, the US, New Zealand and even Poland were all represented at the tasting. I was very surprised at the quality of the wines.  As Joseph Herzog of California winery, Herzog Wine Cellars said, just because it’s kosher doesn’t mean it’s not a quality wine. As well as Herzog some of the other standouts included; Israeli wineries, Flam, Montefiore, Tulip and Lueria, Italian producer Bartenura and Argentine producer Flecha de los Andes. Definitely an eye opening tasting and if I need to pick up a kosher wine for Jewish friends in the future, I know that I can feel confident giving them a kosher wine they’ll enjoy.   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair

Jul 03, 13 Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair

Posted by in Champagne

Masterpiece Art Fair was this past week and I was invited to a unique art and champagne matching tour of the event by the champagne house Ruinart. Masterpiece Art Fair is an annual event that takes place on the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Every year they erect a temporary art gallery where you can find everything from Greek Sculptures to Maserati cars on display, all for sale. It’s nice to see how the other half lives now and then. Ruinart is one of the sponsors and holds masterclasses on their champagnes throughout the show. This year they decided to do something a big different and invited a group of journalists and writers to a blind tasting with a twist. We were to go on a tour of the show and stop and selected pieces of art where we would be given a short lecture and then a Ruinart champagne that was selected to accompany it. It was a bit like the whole matching wine with music exercise. As a matter of fact, we did have some music as well thrown into the tour! We visited 6 artworks and at each were given a black tasting glass with the Ruinart to match. It was fun to try and match the champagne with the mood of the art while we were viewing it. As it was blind, it was hard to pick out which vintage or even blend we were tasting but it was fun to put down our observations, drinking in the art and the champagne at the same time. What came as a surprise was that after the tour, we went back and sat down to find out what champagnes we had been drinking. Turns out, they had all been the Ruinart blanc de blanc in various bottle sizes! I had guessed the first one was a blanc de blanc but after that my guesses were all over the place. Afterwards, we had a chat with Gerard Basset OBE, who had organised...

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Friday night flight – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000, 2002 & introducing the 2004

Nov 18, 12 Friday night flight – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000, 2002 & introducing the 2004

Posted by in Champagne

There are plenty of things to do on a Friday night in Soho but I couldn’t think of a better way to spend last Friday then in the company of Vitalie Taittinger going through a flight of vintages of her family’s prestige Comtes de Champagne at the Groucho Club. Taittinger is one of the few big houses that is still owned (again) by the family so I find it fascinating when you get to meet someone like Vitalie or her brother Clovis (he was in town a few months ago) who share a name with a great champagne house that has been around for hundreds of years. Ok, I admit it, I am a bit of a champagne groupie 😉 Vitalie was in town to showcase their latest vintage of the Comtes, the 2004 but they also had on hand plenty of Comtes de Champagne 2000 and the 2002 for comparison purposes. The Comtes is a prestige blanc de blanc (100% chardonnay) made from the finest crus of the Cotes de Blancs. 5% of the blend is aged in oak which gives the wine nuance and complexity. So what did I think of the 2004? I liked it, showing a lot of fruit character, it was tasting young and is still developing in the bottle. It’s certainly got a lot of finesse on the palate and I think this champagne is just starting out. Of the 3 we tasted, the 2002 was my favourite. Finely balanced on the palate with brioche and ripe fruit notes on the nose, it was a pleasure to drink and the first one gone. We had to settle for more of the 2000 in the end. The 2000 has certainly matured into a rich champagne, very toasty on the nose and palate, it has evolved into showing dried fruits and has an earthy,savoury character to it. The Comtes de Champagne 2004 has just been released here in the UK. I was recently introduced to a new wine website, CellarvieWines. They have...

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