Bordeaux’s Fete Le Vin 2012

Jul 26, 12 Bordeaux’s Fete Le Vin 2012

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Travel

So it seems we might actually be getting a summer in London, albeit, 2 months tardy! Happily, I was invited  by the CIVB to Bordeaux in late June for the Fete le Vin, a bi-annual event held on the quays of Bordeaux City which features affordable Bordeaux for everyday, where they are having a proper summer. The Fete le Vin runs for almost a week but there is plenty to do in and around the city. The first day we went on a city walk,which was great fun. The city is quite ancient and the Medieval section of town, which is very close to the river holds many fascinating nooks, crannies and alleyways with a plethora of cafes, restaurants and bars. I could have spent the day hopping from one cafe to another! The historic part of the city itself was declared an UNESCO site in the 1990’s and the limestone buildings have recently been completely cleaned so the city is nice and bright! The city is one of Europe’s biggest 18th century architectural urban areas. You can almost imagine  horse drawn carriages through the streets until one of the super modern electric trams goes gliding by. The wines of Bordeaux are often perceived as being out of reach of most people but in reality, the Petrus’ and Cheval Blancs make up only a tiny percentage of the production of the region. The majority of the wines are made for consumption within a few years. The Fete likes to also emphasize that wine should be paired with food and this year they hooked up with Hong Kong to showcase how Chinese cuisine and French wines can go together. I loved wandering along the quay and stopping at the various stands with my glass in hand,sampling the multitude of wines and styles. The event featured just about all the wines of the region other then the top crus. Red, white, sweet, sparkling they were all represented along with various delicacies of the region and plenty...

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(video) Simon Hopkinson chatting about food and wine at the Exeter Magdalen Chapter Hotel

Jul 23, 12 (video) Simon Hopkinson chatting about food and wine at the Exeter Magdalen Chapter Hotel

Posted by in Food and Wine, Hotels and Spas, Videos

Simon Hopkinson , well know British chef, founder of Bibendum restaurant in London, and author of several cookbook also takes time out to consult for the Chapter Hotel chain here in the UK. I caught up with Simon at the newest addition to Chapter, the Madgdalen Chapter Hotel in Exeter to talk about his food and wine philosophy as well as the cuisine of the Chapter Hotels. I also spent the weekend in Exeter at the Magdalen and will be writing about it very soon… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Learning to ask for more than foie gras and Sauternes, Babble: an online gastronomic language course

Jul 17, 12 Learning to ask for more than foie gras and Sauternes, Babble: an online gastronomic language course

Posted by in Champagne

A friend recommended this site to me the other day and I thought it was worth posting about seeing as I’m always saying I should really learn French (and Italian and Portuguese) for my numerous trips abroad. You’d think my French would be pretty good by now! But anyway, the website called offers online language learning courses and has, of course, it’s own online app. What really caught my attention and why I’m thinking of giving it a go is their Gastronomy and Wine course. According to their blog, “…you’ll be able to learn in seven languages how to describe wine, talk about everything from vegan (who cares? – winesleuth note) to molecular cuisine and unlock the secrets of herbs and spices (now that might be very useful from a wino’s point of view – winesleuth note ;)).” I guess I could stretch beyond foie gras and Sauternes so it may very well be useful, then again, I DO love me some foie gras and Sauternes…. Find out more about Babble here Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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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,...

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Wine (and food) on a Brighton getaway

Apr 19, 12 Wine (and food) on a Brighton getaway

Posted by in England, Food and Wine, Lifestyle

I was invited down to Brighton recently to check out the Brighton and Hove food and wine festival. I’ve been to Brighton a few times and it is relatively easy to get there from London. If you can’t be bothered to do all the legwork yourself you can find Brighton Holidays online. The last time I was there for a winemaker’s dinner at the Hotel du Vin Brighton, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that part of the festival was being held at the hotel and that they would be putting me up for the night there. This isn’t my first time at HdV Brighton, I’ve stayed there in the past and always enjoy walking into the comforting decor of the hotel, alternating between dark and blonde wood, cozy couches and chairs scattered around the main bar and a bustling bistro next to it. From the outside, the building dates back to the 16th-17thth century, complete with timber and whitewalls on certain parts of the hotel.  The interior though has all the mod cons and the suites come with giant bathtubs for a soak after spending the day at the beach, which by the way is literally across the road from the hotel. There’s also a charming courtyard as well as a suntrap of a terrace on the first floor. The hotel was putting on a small wine festival and had local producers and wine shops on hand to show off their wines. There was a large proportion of English wines available, including Ridgeview, Bolney’s and even Plumpton College had their local sparkling on offer. I also tried a fantastic pinot blanc from Stopham Estates. They are located in West Sussex and are the only producers of pinot blanc in the UK. The wine was not at all what I was expecting, not tasting like an English wine. By that I mean it didn’t have the telltale elderflower aromas or flavours nor was it slightly off dry. Bright and chipper, balanced fruit and...

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