Food

  • Discover Ascheri – One Of The Jewels Of Piemonte

    By Angela Mount

    Most people who enjoy red wine have heard of Barolo.  However, I would hazard a guess that far fewer know where the wine comes from. They may also have heard of Gavi, but again, with little idea of where it orginates.  Great Western Wine are great at hosting events which combine superb wines, fantastic food, yet imbued with the opportunity for guests to learn, and the recent evening at the Abbey hotel was no exception..

    Ascheri is a family wine producer, now run by the ebullient Matteo, a larger than life personality, and the 6th generation of the family,  who delights in sharing his stories and his passion about his wines and his region.  Set up in 1880, the vineyards and winery in set in the small town of Bra, situated about 50 km south east of Turin.  Piemonte is the region, situated in north west Italy. Piemonte literally means ‘ at the foot of the mountains’ as the area is nestled between the French alps, and the Apennines.  It’s a land of great beauty, rugged on its northern slopes, softer and fertile further south.

    It’s also a land renowned for its food, home of the unique, exotic, perfumed white Alba truffle, and is a mecca for inveterate foodies in October, as they either join the hunt for these beauties, or enjoy the heady richness of the dishes created, showcasing this gem.  It’s a land where game is prized, wild mushrooms grow rife, and where Autumn is revered for the delivery of all this richness of produce.

    It also produces some of Italy’s very best red wines, from Barolo to Barbaresco, maverick, brooding, temperamental.  Matteo, passionate about his heritage and home region compares Piemonte to Burgundy; the region works with wines made from one varietal only, although in Piemonte’s case the grapes for which they are famous are grown solely on their home territory,and the region is peppered with small family producers.

    Matteo is intense in his love of his home region “We need to produce wines that are different and recognisable; the wines need to express terroir and their provenance”. It’s also all about wine to go with food.

    This comment, set the scene perfectly for the four course feast that was to follow. Ascheri’s Gavi di Gavi2016, was the appropriate aperitif, with its fresh, pure character of pears and ripe lemons, subtle and creamy. Made from the Cortese grape, fresh and lively; this was followed by Langhe Arneis 2016, Arneis being another regional white variery,  and spot on with a little amuse-bouche of softly sweet aubergine, topped with a slice of tangy local taleggio cheese and enhanced by the sweetest and intense of confit tomatoes.

    The Abbey’s executive chef Rupert Taylor then served a delicate starter of chicken agnolotti, plump little pillows of saffron pasta filled with thyme and lemon-scented chicken mousseline, served with crayfish, and shavings of black truffle. Piemonte is justly famous for its red wines, with the majestic, violet and licorice-scented Nebbiolo, reigning supreme. However Piemonte nurtures a number of other varietals, with the far lighter, bright Dolcetto at the other end of the spectrum. Ascheri Dolcetto d’Alba 2016 was an inspired choice for the gentleness of the dish; meaning ‘little sweet one’ in Italian, Dolcetto is a pretty, red cherry- stashed red, which trips over the tongue with charm; Lively, and approachable, it’s a delicious glass of fruit-driven wine, with zero oak, and simple, yet gently structured tannins to support. Perfect for red wine drinkers who prefers theirs light and fresh.  Next up ., a lighter interpretation of the grape, with its pale garnet colour. Aged for only one year, it has a smokey depth, yet a velvety lightness of touch, fruit-driven with a floral edge and hints of cinnamon , clove and black cherries to the fore. Rich and full, yet surprisingly light and fresh, it was another winner.

    The big guns turned out in force for the main course, a luxurious and perfectly delivered roe deer Wellington, with Bolognese, cavolo nero and crones. This sumptuous slice of perfection looked spectacular, the roe deer cooked rare, gleaming with its rich, red colour, cutting as softly as butter, and meltingly tender. Encased in a duxelle of mushrooms and rich madeira, and encased in a perfectly cooked pastry crust, topped with sesame seeds, it was a dish for kings.  Served with a juniper-infused Bolognese sauce, crunchy cavolo nero and tangy, nutty little crones ( similar to a tiny version of Jerusalem artichoke), it was impressive.

    As were the wines, in no uncertain terms.  To match this majestic dish, the king of Piemonte wines, Barolo was rolled out, in two forms.  Firstly Ascheri Barolo 2013, soft, silky and elegant, redolent of violets, truffles, smoke and prunes. Deep, yet silky and elegant, it offered elegance and a softness of style, with an inherent sweetness of character, which picked up the natural sweetness of the roe deer. Ascheri Barolo Cru 2013, is produced from a single vineyard, and only in the very best of vintages. Still a baby, with many years to mature, it nevertheless showed its promise, with the intensity of its charisma and complexity. Darkly rich, full of concentrated power it showed a glimpse of its potential, still chewy, but with a beautiful intensity, and the promise of things to come.

    Rupert Taylor is building somewhat of a reputation for the innovative style and quality of his desserts. For this occasion he put together a tangy mascarpone mousse, with a tart edge, to balance the sweet intensity of a baked chocolate mousse, sitting atop, with a crisp layer of baked honey with cocoa nibs to separate, a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet, and a caramelised honey shard. What wine to serve? Sometimes richness goes with richness of dish, at other times, contrast is the better option, which it proved here.  Matteo served a gently sweet, fragrant and refreshing Moscato d’Asti 2017, a frothy, delightful glass of gently sparkling loveliness, smelling of freshly crushed table grapes and lemon peel, deliciously fragrant, light, a perfect foil to the intensity of the dish.

    If you enjoy good Barolo, take time to delve into the richness of Piemonte a little more. It’s well worth the journey of discovery.

  • The Magic of Planeta

    Sicily is a seductive island, rich and diverse in terms of culture, cuisine, history and landscape. Separated from the toe of Italy by a mere 3 km at its most eastern point, from the western extreme, the tip of Tunisia is only 150 km away. On the eastern coast lies Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest and most active volcano.

    Planeta is arguably Sicily’s most famous, and leading wine producer, set up in 1985, and responsible for pioneering the development of high quality wine on the island, initially with established international varieties, but now championing local grapes, such as Nero d’Avola and Grillo.

    Sicily is a land of hidden surprises, and that includes wine, so when Great Western Wine announced a special wine dinner hosted by one of the family owners, Alessio Planeta, in conjunction with the Abbey Hotel, tickets sold out fast. Guests were treated to eight of Planeta’s wines, each matched carefully to a well curated menu by the Allium’s executive chef Rupert Taylor.

    We were greeted with a glass of Brut Metodo Classico NV, a vibrant, pinpoint pure and deliciously crisp fizz, mouth-tingling with its green apple, zingy lemon, and razor sharp freshness, served with a selection of Italian-inspired canapes.

    With two wines per course, we were in for a treat, and were not disappointed. To begin, Rupert Taylor and his team delivered the prettiest of dishes in the form of an autumnal starter of tender butternut squash,topped with a slice of tangy taleggio cheese, served with a smooth as silk mushroom puree, rosemary infusion, and enhanced by Planeta’s very own extra virgin olive oil, grown on their estate.

    Planeta Alastro 2016 was the first white wine served, named after a little yellow flower, grown around the vineyards. Fresh and delicate, it had evocative scents of orange blossom and ripe lemon peel, with its crisp citrus freshness tempered by a gentle creaminess, which married well and enhanced the richness of the dish. This was followed by my favourite white, Eruzione 1614 Carricante 2016, with a fascinating story. Planeta now have plots of vineyards on the mineral-rich black soils of Mount Etna, creeping higher and higher up the mountain, to a height of 800m. Sicily has a wealth of native grape varieties, that are now coming to recognition. Carricante is the key protagonist here, with a dollop of Riesling to add some aromatics and texture. It’s a stunning wine, bright and fresh, with depth, intensity and an exotic twist. Floral notes beguile, followed by a vibrant, ripe, bold flavour – think ripe Sicilian peaches and oranges, notes of citrus, with a hint of acacia honey.

    Next up an intriguing dish showcasing Chef Taylor’s sense of innovation; keeping with the Sicilian theme, a dish of squid tagliatelle, tender, but al dente, in fine, lissom strips, topped with intensely rich, sweet yet earthy wild mushrooms, silky, melting, yet textured, spiced up with a lashing of horseradish which added kick to the dish. The mushrooms were the dominant characteristic and need a soft, fruity, juicy red. We had two.

    Firstly Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2015, a lively, exuberant lifted cherry red, as the name suggests. Lively, yet silky soft, and packed with bright red fruits, citrus and herb character, it had a playful character, and enchanting lightness which offered a perfect foil to the richness of the dish. Secondly Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese 2014, another offering from the black soils of Etna, deep, brooding and sultry, with dark fruits, warm spice and a velvety finish, yet still sublimely soft.

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    Staying firmly with the Italian theme, the centre piece on the menu was a rump of lamb, glisteningly pink, meltingly tender, with a salty, tangy black olive crust, wilted cavolo nero and a punchy salsa verde. This is where the red wine stars of the Planeta portfolio came into their own, and shimmered brightly. Santa Cecilia 2013, one of Planeta’s flagship wines, from the ripe, and generous Nero d”Avola grape. With dark, brooding blackberry, spice, fennel and bitter chocolate nuances, and hints of violets, its innate depth, complexity, and seductive smoothness brought out the sweetness of the lamb, and the tanginess of the olive and salsa verde. This wine is from the region of Noto, whereas for the second match took us back to Etna with Mamertino 2015, a recently rediscovered region, with intensity of plump cherry and plum fruit, bright and bold, but with a welcome freshness of touch, and a lively minerality derived from the volcanic soils. Savoury, and deep, it presented a different foil for the myriad flavours of the dish.

    Onto the finale, and a mini masterpiece by Taylor simply named ‘Goats curd mousse, blackberries, apples, oats and sorrel’. Pretty as a picture, it combined a gently wobbling, but perfectly set creamy mascarpone mousse, enhanced by the rich brambly flavours of dollops of blackberry sauce, balanced by the lively contrast of tangy green apple sorbet, with added texture from the sweet oat tuile. What to serve? Planeta’s luxurious dessert wine Passito di Noto 2016, sweet yet delicate and subtle, with a remarkable lightness. Made from intensely sweet grapes, which have been dried for four days, it charms with its cornucopia of candied lemon zest, apricot and raisin flavours yet with a cheeky citrus lift on the finish.

    Planeta have always been a favourite producer of mine and I have watched them pioneer and evolve the magic of Sicilian wine over the years. This evening did not disappoint.

    By Angela Mount

  • Crumbs!

    Chilli Con Vegan, Saffron Rice, Avocado & Lime Salad

    Ingredients
    2 medium onions, finely diced
    4 garlic cloves, grated
    1 medium leek, finely sliced
    3 red chillis, finely sliced
    5 tbsp premium rapeseed oil
    3 heaped tbsp coriander seeds
    3 heaped tbsp cumin seeds
    3 tbsp smoked paprika
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    3 tbsp dried oregano
    6 lime leaves, chopped
    1 whole nutmeg, for grating
    3 tbsp tomato purée
    250g dried green lentils
    2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
    2 x 400g tins black beans
    3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
    bunch coriander, stalks and leaves seperated and chopped
    1.2 ltrs vegetable stock
    1kg easy cook rice
    good pinch of saffron
    5 limes (zest of all, juice of 3)
    1kg cherry tomatoes, halved
    4 avocados, peeled stoned and sliced
    mixed salad leaves
    sour cream, to serve

    Method
    1. For the chilli, place the onion, garlic, leek and chilli into your largest, heavy-based pan over a medium heat with 3 tbsp rapeseed oil. Fry for about 5 mins, or until softened.
    2. Meanwhile, toast the coriander and cumin seeds together on a medium heat, then grind in a pestle and mortar.
    3. Add the spices, dried herbs and a good grating of nutmeg to the large pan and fry for 2 more mins - if it's a little dry at this point, add a splash of water to help it out. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 mins.
    4. Stir in the lentils. Drain, rinse and stir in the beans, followed by the tomatoes, chopped coriander stalks and the stock.
    5. Bring it all to the boil slowly, then reduce to a low heat and let it bubble away for atleast 1 hour, or until thickened and reduced, stirring every 15-20 mins. Season to taste.
    6. For the saffron rice, put the rice in a pan with twice the amount of cold water, add a few strands of saffron and season well. Bring to the boil gently, and simmer until the water is nearly gone and the rice is light and fluffy, with a little bite.
    7. When ready to serve, combine the lime zest and juice with the tomatoes, avocado, coriander leaves, and mixed salad leaves.
    8. Serve the chilli with the rice, and top with the salad and sour cream.

     

    A Grape Match...

    Trapiche Melodias Malbec 2016

    There's a whole stack of spicy flavours going on in this dish, so a soft, spicy red is the way to go. This is a fresher, lighter style of Malbec, full of bright, cherry and plum fruit, with hints of cocoa and vanilla; it's lively enough to cope with the heady combination of chilli, smoked paprika and cinnamon in the mix.

  • Crumbs!

    Moroccan-Inspired Pacific Bowl

    Ingredients
    glug of olive oil
    2tsp sweet paprika
    1tsp ground cumin
    1tsp ground coriander
    8 organic chicken thighs, boned and skinned (reserve the skin)
    4 tomatoes, cut in half
    2 tbsp harissa paste
    2 medium-sweet potatoes
    1tbsp ras-el-hanout
    1 x 400g tin chickpeas
    200g couscous
    bunch mint, chopped
    bunch coriander, chopped
    handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
    1 red onion
    juice of 1 lime
    1 pomegranate, seeds only
    250ml organic natural yoghurt
    handful of dill, chopped
    garlic clove, grated
    handful of baby spinach per bowl
    1 red chilli, finely chopped
    1/2 lemon, juice only

    Method
    1. Mix the olive oil with 1tsp of the sweet paprika, the ground cumin and ground coriander. Season the mixture, and cover the chicken in it. Leave to marinade, ideally overnight.
    2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
    3. Roast the thighs for 25 mins or until cooked through.
    4. Season the skin and place on a tray between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper. Place another tray on top and roast for 20 mins or until crispy.
    5. Meanwhile, season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and mix with the harissa paste. Roast this in the oven too, for about 20 mins.
    6. once there's room in the oven, roast the sweet potatoes in the ras-el-hanout with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    7. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, before drying them and laying them on a baking tray. Roast in the oven; they can take anywhere from 40 mins to an hour to become crunchy and golden.
    8. Meanwhile, make the couscous. Put the grain in a bowl, sprinkle over 1tsp sweet paprika, add a little olive oil and cover with boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave for 15mins. When it's ready, fluff with a fork and mix in a handful each of mint, coriander and parsley.
    9. Thinly slice the red onion and add to a bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice and add a pinch of salt, and mix. The onions will soften and slightly pickle/cook in the acidity. Add the pomegranate seeds and leave to let the flavours infuse.
    10. Mix the the yoghurt with another handful each of chopped mint, coriander and ill, and the garlic. Stir to combine.
    11. To assemble, place the couscous in each bowland scatter over the chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Next, add a handful of spinach on one side, and the tomatoes the other. Slice the chicken thighs and place two in each bowl. Top with the yoghurt dressing and pomegranate and red onion salsa and crumble over the crispy chicken skin. Finish off with the sliced chilli and lemon juice.
    TIP. To make this vegetarian, use feta and avocado instead of chicken.

     

    A Grape Match...

    Planeta Rosé 2016

    Dry rosés are perfect with this style of Middle Eastern food. This one's strawberry and pink grapefruit flavours pick up the delicate and varied character of the fresh herbs, crunchy pomegranate and sweet ras-al-hanout spice. Vibrant and refreshing, this is the very taste of summer.

  • Crumbs!

    Harvest Burgers

    Ingredients
    thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
    1/2 garlic clove
    250ml toasted sesame oil
    100ml cider vinegar
    100ml tamari
    1 block of smoked or plain tofu
    2 large portabello mushrooms
    1 avocado
    2 bread rolls of your choice
    1 pack of Violife vegan smoked gouda
    2 handfuls of rocket

    Method
    1. First, knock together the marinade by grating in the ginger and the garlic and combining with the sesame oil, vinegar and tamari in a bowl.
    2. Cut the tofu block lengthways and put that and the mushrooms into the marinade. Cover and leave overnight.
    3. Whack the tofu and mushroom on the barbeque.
    4. Mash 1/2 the avocado onto each roll.
    5. Turn the tofu, making sure its gone a little bit crispy. You don't want jelly-like tofu, or to overcook it either. There's a fine line!
    6. Once the tofu is cooked, put two slices of the smoked gouda on top and let it melt for 20 seconds.
    7. Stack up the tofu, a handful of rocket leaves, and the mushroom inside the bun.
    8. Enjoy!

    A Grape Match...


    Columbia Valley Estate Riesling 2015

    The Asian-style marinade here calls for a chilled, aromatic white. This elegant, fruity version from Washington State brims with green apple, lime zest and nectarine, so it has the fruitiness to cope with the sweet and sour flavours.

  • Crumbs!

    Crispy Skinned Pork Belly With Apple And Onion Veloute

     

    Ingredients
    5 garlic cloves
    100ml pomice oil
    handful rosemary, chopped
    handful thyme, chopped
    pork belly (2kg), ribs off
    1/2 pint cider
    knob of butter
    4 shallots chopped
    3 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
    200ml double cream
    12 baby potatoes
    12 baby leeks

    Method
    1. Preheat the oven to 210C/415F/gas mark6
    2. Chop or crush the garlic and mix it with the oil before adding the chopped rosemary and thyme.
    3. Brush the pork belly all over with the mixture (apart from the skin) and season it with salt and pepper.
    4. Put it in the oven, skin side up, for 10 mins. Then pour the cider on the pork belly, put baking paper on the top of the skin, and cover the tray with foil. Turn down the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and let it cook for 90 mins.
    5. Once the pork is ready (the skin should be golden brown) remove from the oven and leave it to cool. Then, press the pork - use an oven tray with something heavy on top - and refridgerate for a minimum of 12 hours. The next day the pork belly is ready to get portioned.
    6. For the veloute, heat the butter in a pan and add shallots and the apples to sweet down until soft. This should take about 10 mins. When they are soft, add the cream. Take the pan off the heat and, using a food processor or a hand blender, puree the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    7. Chop the new potatoes in half and boil until they are soft. Heat some butter in a pan and fry the baby leeks. Just before they are ready, add the new potatoes and season.
    8. Once the veloute and vegetables are almost ready, heat some oil in a pan and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Salt the skin side of each portion of pork belly and place in the pan, skin side down. Fry for 5 mins before putting in the oven for 10 mins to warm the meat through.
    9. To serve, spread 1 tbsp of veloute across the plate, put the new potatoes and baby leeks on top and, when the pork belly is nice and crispy, put it on the top of the vegetables as the hero of the dish.

     

    A Grape Match...

    Ken Forrester's Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016

    Chenin blanc is always a great match for pork with apple, so opt for this multi award winner, which combines a creamy richness of flavour with bold apricot and baked apple character, balancing perfectly with the intensity of the veloute, and the fresh acidity of the apple and herbs.

  • Trimbach Wine Tasting Dinner

    With Julien Trimbach at the Allium Restaurant, Abbey hotel, Bath

     

    Last night's tasting dinner with Julien Trimbach was a great success! With a full house of 66 people and a waiting list with over 10 strong.

    The Trimbach family started growing vines in Alsace almost 400 years ago, and we were delighted to welcome Julien Trimbach (13th generation) to present a tasting dinner of his family’s wines. Julien was a big hit. At only 25 years old his charisma and infectious enthusiasm for Trimbach was clear to see for all and he captivated his audience impeccably.

    The highlights included some super impressive wines including a true rarity of the Cuvée Frederic Emile Riesling 1983 that Julien Trimbach himself was very jealous that we had stock of, as even Trimbach do not sell this anymore, and the legendary Clos Sainte Hune – which may be the world’s finest white wine.

    The food by new Allium Head Chef Rupert Taylor was stunning and truly worthy of his impressive CV, which includes Michelin-starred Newbury Manor, two-starred Whatley Manor and Heston Blumenthal’s three-star The Fat Duck at Bray.

    All in all a brilliant night!

  • Lyme Bay Launch at The Allium

    Celebrate English Wine Week by supporting the launch of the Allium's drinks terrace, where a selection of fabulous Lyme Bay fizzes are being served alongside an array of delicious seafood prepared by their new chef. We look forward to seeing you there!


  • World Malbec Day

    Why is Malbec World Day celebrated on 17th April?

    The origin of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France. Here they’ve been cultivating the grape and making wines with the appellation of Cahors since the days of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, this wine grew in popularity, and this has only increased in modern times.

    Malbec arrived in Argentina in 1853 in the hands of Michel Aimé Pouget, a French agronomist who was hired by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento to carry out the management of the Agricultural Quinta de Mendoza.

    Modelled on France, the initiative proposed adding new grape varieties as a means to enhancing the national wine industry. On 17th April, 1853, with the support of the governor of Mendoza, a project was presented to the Provincial Legislature, with a view to establishing a Quinta Normal and Agricultural School. This project was approved by the House of Representatives on 6th September that year.

    In the late nineteenth century, with the help of Italian and French immigrants, the wine industry grew exponentially and with it, Malbec, which quickly adapted to the various terroirs, and developed with even better results than in its region of origin. Over time, and with a lot of hard work, Malbec emerged as the flagship grape of Argentina.

    For Wines of Argentina, 17th April was not only a symbol of the transformation of Argentina's wine industry, but also the starting point for the development of this grape, an emblem the country worldwide.

    According to Wines of Argentine, “Malbec is not just a wine. It is a fruit that generates work, individuality, culture and development. Each bottle is a declaration of what sets Argentina apart. Each bottle speaks of the hands, the dexterity and the soul of our men. This varietal expresses a way of doing things, a way of life; it involves technique, originality and passion. The deepest wines are born of the deepest longings of their peoples, those who reside in the heart. Malbec is the heart of our industry and continues to be our global ambassador.”

    It’s common knowledge that a glass of Malbec is perfectly accompanied by a hearty steak, but did you know the versatilty of this soulful wine extends far beyond red meat. To celebrate Malbec World Day, we bring you two surprising recipes to pair with Malbec... 

    Veggies + Malbec

     

    Porcini Mushroom Pasta

    1 cup dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 ½ cups of hot water for 1 hour
    400 gr pappardelle or fettucini (the egg-based varieties are best)
    2 garlic clove
    1 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup red wine
    2 tbsp grated Parmesan
    3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring some water to the boil and then pour it over your dried porcini mushrooms. This will make them nice and tender and bring out the full flavour of the mushrooms. Let them sit for at least an hour.

    Time cooking your pasta to be ready at the same time the sauce is – you’ll add it to the pan that you're making the sauce to saute together when it's ready. Put the water on to boil for the pasta, then get started on the sauce.

    Once the porcini mushrooms have soaked, drain them and save the water. In a deep sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and heat on medium. Crush the garlic and sauté with the butter and olive oil until fragrant. Add the red wine and let the liquid absorb. Then add the porcini mushroom water and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Now you can add the pasta to boiling water.

    Once the pasta is in the water, stir the cream into the porcini mushroom sauce and add your salt and pepper. Let it simmer and thicken until the pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta and rinse delicately in cold water to stop the cooking process. Now add the pasta to the sauce and toss or fold the pasta into the porcini mushroom sauce.

    Sprinkle with the Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmesan to serve.

    Chocolate + Malbec

     

    Dark Chocolate and Malbec Ice Cream

    160g dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids)
    300ml double cream
    1/2 can condensed milk (approx~198ml)
    400ml of Malbec

    In a saucepan reduce the 400ml of Malbec on a medium heat until there's approximately 6-8 tbsps left, then set it aside to cool down.

    Break the dark chocolate up and melt it until it's runny and smooth. You can do this however you want, in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the double cream and condensed milk until you reach stiff peaks. Then fold in the chocolate and the reduced Malbec until it's all mixed in.

    Pour the mixture into a 500ml freezable container, you can buy disposable pots online, use a tupperware box or just pour it into a cake tin a la moi. Make sure you cover the ice cream with a lid or tightly wrap it in clingfilm, then put it in the freezer for 6 hours.

    Before you serve the ice cream take it out of the freezer for about 15 minutes to loosen up.

    Receive up to 20% off all Malbec in celebration of Malbec World Day | ends midnight Monday 17th April >

  • Introducing NOYA's Kitchen

    We love any excuse to taste delicious food, and even more so when we have the challenge of matching up wines to challenging dishes. We also love working with local people, because that's what we're all about. So we're thrilled to have teamed up with Bath's vietnamese cookery school guru, Noya Pawlyn, who runs one of the most successful weekly pop up supper clubs in the city.

    Every month, we'll be sharing one of Noya's mouthwatering, and easy-to-make recipes with you, to bring the unique flavours of Vietnam to your table!  And, with all good dishes, you need a good wine, so we've asked food and wine matching expert Angela Mount to pick the ideal wine to accompany each recipe.

    Enjoy…

    Ginger and Chilli Chicken with Green Peppercorn

    Ga Xao Gung | serves 4 people

    Chicken Marinade
    500g chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
    ½ tsp chilli flakes
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp brown sugar

    Ingredients
    50g ginger, cut into matchsticks
    2 tbsp fresh green pepper corns (substitute for 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper if none available)
    3 cloves of chopped garlic
    1 onion, finely sliced
    3 fresh whole chillies (use less if you like it less spicy)
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 tsp toasted sesame

    Sauce
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tsp dark soya sauce (optional for darker colour)
    ½ tsp corn flour
    90ml of water or coconut water

    Marinate
    In a large bowl, combine the chicken and ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Cover for 30 minutes, or if you have time place in the fridge over night.

    Cooking
    1. In a hot wok, add the oil and stir fry the ginger until it's fragrant. Move the ginger to the side of the wok and add the sliced onion and whole chillies, frying until fragrant. Move all the ingredients to the side.
    2. Add the chicken to the wok, browning on both sides. Mix the ginger and onion together with the chicken. Then add the garlic, green pepper corn and mix well.
    3. Mix the sauce ingredients together and add to the wok, stirring for a few minutes. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins on a low heat.
    4. Remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce for about 5-10 mins, or to the constancy you like. Stir in the sesame oil and transfer to a dish.
    5. Garnish with the sesame seeds, coriander and serve with Jasmine rice.

    Come along to Noya’s Kitchen's cooking classes to learn more about this wonderful aromatic cuisine.

    Click here to book your classes >

     

    Wine Match

    I love Noya’s clever sleight of hand with her dishes; from the most delicately flavoured of Summer rolls, to strong, punchy, assertive curries like this one, all of which are also stunningly presented. In the interest of research, I felt obliged to try making this one myself last week, and was delighted at how straightforward it was. I know I fell far short of Noya’s legendary presentation, but my guests certainly didn’t complain, and it was utterly delicious – perfect for this time of year, when we’re between seasons.

    So, what to serve? There’s a long-held myth that chunky red wines don’t go with spicy food, but the fact is that they do work, as long as you choose carefully.  It’s all about balance; whilst an aromatic Riesling would go well, sometimes with a rich, flavoursome, warming curry, a bold, velvety red is what’s needed...

    Vina Falernia Carmenere Reserva 2014 | £13.75 

    is my wine of choice for this dish – there’s a riot of different flavours in Noya’s curry – the heat of chillies and green peppercorns, the sweetness of soya, oyster sauce and brown sugar, and the sweet and sour pungency of ginger and fish sauce. All mingle seamlessly to create this sumptuous dish, but make wine matching a challenge. Chilean Carmenere is generally a good match with curry, with its bold, warm, cardamom and spicy character, and this one goes one step further. Produced at high altitude in the rocky hills of the Elqui valley, Vina Falernia are the most northern vineyards in Chile, perched on the edge of the desert. Why does this wine work, with this barrage of sweetness and heat?  Partly because the wine is made in an ‘Amarone’ style, where a proportion of the grapes are dried before they are fermented – this makes for a richer, more intense, more voluptuous red, which has the power and character to match the dish. With its welcoming scents of dark berries, bitter chocolate and warm spice, and its rich, brooding, yet incredibly soft flavours, this ticks all the boxes.

     

    By Angela Mount

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