The Wasp - Closing doors

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Unseasonal warm weather heralded in January 2016 but was quickly followed by an icy wind that swept away some of our better known chefs and restauranteurs. One by one top names announced closures, Claude Bosi, Hix, Richard Caring, Allegra McEvedy and others all put up For Sale signs. Even the high priest of politically correct eating Ottolenghi has been forced to shutter his Covent Garden eaterie... (more)

 

The Wasp - Wine whine

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I always look forward to February 1st each year following my monthly abstinence from all kinds of alcohol during the preceding month. I feel it's only fair to give my liver and perhaps, more importantly, my mind a rest from the highs and lows which invariably follow after excessive tippling over the festive season.

This year as always, I celebrated the first day of the second month with a gourmet supper and a good natter with a friend, who is not only a great imbiber but a fountain of knowledge of the demon drink. For our annual get together I served a delightful wine from Rueda, an area that I know well. Half way through the evening, I had one of those moments when you suddenly realise the cost of what is swiftly heading down your throat. I seethed as the two bottles totalled £26. This is not excessive, but my seethe was exacerbated by the fact that I remembered only  a few months ago whilst in Spain the same two bottles in a bar cost me only £8. My guest told me he had long given up financing wine merchants and supermarkets by shipping in wine directly.

I have never come across a poor wine merchant but to be fair to the trade, this country has some of the highest taxes on wine anywhere in Europe. I distinctly remember when we joined the EEC being promised that so many goods including wine would become much cheaper and would be on par with our European neighbours. What a con! Successive governments have done nothing but break those promises by continually ladling even more punitive taxes on imported wines and spirits. Excise duty on wine is £2.06.  Then of course there is the shopkeeper's profit and  another lump of tax to the government at 20% VAT.

Well, I have had enough of paying through the nose so after contacting the wine producer I have just received one case including shipping for £90 a saving of £66.

There are quite a number of  Spanish companies now shipping wines and spirits to the UK with huge savings and delivery within seven days. Incidentally, my delightful wine is a Verdejo called Adrede and can be purchased directly from Bodegabierta.es. They also have a fabulous shop and wine gallery in Madrid where you can also order wines at despacioarteyvino.com.


A. Tippler,
11th February 2016

From the back of the shelf: Cookbook Quote No. 5

Louis Diat


Louis Diat is probably best known for inventing Vichyssoise, or Crème Vichyssoise Glacée as it was first titled, in 1917 when he was chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York. This extract, however, concerns sauces rather than soups and is taken from Sauces, French and Famous, by Louis Diat, first published in Great Britain in 1955 by Hammond and Hammond.  M. Diat paints a vivid picture of a nervous young trainee in the kitchen of a great chef awaiting the verdict on his sauces. Read it here.

 

 

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The Rich Tradition: Episode 4 Mediterranean Seafood

04 mediterranean seafood

In this episode, Elisabeth Luard visits the fishing ports of San Remo and Murano in Italy, and Marseille in France.

Watch the video here.

The Rich Tradition: Episode 5 France

05-France

This episode finds Elisabeth Luard enjoying the lifestyle in Provence in South-Eastern France.

Watch the video here.

Ella's Blog 10

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Ella's first reaction to the subject of her latest entry, Fermenting, was 'ew'.

Did she change her mind?

Fermentation


The Wasp - A Little of What You Fancy...

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Once again it’s all change. It’s now apparently dangerous not to eat fat when just yesterday it did terrible things to your heart and cholesterol levels.... (more)

 

For all items of waspishness click here

 

Ella's Blog 11

Ella 1Cheese Pie Man 1

Meet Ella's Cheese Pie Man in her latest blog entry...

 

Another Glass, Please - no. 2

 

Court Garden


Court Garden

 

 It wasn’t my intention to review another sparkling wine quite so soon but when something so special, so impressive and, frankly, so much of the moment comes along it would be a crime to let it pass....

Read on

A new series by Richard Dudley Craig

Another Glass, Please - no. 4

 

Vouvray-Sec-2016 main


Richard Dudley Craig declares this Vouvray Sec to be a "smashing summer wine". 


Read on...