Tales from kitchen and cellar

Posts Tagged ‘champagne’

Christmas Breakfast with Bubbles

In Cooking, drink, food, Food and Drink on December 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

This week The Wine Place asked me to take a look at a wonderful English fizz,Brightwell Sparkling Chardonnay, and very delicious it was too.

I decided to pair it up with a scrumptious breakfast treat, classic Eggs Benedict.

Check out the combination hereeggsb


Jubilee Cheers!

In drink, Food and Drink on June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am










Binfield Brut

In honour of the Queen’s Jubilee it is definitely time to think about celebrating and what better way than with a true English fizz, this one is from just down the road from where I live.

Read all about it here in my new blog for Get Wokingham

I discovered this little gem was being made locally and in the same way as Champagne but without the price tag!

Here are a few more photos of my local English vineyard about to bloom..










The vine here is Reichesteiner…


Wonderful Weekend Wines…

In drink, Food and Drink on May 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Wino Wednesday

It’s Wino Wednesday and once again I am getting ready for a packed weekend full of wonderful wines for one very lucky group of hens. This weekend through my work at ThirtyFifty I will be showcasing 7 different wines, champagnes and sparkling wines.

My favourites this week include the Forget Brimont Rose champagne which just about trumps its South African equivalent made by Graham Beck. Both are great summer easy drinking fizzes albeit with a different price tag the Forget coming in at close to £27 compared to the Beck at £14. Have you tried them and if so which do you prefer old v new world?

As for reds a great Rioja from Castilo Clavijo 2008 crianza and an even better St Hallett Garden of Eden Shiraz Barossa Australia 2008, soft round and full of red fruits. Lucky ladies!

I love a dessert wine and when it comes to a late harvest sauvignon blanc the La Playa from the Cochagua Valley is hard to beat. Deliciously sweet with a great acidity makes this wine great with a stinky cheese as well as a sumptuous pudding. At less than £9 a bottle I think this wine offers great value for money.

Whatever their taste this weekend I think we have it covered with a great selection picked out by Chris and Jane Scott back at ThirtyFifty HQ


Tripping the Fizz Fantastic

In Food and Drink on April 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Fantastic Fizz

As some of you know food is not my only love and what helps to pay the bills is my love of wine too. I’m lucky enough to teach my interest on a regular basis and it’s about this time of week that I start to gear up for the weekend, which tends to be the busiest time. So perhaps Wednesday’s blogs should be called…Wino Wednesdays!

This weekend one group of lucky ladies are set to have a champagne and sparkling wine tasting. This always raises so much debate. I always blinfold an English fizz in a bag and a classic champagne and get them to guess which they think is the real deal. Then I ask them which they prefer.

The results are always so interesting, Ridgeview the English fizz nearly always gets more like votes than the classic champagne. Around half the people can’t tell the difference. It really is a great way to highlight fantastic fizz that doesn’t fall under the champagne umbrella.

Great cava is also hard to beat and I love the often berated Freixenet Reserva, this is great served with fish and chips or some chilli or salted chocolate.

This weekends tasters are set for a fantastic fizz selection from the classic dry Paul Herard champagne to the South African Graham Beck Rosé. Made in the same way as a classic champagne but at less than half the price.

They will also get to try a very lively and fruity Italian prosecco by Bisol Jeio, and a delicious and sweet Moscatel which will have your tastebuds in carnival mood, all the way from Brazil!

Lucky ladies, I will of course be spitting them out but will make sure that something equally tempting is waiting in the fridge upon my return.

It would be great to hear any thoughts on sparkling wine versus champagne, it’s always great to get fresh input from fizz lovers!

One final thought, the pictures in this blog are all taken by me and are of food and or drink. However, I was lucky enough to be running a tasting last night in the heart of London’s Canary Wharf, at the top of one of the towers, this was the view. What better place to stand and stare with glass in hand…

Prosecco or Merlot, Chocolate or Cheese?

In food, Food and Drink on April 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Food and Wine Matching

This weekend was a busy one as I ran two wine tastings in one day. This meant that I had the opportunity of being a part of two people’s celebrations a fiftieth birthday party and a hen party and two very different crowds. The tastings got me thinking and I often learn so much from other people. Food and wine matching is a great passion of mine and so it seemed it was for the fiftieth birthday crowd.

There was a great feast on display at this tasting of fantastic cheeses and meats and breads which had been carefully chosen to go with the seven different wines they all tried. It looked and I’m reliably informed tasted great!

Wine and cheese or meats is a long held tradition but what about the sweet stuff, where as many of you know my heart truly lies! Where does wine sit with chocolate or other sweet treats?

For me the classic pairing of dark chocolate with a merlot or cabernet sauvignon is a great combination. If you want a specific tip I can’t think of any finer pairing than Rococco’s Criollo dark chocolate and Catena Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina. It’s hard to beat and one tip I’ve learnt from a very learned wino couple! Rich in antioxidants in both the wine and the chocolate the two combined are great news for the body, if of course they are enjoyed in moderation!

But how about the classic fizz? I love a salty chocolate and a glass of champagne. The most decadent matching for me would be Rococco sea salt chocolate and a glass of great champagne or if you are a lover of English Fizz like me Ridgeview’s Cavendish sparkling wine. The salty chocolate pairs well with the umami taste in the champagne. If you are looking not to blow the budget then a cava or prosecco matched with Lindt’s savoury chocolate offering of a touch of sea salt works just as well. Try it!

It would be great to learn some other quirky wine and food combinations and would love to hear more if you have them.

If you are interested in wine tastings please take a look: http://www.thirtyfifty.co.uk/ and don’t forget to mention me.


Cheesy Gougerès with a glass of Champagne

In Food and Drink on April 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

Cheese Gougerès with a glass of Champagne

These small puffs of cheesy delight are little clouds of heaven in the mouth which are lifted to the sublime when paired with a glass of fizz. As these are indeed tales from kitchen and cellar it’s time a little wine made an appearance. For a truly special occasion or if you’re throwing caution to the wind champagne or English sparkling wine would be great with these nibbly treats. However, a decent prosecco or cava will do just the job, a dry acidic fizz rather than off dry works best. Now that’s the drink taken care of here’s how to make the little treasures!

Ingredients (makes around 12-15)

  • 125g full fat milk
  • 125g water
  • 100g unsalted butter (cut into cubes
  • 150g flour (well sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 4 eggs (large)
  • 150g Comté cheese (finely grated) plus extra for garnish
  • Optional extra poppy seeds or dry herbs for garnish


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°c
  • Boil the milk, salt, water and butter in a thick based or good quality pan.
  • Add all the flour and stir to a smooth paste over a low heat. It’s ready when the mixture leaves the side of the pan and looks glossy.
  • Allow the mixture to cool a little then return to the pan.
  • Away from the heat beat the eggs into the mixture one by one, followed by the grated cheese.
  • Pipe or spoon walnut sized amounts of the mixture onto baking sheets leaving gaps for them to grow when baked. Top each mound with a little more cheese. You could also sprinkle dry herbs or poppy seeds for variety and colour.
  •  Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and nicely risen. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy with bubbles of course!