While Malcolm Gluck was obviously there, entertaining us with a great evening-long impression of a drunken Worzel Gummidge, I never did find out who John Taylor was.
I did run into the Cooksister, whose skillful hand with the compact camera provided the images here and had an all too brief chat with Fraser Lewry who writes over at BlogJam and is eating his way through the alphabet over on the Guardian’s Word of Mouth (where you can also find me occasionally).
We also had the pleasure – which impressed the rest on our table no end – to be interviewed by the delightful Chris. We were forewarned that “Chris is keen to record a radio feature on food bloggers for BBC Radio 5 Live” and to “come equipped with wit”. This I think we did with gusto but perhaps I should mention (if on the off-chance I actually make it through the cutting to the broadcast) that it was quite late in the evening; and the wine had been quite free flowing.
Aperitif: Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, France – Grassy with a touch of Lychee and a nice softness. Enjoyable.
Starter: Cock-a-Leekie Soup served with Voyager Estate Margaret River Semillon, 1998, Australia. A revelation and really a sublime match. Normally I dislike waxy aged Semillon, and the grape can be dull without age, but when matched with the soup a real harmonious combination resulted.
Main Course: Boiled Beef with a pearl Barley and carrot Broth, Parsley and Beetroot Dumplings accompanied by Fairview Estate Agostinelli Barbera, 2006, South Africa. A couple on our table didn’t enjoy this at all. I can see why but I found it very interesting. It is big, ripe, perhaps a little over-extracted but with good structure and acidity. It cut through the rather mouth-clogging, unusual, dumplings wonderfully. Not totally convinced it was a good match with the salty beef. Interesting grape variety though with high alcohol.
Cheeses: I forget the cheeses – something from Ireland, a Lancashire and a Stilton I think. The wine, a Segna Le Roc des Domaine Anges Cotes du Roussillon, 2006, was not good. A heavily accentuated ‘feral’ aroma (I think I used the word ‘shit’ during the BBC interview). Underneath this though was an interesting wine full of dark fruits. I found it undrinkable.
Dessert: A Bread and Butter Pudding matched with a Don PX Toro Albala Dulce de Pasas Montilla-Morales, 2004, Spain. The pud was very flavoursome, which we put down to a layer of Quince jam. It was a typical English pudding, big and filling. It failed to match the wine which, while excellent in its own right, was extremely big and rich. The sweetness was enough to be a dessert in its own right. I would have served it with some simple biscuits or matched something lighter and less sweet with the Bread and Butter Pud.
¹ – for which read ‘rubbish social life’
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