That's French for my birthday (part 2.) This time up North at Flint Vineyard in Earsham. Owner Ben Witchell took us on his two hour Winemaker's Tour which was bloomin' brilliant. If you want to learn how to make wine then this is as good as it gets on an English vineyard tour (and I've done a few.) Ben shared his story of giving up his day job in order to study Oenology and Viticulture at Plumpton College from where he travelled to Beaujolais to take up his first winemaking post. Hannah his wife has accompanied him on his journey and together they now run this cutting edge vineyard. The tour started at 10am with a welcome glass of Charmat Rose, the best time of the day for your tastebuds apparently. Ben walked and talked with us to the vineyard and then on to the winery, which was followed by a tutored tasting of their Silex Blanc, Bacchus and Pinot Noir. We stayed on for the 15 mile lunch (an additional £19.50) but worth every penny and included plates of Baron Bigod and St Jude cheeses, Marsh Pig charcuterie, Hempnall Village bakery bread and Eastgate Larder medlar jelly; all produced a corks pop away from the vineyard. Oh! ... and the lunch includes another glass of wine.
- the 15 mile lunch
- Charmat Rose welcome
- visit to the shop
- a winemakers tools
- one year old barrels
- lunch menu
That's French for 'my birthday party in France'. Bored with Brexit and looking for some entente cordiale I celebrated my 60th in France. One large Gite hired, fourteen of my bestest invited and several sacks of baguettes gorged. Castillonnes is a 20 minute drive from Bergerac airport and close to Maison Vari in Monbazillac who put on a great wine tasting. I even found a local Chef Marianne to come and cook us a fabulous birthday meal. Why did it all have to end?
- Our daily bread
- Village life
- Dreamy views across the vineyards
- Fields of hazelnut trees
- La Maison Vari
- Vineyards of Montbazillac
It's no secret that I'm a bit of a grape nut and enjoy exploring and attempting to keep up with the ever changing world of wine. So I liked this paperback/pocket sized reference guide to English and Welsh sparkling wine the minute I saw it. In this day and age of Googling and online reviews it's great to see a book covering one of the wine world's most promising developments in the last few years. The rise of English, terroir driven sparkling wines. Travelling around more than 50 vineyards in England and Wales, author Stewart Wilde celebrates the vineyards that produce the best of English sparkling wine, all using the 'traditonal method' (French 'methode champenoise') and all having won awards at regional or national level. In my opion the three most important elements of wine are land, grapes and weather and in this book you will find details of terroir for each vineyard, the grapes grown, tasting notes and an engaging insight into the winemakers and their craft. And that just leaves the urge to go and try a glass or two of some wonderful English fizz myself.
If only you had a crystal ball. This is what ours is telling us will be on trend for 2019. In no particular order ...
Chilled red wines- unoaked, lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Tempranillo's. We know that reds don't always have to be served at room temperature so this year expect to find more restaurants offering to chill your red wine, especially if we get another heatwave summer.
Gazoz- with the ever growing interest in things fermented and botanicals, Gazoz (main picture) is an Israeli soda based drink, made with natural fruit syrups (often from fermented fruits) fresh fruits, botanical infusions and herbs topped up with fizzy water. It's going to be this years addition to the increasingly popular shrubs and drinking vinegars of 2018. Find it on the menu at Bala Baya.Southwark. London.
Rum- Gin might be left on the shelf in favour of rum, which we are very happy about being part Caribbean foodies. White, gold, flavoured, spiced, dark, premium and overproof, there is no single standard and it's no longer the sole preserve of sailors and pirates. Want to know more? Follow Ian Burrell our favourite Rum Ambassador or try a Rum Masterclass at Cottons. We must go again!
Afro-Caribbean- well this is rather a broad area in terms of food and drink. The rise of North and West African cuisine is now well established. Mr SuffolkFoodie is from Durban so we are pinning our hopes on seeing more from South Africa, heavily influenced by the fruity and full bodied flavours of Cape Malay cuisine along with the French and Dutch influence of the European settlers. (Keep an eye out in the recipe book for our own family recipes). As for Caribbean cuisine look out for Rastafarian Ital cooking which is natural, plant based and organic. Plantains will feature too, we're getting bored with avocadoes and cauliflowers, plantains make great snacks. Tostones will be in!
Lard - the big fat comeback. Butter prices have gone through the roof and restaurants are looking at keeping menus affordable and innovative. The Italians love it and it's a mainstay of Mexican cooking and it's not as bad for you as you thought. Love a lardy cake don't you? Get barding and larding everyone.
Sardines- healthy, sustainable, delicious and affordable. One of our favourites and used in many types of cuisine from around the world. From spiced and fried whole in Indian recipes to the delicious Pasta Con le Sarde of Sicily, proving that they are versatile too. Bring on summer for some more delicious Portugeuse sardines cooked over the open fire.
Breakfasts - using rise and shine orange and yellow food which is Instagrammable. We'll be eating food because it's photogenic and can be hashtagged 'feel good' or 'sunshine food'. So we are guessing mango, oranges, lemon curd, pumpkin, carrots, things with saffron and God forbid no more turmeric lattes.
Grocerants - grocery stores and deli's with sit down dining, ready to eat, ready to heat food. The type of place that you go to buy the components of a take away supper then think dammit, if I eat it here it will save me washing up.
Waste not want not - zero waste cooking with wonky veg and root to fruit dishes will stay in vogue and so will the meaty nose to tail eating we've enjoyed over the past few years. Fig leaves will be very popular, brussel sprouts are making a big comeback, look out for Kalettes, broccoli stems, radish tops and carrot tops. But let's make sure that it's tasty please?
Bread - it's back. More ancient grains, sprouted grains, cornbread and vegetable stuffed doughs. Apricot breakfast bread, potato, pumpkin and onion baguettes, flatbreads, Earl Grey teacakes. You name it we will be kneading it. Sorghum will be the grain of 2019. Cheerio quinoa!
- carrot tops not the nicest of ingredients in our opinion
- #feel good #sunshinefood
- Earl Grey teacakes anyone?
- Bobotie a South African classic. Recipe in our book.
- Rum - one of our favourites
We're liking the wine on tap and the bagnums at Weino Bib in Dalston. Drink in or take away or in our case do both. The Tap Room and Deli also sells fresh, raw milk. Take your bottles and fill them up.
What to do while Mr Suffolk Foodie is busy at the build up for the Goodwood Revival and I'm left home alone in the cottage rental? Ah ha! Tinwood Estate is on the door step so off I set with my good friend Jeannie who's in the 'Can't Paint Won't Paint' Club with me. We took along Scrappy, over from Barbuda and keen to see all that our green and pleasant land has to offer. Tinwood grows the three main Champagne grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meuniere. The soil is chalky and the climate perfect for making the Champagne style wine. I wish English Sparkling could have a more romantic and appealing name as it's not allowed to be called Champagne. How about Britagne? I believe there is a campaign to call English Sparkling wine plain and simple British Fizz. Maybe this could be part of the Brexit deal. Anyway, we had a walk through the very straight lines of vines, planted by Germans we were told, as they are better at straight lines. Then back to very stylish decked area for a quick tutored tasting of the three wines which are made for the estate at nearby Ridgeview winery. First we tried the Blanc de Blanc 2015, made with 100% Chardonnay, pale and refreshing and rather appley. Then on to the Brut made with 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. Very refined with a fine stream of tiny bubbles and a hint of toast, this was our favourite of the lot. We finished with the Tinwood Rose, 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, forest fruity and a bit of a quaffer. Tours run everyday and it's well worth ordering the cheese platter when you book online. You can even stay the night!
- view from the deck
- pinot meuniere grapes
- chardonnay grapes
- straight lines of vines
- Inside space for the cooler weather
- Outside in the sunshine
My perfect kind of Autumn activity ... afternoon tea followed by a tour and walk in an English vineyard; then a wine tasting. What an entertaining afternoon Jed our guide at Chilford Hall Vineyard provided. We learnt how to grow and prune grapes, pick them, make them into wine and all about different styles of English wine and grape varieties. The tasting at the end included 5 wines. A thoroughly interesting and fun afternoon and how lucky for us to have a perfect, sunny late October day.
If you enjoy a glass of wine and want to learn more about the fascinating subject whilst enjoying a sip or two then try a Laithwaite's Wine Evening. I was excited to be invited to the Ipswich event last week and to hear that there were going to be 36 wines to taste. 11 tables showcased a range of wines from the across the world and the evening proved to be a fun and really good entry level wine tasting, with helpful notes on how to taste wine and even some producers and wine buyers to chat to. My highlight of the night was chatting to Christine Weingut, Laithwaite's German wine buyer. Obviously passionate about her job, each wine on her German and Austrian table had an interesting story behind it. So I came away with an order for Moselgold Riesling aus Steillagen Trocken 2012 from the steep, slate slopes of the Mosel and produced by a chap called Achim. Achim follows the family tradition started by his grandparents of creating the wine entirely himself from the grape to the bottle, in his garage.
Goodbye cupcakes, biscuits are back. The cupcake is on the decline and we think the next baking trend will be biscuits, not cookies, but good old butter based, crisp biscuits. Bring on the bourbons!
Icecream is also on the up and together with the biscuit we guess the ice-cream sandwich could be the new dessert craze.
Tea will be trending, not just the current resurgence of the vintage cuppa but in cocktails and as iced teas. Think rooibos, jasmine, hibiscus and green tea in your cocktails. This is our Fresh Red with Mint. Rooibis espresso, apple juice, mint and squeeze of lemon.
Vermouth has been neglected despite being an essential component of the current trend of cocktail making. It is a great aperitif in its own right and you will see the real vermouth action in Spain where it is poured straight from the barrel to the glass. Look out for this Italian vermouth bianco made by chemist Mauro Vergano. It is made from a base of Cortese and Moscato grapes, steeped in citrus and herbs. Subtle aromas of orange blossom over a base of herbs. Delicious! Justin and Jurga Sharpe have it on the menu at Pea Porridge restaurant in Bury St Edmundsl
If 2013 was the year of Quinoa then 2014 will be the year of Buckwheat. Usually referred to as a cereal grain, buckwheat is a superfood and actually a type of fruit. A relative of the rhubarb plant, buckwheat has a mild nutty flavour and a slightly softer texture than other grains. Well known uses for buckwheat are the flour (great for pancakes), soba noodles and kasha. Kasha are the whole buckwheat kernel; you can find them roasted or unroasted at most health food stores. The buckwheat plant's flowers are also used to make a dark, rich honey. Originally from China, the main producer today is Japan, where people eat soba noodles on New Year's Eve as a symbol of longevity. Buckwheat is high in magnesium, good for healthy muscles. One cup of soba noodles has about half the calories of a cup of regular pasta. Buckwheat also contains the antioxidant rutin, known to help lower cholesterol and strengthen small blood vessels. Buckwheat is also a gluten-free food, which makes it a perfect substitute for those who have trouble digesting wheat. The fascination with Asian food will also continue into 2014 with rice playing a big part in the return of the carbs.
Will goat be the new kid in town? We think so. With the increase in goat dairy produce it only makes sense to eat the goat meat itself. A staple in the Caribbean with curried goat being a Suffolkfoodie favourite, we always have some goat meat in the deep freeze. Kid goat is actually very versatile and has a great subtle flavour. Slow roast shoulder or leg grilled over a charcoal fire served Greek style with lemon and herbs, yum
Home brewing could prove to be popular next year How about a Great British Brew Off? Not beer or wine, but VINEGAR. Yes, you heard it. Vinegar is easy to make and we will be starting a brew soon here at Suffolkfoodie HQ. Many years ago a friend with a wine shop kept a barrel for the bottle ends and left overs and brewed wonderful vinegar. We fancy this hand thrown vinaigrier. Drinking vinegars, or shrubs as they were known in the 17th Century are becoming trendy and light vinegar chasers ( yuk?) and savoury cocktails are going to trend soon. Chicken Tikka Martini anyone?
Clucking good chicken restaurants have been appearing throughout 2013 and they will continue to develop out of London. Chicken is still an economical meat and we have also been predicting eggs as a trend for the past year. Scotch eggs are back on the bars in many guises. How about devilled and curried eggs next? New cuts of meat will appear. In 2013 we saw a move towards the American cuts such as the flat iron steak (shoulder blade, known as Butler's Steak in good old Blighty.) Expect the Pork Porterhouse and Ribeye Chops. Out with the lamb shank and in with the lamb short ribs and lamb brisket. Pictured is The Tramshed chicken.
Finally, the last prediction is Wine Bars... Wine bars that really know about the wine and are happy to share their knowledge. Wine bars that are cosy and unpretenious and don't make you feel that you need to swirl, sniff and spit to enjoy a good glass of wine. Our favourite in London is Sager and Wilde. Looking for one in East Anglia please?
Suffolk-based wine educator Neil Courtier of Grape Sense gives us his Christmas and New Year favourites for the festive table below. Neil runs wine-tasting workshops and has one coming up on Saturday morning 26th January 2013 at the Active Business Centre in Bury, called 'An Introduction to Wine Tasting'. This would be a great birthday present for me but unfortunately I am going to be in the Caribbean (says suffolkfoodie in a sad voice...) Call him on 01359 270318 or contact him here through his website.
Domaine Vincent Dampt - Chablis 2011 Burgundy – France - £ 12.55 (here you will get a 10% discount if you mention Grapesense) Corney & Barrow – Newmarket – Vincent Dampt is a rising star in Burgundy, check out this classic, steely, mineral enhanced Chablis, that’s beautifully balanced, by a touch of buttery richness & pin-point acidity. Try with smoked trout, roast turkey (with a white wine gravy), or guinea fowl.
Jul. Ferd Kimich – Gewürztraminer – Spätlese 2010 Pfalz – Germany - £ 12.99 Peatling's - Bury St Edmunds - A fruit-inspired Gewürztraminer, that's beautifully focused. A degree of natural sweetness (only a tad) makes this a perfect companion with a smooth duck-based pâté.
Jim Barry - The Lodge Hill – Shiraz 2010 Clare Valley – Australia - £ 12.49 / buy 2 bottles £ 9.99 – Majestic – Should you decide to enjoy a prime-joint of British beef this Christmas, tuck into this blackberry-soaked Shiraz, with notes of eucalyptus & liquorice. Full-bodied, yet it has ‘sweet’ tannins & total integration.
Domaine Michel Lafarge - Bourgogne – Pinot Noir 2009 Burgundy – France - £ 13.99 (again with a 10% discount for Grapesense) Corney & Barrow – Newmarket – From a great Domaine in Volnay, a cherry-scented Pinot, ripe, rounded & accessible, with food-matching potential too – a great match with pheasant, or venison casserole.
Champagne – Les Pionniers – Vintage 2004 - £ 25.99 / £ 22.99 (until 1st January 2013 ) Co-Operative – Toasty, complex Champagne, with notes of maturity – baked lemon, a trace of honey & a nutty finish. Great vale & should accompany smoked salmon to a tee!
Vistamar - Late Harvest - Moscatel 2012 Limari Valley – Chile - £ 6.24 / buy 2 bottles = £ 4.99 per ½ bottle – Majestic – Snap-up this peach, honey, lemon & grapey Moscatel, which has attractive acidity to underpin the sweetness. Yummy!