Riccardo prosecco on a hot Sunday afternoon

Sometimes style does count over substance. I went to a new supper club not long ago and while the food was serviceable, it was really the setting and  atmosphere that bowled me over. It was the Old Hat Supper Club, a new one recently set up in Islington and I was there as a guest of Riccardo prosecco. Riccardo had invited me and a few of my foodie friends to sample their wares in a supper club setting. Riccardo prosecco is launching here in the UK and they thought it would be a rather novel idea to use a supper club, which are all the rage now here in London. They kindly donated the prosecco for our lunch.  We started off with a cocktail of prosecco di Valdobbiadene, strawberry and basil which while sweet also managed to be quite refreshing and as it was a hot summer afternoon, very much appreciated. That has to be one of the advantages of using prosecco, fizz without the exorbitant price tag and if you’re going to adulterate your wine, why use champagne when prosecco works just as well. We had a still prosecco or vino tranquilo as they call it, with the starter of stone oven baked sardines with tomatoes and herbs. I’ve only ever had still prosecco once before, but I do enjoy it. Although it is still, it does have a few lazy bubbles. Still prosecco is made from 100% prosecco grapes. Many people do not realize that prosecco is not only the name of the wine but also the grape. A lovely aperitif, apples and pears on the nose with a some flowery notes wafting about, on the palate, a lively wine with more of those great appley flavours, it washed down the sardines easily which were very… sardine-y. The main of pork belly and crackling was served with two proseccos, the vino spumante extra dry DOC Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and the Cartizze which is the top end of the Riccardo prosecco line. Prosecco di Valdobiadene comes...

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“Brut Nature” Cava from Montau de Sadurni

Here is another wine from Casa Leal that I got to try when I was sidetracked into the Restaurant Trade Show but rather then a Portuguese wine, it’s a cava from Penedes. The cava is produced by Montau de Sadurni.  The Sadurni family have been growing grapes near the village of Begues, 15 miles from Barcelona, since the 16th century and probably been making wine just as long but they have been marketing their wines and cavas under the Montau label since 1987. The Arrels Montau de Sadurni is an extra dry reserve cava, we jokingly referred to it as a “diet cava” as it is a brut nature because it has only 2 gr/litre of sugar – now that is what I call a skinny cava! The cava is produced in the champagne methode meaning it is fermented twice, in vat and then in bottle, aged for 2 years and then sent on it’s merry way. Cava is usually made from xarello, parellada and macabeu and this is no exception. I really liked this cava, lovely, aromatic notes of baked apples and dried figs it had a certain creaminess on the nose that carried onto the palate – nutty, briochy, no bitter notes which can be found in cava sometimes, with spritely bubbles that weren’t too aggressive. A clean finish to round it off.  11.5% alcohol. The family only produce 40,000 bottles a year and it’s going to be retailing here in the UK for £8 so snap some up if you see it. Available from Casa Leal Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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The Girl and The Sleuth hit Covent Garden

Well, I have to say, I think I got the easy end of the deal for the Covent Garden Market Stall that  Eatlikeagirl and I did last week. After listening to her tell me about how she stayed up all night making soda bread (and it has to be the best soda bread this side of Cork) and the hours she spent cutting up cucumbers to be pickled, I was thankful that all I’d had to do was pick up the phone and place the prosecco order! Well, I was also in charge of procuring the ice bucket, cups and ice runs. And don’t forget, I did have to pour those heavy magnums! Seriously, it was sooo much fun! I love meeting the public and it was great to talk shop with people who are genuinely interested in what you’ve got on the table. Not to mention the fabulously tasty smoked salmon. It was a perfect partner for the prosecco. I love smoked salmon anyway but Frank Hederman is a magician. I don’t know how he does it but he manages to smoke the salmon in such a way that it’s unlike any other smoked salmon I’ve ever had. The flavour of the salmon was so intense, it was like smoked salmon on steroids and none of that oilyness that is so often sadly a hallmark of poorly smoked salmon. It was as if he somehow squeezed all the excess oil out of the salmon and just left essense of salmon. It was that good! And the prosecco was the perfect companion. Bisol’s Jeio is a light and fruity, lovely apples and pears on the nose and palate but not overly sweet, the bubbles just sweeping away the salmon and leaving my mouth ready for another salmon bite (that’s all we had time for, what with either serving up the salmon or dodging the rain, trying to make sure my laptop didn’t get wet). I really like the Jeio, it’s such an easy drinker...

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Brightwell Vineyards & English wine week – slideshow

English wine. English wine week. Do they make enough wine to support English wine week? Well, yeah, they do. There are over 250 vineyards in the British Isles and loads of them are winning awards and making fantastic wines. I’ve become a big fan lately, not only because I’m living here but also because I think that they’re producing some fantastic stuff. I have to say that the sparkling wines are the ones that are winning the awards but they’re getting better and better at making those whites and even, dare I say, reds! Last weekend, Andrew from Spittoon invited a bunch of us food and wine bloggers up to Wallingford, Oxfordshire to visit Brightwell Vineyards and have a taste or two of quality English wine. So one EARLY Saturday morning, I met up with eatlikeagirl, foodstories, pencilandspoon  (Mark, a beer blogger) and cooksister to brave the wilds of the English countryside. (A slideshow of my trip to the English countryside and vineyards) Our first stop was Brightwell Vineyards which has been around for about 20 years and they have a quite an extensive collection of varietals but most are experimental. They focus mainly on bacchus, ortega, reichensteiner, and dornfelder with pinot noir being planted next year. They are unusual in that they focus on still wines as opposed to sparkling which most English producers seem to gravitate to. Brightwell is not only situated next to the Thames but has a lovely duck pond with lots of wild birdies, horses, the friendliest dobermans I’ve ever met (the dogs would probably show you where the safe is), and pigs! Athough the wine pigs, as we nicknamed them, will be moving next year to make way for rows of pinot noir. The big hit of the tasting had to be the Oxford 2006 Regatta red, a complex spicy, woody, red wine. Pepper, graphite, ripe red fruits, raspberry, all those decriptors were being thrown about with abandon by the bloggers. I had to agree and it also had a lovely silky weight to it. Carol,...

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Balfour video winetasting at the Bluebird

Well, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m a big fan of Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose from Hush Heath Estate and I’ve written about it numerous times. I even took a couple of bottles to the American winebloggers conference last summer where it was a big hit. Last week, Penny from the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird, had a tasting of the Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose. I took along my fellow wineblogger, Wine90, so she could see what all the fuss was about. We did a short winetasting video after the event and here it is… The Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose is available from the Bluebird, retail  £39.99 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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