Chris on bargain booze for Christmas
Mikhail on food bargains at Christmas
Very proud of two of our guys, featured on the ITN Christmas Channel on You Tube. Mikhail – our General Manager – talks about providing Christmas food on a budget, and Chris our senior wine tutor talks about buying booze in these credit crunch times.
Both give very good advice on how to save your pennies in the festive period. As for myself. Well tonight is my last wine class of 2009 and we’re tasting 9 wines – featuring the major grape varieties, with a 4-course meal. My students are in for a treat!
Happy and Healthy Drinking!
Connoisseur Wine Day: Tutor Chris Hambleton
Saturday 28 November 2009: Fine Wines of the World
Bacchanalia, Broken Wharf, EC4. £195 per person
An opportunity to learn about wines from a different angle, aimed at those who enjoy their wines, and want to learn more. Some unusual themes and excellent wines accompanied by a food devised especially for the occasion.
No pretentious ‘winespeak’– we don’t lecture to you either. Just great wines, food and company and you go away having learnt a lot and enjoyed yourselves!
The day begins at 10.00am and you’ll taste wines all morning. This is then followed by a special themed lunch served at around 2.00, where you get to match the wines with food, and the day ends at approximately 4.30pm.
You will be in the company of like-minded individuals – around 20 people, men and women aged between 25 and 60! It’s a fun and enjoyable day’s entertainment – plus you learn all about the wines at the same time.
Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Domaine Paul Zinck, Alsace, France
How to taste wines: quick revision of techniques
10.30 Wine Tasting
Information: Guests will receive full tuition and supervision. All glasses and tasting notes are provided by WFA. Lunch will be provided by chefs at North Bank. Any other queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8675 6172.
Several of my corporate clients have asked me for special deals this Christmas, as budgets are tight everywhere, so I’ve come up with 3 solutions which could work for your office party.
I might have mentioned before our new venue based at Bacchanalia, Broken Wharf – brand new premises which we have been using for our smaller wine tasting groups of up to 30.
Well, we’ve now renovated the upstairs section, which is open for business! It can take 120 standing or 80 seated – with a minimum of 40.
We can run 2 events at the same time, one up and one downstairs, so we’ve now got a number of free dates running up to Christmas and beyond – all with fantastic views over the river Thames as you can see from the slide show below.
There are 3 price ranges:
6 wines with basic tapas £50 per person
8 wines with buffet and cava reception £60 per person
10 wines with full buffet and champagne reception £95 per person
Broken Wharf is easy to find – at the foot of the Millennium Bridge on the St Paul’s side of the river. Ideal for City-based clients.
How about a wine tasting in your own home? We come to your premises (within M25) and run a wine tasting for your guests, with or without food – it’s up to you. We can bring everything in so you don’t need to worry about equipment – just make sure you invite all your friends! Costs are dependant on numbers – for example.
10 guests, 6 wines, basic food £600
20 guests, 8 wines, buffet £1,200
Cooking events. We run very successful corporate cooking events which are great fun and very entertaining. It could be you want a full blown team building cook-off, or perhaps a more leisurely relaxed cooking experience. We only use Michelin chefs as our tutors, plus we also include a full wine tasting when you eat what you’ve cooked – so a complete wine and food occasion. Prices start at £95 per person for a group of 25. We can take up to 100 guests, but dates are few and far between in the run up to Christmas.
Send an email to email@example.com or call on 020 8675 6172 for further details.
Chateau Harry was delighted to support two worthwhile charitable causes this past week. The first was a celebration of the work done by Awards for Young Musicians who raise money to help young people in their musical endeavours. Whether it’s money for a new instrument, or tuition costs or even just support so that youngsters and their families can go an experience the opera – it’s a really worthwhile use of funds. Patrons include Simon Rattle, Nigel Kennedy, Jonathan Miller etc. Some of the young recipients performed for everyone, as well as former students who have since turned professional. Lovely evening.
The other major event was a fund-raising evening for the Chelsea and Kensington branch of Lepra a fantastic organisation which provides funds for leprosy sufferers worldwide. It took place in The Ivy Club – upstairs in the loft – and was attended by the great and the good. Fantastic cocktails and canapés and musical entertainment from West End stars (who all came along to support after their shows were over!). The incomparable Stephen Fry ran the auction of many varied and amazing donations, and our own auction prize of a wine tasting in your own home, with food, raised over £950 for the cause. We were nearly purchased by Ian and Victoria Hislop, but they were pipped to the post!
These two organisations are really worthy of support, so if you haven’t already decided on your charitable giving for 2010, why not choose one of them?
Last night the class looked at red wines from all over the globe. Malbec from Argentina; Rioja from Spain; Chianti from Italy, Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Tinto da Anfora from Portugal and Gran Reserva Valle de Colchagua from Chile. Most of this week’s wines I purchased at Majestic, to show the students the range of inexpensive, good quality wines available out there.
I prepared Irish Ham, cooked to my own recipe, together with huge jacket potatoes from Lincolnshire.
The favourite wine before the food was the Pinot Noir, but the favourite with food was the Tinto from Portugal – an unusual choice. These students are learning quickly!
I was criticised though, for not providing enough eligible males in this class! Did I mention that we’ve had 8 marriages, 10 babies and countless relationships as a result of people who have met at my classes. Far better record than any dating organisation. However, the majority of students on this class all seem to be married already. We’ll see what the new intake brings on 3 November!
Happy and Healthy Drinking
Last night, my beginner students were tasting white wines. I served bowls of crudités with dressing, then a homemade vintage cheddar quiche. Here were the voting results from 20 attending:
Votes Before Food Votes With Food
Vinho Verde 0 20 (crudités especially)
White Rioja 4 16
Chenin Blanc 8 12
Torrontes 20 0
Pinot Grigio 7 17
Viognier 8 20
Interesting that no one went for the Torrontes with food, but everyone thought it was an ideal quaffing wine. Also, everyone absolutely loathed the Vinho Verde, but completely changed their minds whilst matching with the crudités as the sharpness and acidity were tamed. As usual the Viognier cleaned up with the food!
From week 1 when everyone was afraid to say boo….students are opening up now and are very vocal in their descriptions of the wines, arguing about smell and taste, and very happy to wax lyrical about their favourites.
Proves the amazing power of wine to bring people out of their shells!
Happy & healthy drinking.
Tutored tasting in London Saturday 3 October. Run by our star tutor Chris Hambleton – all you wanted to know about Australian wines! Buffet too. Limited places available.
Saturday 3 October 2009
Bacchanalia, Broken Wharf, EC4
Cape Mentelle Semillon/Sauvignon 2006, Margaret River, Western Australia
Jacob‘s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2005
Tyrells‘ Vat 1 Semillon, Hunter Valley, 2002
Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier
Tower Estate Chardonnay Adelaide Hills
Brown Bros Noble Riesling 2000
Red Sparkling Wine, Joseph
Tamar Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir, 2005, Tasmania
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River, Western Australia
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra 2001
Penfolds Bin 389 Shiraz/Cabernet 2004
D‘Arenburg The Dead Arm Shiraz 1995, Mclaren Vale
2.30pm Introduction: How to taste wines: quick revision of techniques
2.45pm Wine Tasting
Information: Guests will receive full tuition and supervision. All glasses and tasting notes are provided by Chateau Harry. Buffet lunch will be provided by North Bank. Any other queries, please call 020 8675 6172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few questions and answers from our recent cooking events, which seem to crop up time and again. Here’s Mikhail with latest batch.
Journey Along the Loire
Q “How can you tell when a mussel is bad?”
A Place live mussels in a large bowl of water. If they float or point upwards, they have toxic gasses inside. This is bad news – so discard them. If any are open, tap them on a hard surface and a healthy specimen will close tightly. If not….discard! Also, after cooking the mussels, only eat from shells that are fully open. Discard the rest. Potentially there can be high levels of wastage, however, no risks should ever be taken with shellfish. They can be killers!
Q “What is the best oil for frying? We always use olive oil for everything.”
A Olive oil has become readily available and relatively inexpensive. However, there are some rules to be followed about its use. Firstly only ever use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil – any other product is processed and all the healthy qualities are literally fried away! Extra Virgin oil should be used more as a condiment, lending rich aromas and flavours to your dishes. Never fry at a high temperature. If you notice a blue haze coming from the pan, discard. This is potentially carcinogenic. If you like the flavour then blend with a seed oil with neutral character such as sunflower or rapeseed.
South East Asian Banquet
An international gathering of colleagues preparing an exotic meal from the east! Much fun was had by all, many of course had never seen the ingredients in their raw state. Fresh turmeric, fresh tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, pandan leaves and candle nuts. There was a good deal of discussion about the Kai Lam – a Chinese green – as to its origins and what it might be associated with in our European gardens – any comments?