Archive for the ‘wine’ Category

Wintry day at Guildford farmers market

December 4, 2012
Guildford farmers market

Guildford farmers market

The grass was wet this morning, no frost. Whether it had been frosty, raining or heavy dew, I do not know.

Walking along the River Wey, it had dropped a couple of feet or more compared with a week ago.

I looked in Debenhams. Only turkey, no roast pork, which is what I was looking forward to.

Blocking access to the dropped curb as cross Quarry Street is a large A-board. It has been there every day since mid-October. Guildford know about it, Surrey know about it, but worthless jobsworth at Surrey would rather sit on their backsides and wait until a frail elderly person trips over it and fractures a few bones. Card Aid should be prosecuted for wilful highway obstruction.

An interesting stall of wood carvings, new to the market. The guy, Matthew Crabb, had come up from Somerset. He had a couple of folders of his work. Amazing wood carvings, often entire trees in situ. I suggested he may wish to contact Godalming Museum as they may be interested in exhibiting his work. I also suggested take a trip downstream along the River Wey as there are some wood carvings.

Off the Celtic baker, a loaf, a blueberry flapjack, and I thought I would try a couple of his mince pies.

A stall sells pies of various kinds. They are very good. Last month I got a pasty. I settled down looking forward to it for my tea, only to find I had left it on the stall. I told the lady, and she said help yourself to another one.

Off a Game stall (game as in pheasants not computers) four of his sausages. Very expensive, a pound per kilo (or maybe more) than Gloucester Old Spot (a rare breed pig) from Waitrose. A pity he is restricted to fancy highly spiced foreign sausages. But, last least like the butcher on North Street on the Friday street market, everything is loose. Pre-packed on a farmers market goes against everything a farmers market stands for.

As does serving hot food in McBurger boxes. This is totally unacceptable and there is no excuse for doing so, as there are alternatives on the market that are recyclable. Polystyrene goes to either landfill or incineration. Food for Thought in Covent Garden uses recyclable containers, as does Iydea in North Laine in Brighton.

I was pleased to see Kai Jansen back in the High Street playing his guitar. The last time I saw him was in Alton, and that was a year ago at least. We had a chat about bandcamp. I said it was a must for his music, he gets as good deal, as do the fans who wish to listen to, share and download his music, and it gets him known to a much wider audience than playing in Guildford High Street.

I was pleased to see the stalls selling wine and beer are now back to their usual pitches, not as November farmers market. They have to periodically move because only twelve markets are licensed, thus have to then do an additional licence. Whilst it is no problem in terms of setting up a stall, it is a problem in terms of lost business for people used to finding stall in a specific location.

By no means the fault of the market organiser. This is people who licence the market playing the fool. It is not as though we have drunken scum on the street in contrast to the problems caused by the large bars on Bridge Street on a Friday and Saturday night to which the same licensing fools turn a blind eye even though it turns Guildford town centre into a no-go area as it is ok if Big Business is making money. It is only the Street Angels who are keeping the lid on.

I was pleased to see different stalls trade between themselves. Maybe take this further, a distribution system with produce from all the suppliers. Worth thinking about.

I want to scream when I see stall holders with a cup of coffee from Costa in their hands. If they want us to support small producers, then they should do the same. Go up the High Street to Tunsgate. Go into Tunsgate, walk to the end, and there on the left, just before Ben’s Records, is Gluton & Glee, from where you can get real coffee.

Always support indie coffee shops, not chains like Costa or Starbucks (who dodge tax).

It was a very cold day, with a very cold wind blowing. If I stopped at any stall for more than a few minutes, I felt very cold. I felt sorry for those running the stalls.

Too cold to hang about on the street. I walked back down the High Street to take lunch at Debenhams. A big mistake. I should have gone to the Thai restaurant top of the High Street in Jeffies Passage or carried on over the Bridge and to the Keystone behind St Nicolas Church. No turkey left, only a scraggly bit of chicken, vegetables cold, tables not cleared and dirty.

I decided to hop on a bus to Godalming and have tea and cake in Cafe Mila. Had I been a minute earlier or people at the bus stop I would have caught the bus that sailed past. I did not fancy waiting 15 minutes in the cold for the next bus (and that is assuming on time).

I retraced my steps, back over the bridge. I was going to ask in Starbucks, was it true, their appalling working condition, but it was very busy. What is wrong with people, do they not care Starbucks dodges tax, serves lousy coffee?

I looked in Waterstone’s. One solitary copy of NeverSeconds.

Then walk to the station and catch a train.

Guildford holds a farmers market in the High Street on the first Tuesday of the month. The next farmers market will be February 2013.

Guildford farmers market has a facebook page, but if you work at the council you are not allowed to look at it. You are not allowed to look at this blog either.

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

June 18, 2012
Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

My lovely Russian friend Lena and I had decided we would dine at Nicolas Tavern.

Earlier in the evening we had walked along the coast to a farm, where we picked up two honeydew melons, courtesy of the farmer.

We were tired and hungry, but at least after a shower were feeling refreshed.

We had decided on kleftico, a traditional Greek-Cypriot dish, lamb cooked slowly slowly for many hours in a wood-fired clay oven. We had sampled kleftico the week before when we had a drink at Nicolas Tavern.

The wine was therefore red. Lena wanted sweet. I said no. We compromised on medium dry.

I called the head waiter over: Your best medium dry red please.

He brought over Status 99. Lena tried and said it was good.

But no kleftico, they had run out. We settled on fish. I had sea bream (at least I think that is what it was). I am not sure what Lena had.

For starters we had the most delicious chicken soup, served in enormous bowls, a meal in itself.

For desert strawberries and cream. I would have preferred strawberries with Greek yoghurt, much nicer. On Mykonos I used to have for breakfast at a lovely taverna raspberries and strawberries and Greek yoghurt.

Cypriot strawberries are not as nice as English strawberries. Lena added not as nice as Russian either.

Status 99, a full-bodied red wine, not exactly the ideal choice for fish, we should have had white wine, but we did not know there was no kleftico when we ordered. Fish needs a lighter wine. A full-bodies red like Status 99 ideal for a heavy meat dish like kleftico.

Nevertheless we enjoyed Status 99, an excellent choice, even if it did not quite match the main dish of fish.

Why Status 99? A question I asked Nicolas the next day. The name is from the village, Statos Ayios Fotios. Why 99? Not known.

Status 99 comes from a family vineyard Kolios Winery, high on the hills outside Paphos. The vineyards are owned by the Kolios family, planted by their grandparents on the slopes high above Paphos.

Like many of the wines at Nicolas Tavern, Status 99 comes from a family vineyard, quality wines to go with the quality food.

I asked Lena did she enjoy the wine? She replied yes. When we left I ordered another bottle for her to take home.

Nicolas Tavern is a traditional Greek-Cypriot taverna in Protaras. The restaurant to eat in Protaras. The only one with a traditional wood-fired clay oven. Kleftico to die for!

Organic wine in eco-friendly tetra paks?

July 28, 2010

These words do not sit easily on my tongue, organic wine tetra paks, eco-friendly tetra paks. They are uneasy bedfellows, an oxymoron at the very least.

My lovely friend Sian and I were on an Alice day out. We were in Guildford for a performance of Alice in Court at the Guildhall and whilst in Guildford we looked at the Lewis Carroll exhibits in Guildford House and the Guildford Museum. All part of Curiouser and Curiouser, a programme of walks, talks and events to celebrate the life and legacy of Lewis Carroll who lived in Guildford.

We ended up at Jamie’s Italian. Well to be exact, we ended up drinking outside the Old Ford in North Camp. Let us say we dined that evening at Jamie’s Italian.

Whilst we were ordering, Sian drew my attention to an item on the menu that had caught her eye. Organic house wine in eco-friendly tetra paks which the waiter would be happy to decant at our table.

The mind boggles. To say the least we were baffled.

House wine is usually ordered in bulk and served in a carafe, or comes in bottles with no label. What self-respecting wine producer would put his wine, organic wine at that, in tetra paks? Wine in cartoons is the rubbish you take to parties when you do not wish to take a decent bottle, and this was tetra paks. Tetra paks are more or less impossible to recycle due to their composite laminar construction. Or were these special biodegradable tetra paks that we had not seen or heard of? But then the wine would be intended to be drunk very young, as the pak would disintegrate.

We were intrigued. We called over our waiter and said we wished to know more. He did not know, and went to speak to his manager. He did not know either. He brought over a tetra pak of organic wine. As far as we could see this was an ordinary tetra pak. There was nothing on the pak to indicate otherwise, though it did say it could be recycled.

A message was sent to Jamie Oliver, but we got no reply whilst we were eating and I have heard nothing from him since. Maybe he will write a comment!

A question I should have asked but didn’t was what does the restaurant do with the empty tetra paks, do they go in a general waste stream or are they recycled? I can guess what the answer would have been (and maybe I will pop back and ask) but it would have been interesting to hear what they had to say.

We then had fun devising a Monty Python comedy sketch.

Waiter turns up with a tetra pak in his hand. Is this to Sir’s liking? He then, with hand behind back, carefully decants the wine from a tetra pak.

It goes without saying that we declined the offer of organic house wine decanted from a tetra pak.

Wines from Cyprus

May 27, 2010
Wines from Cyprus

Wines from Cyprus

I enjoyed drinking the Alina at the weekend sitting in my garden with my lovely friend Sian. The Alina we found to be a very pleasant dry white wine.

Cyprus wines

May 25, 2010
Cyprus wines

Cyprus wines

Cyprus wines courtesy of Nicolas Tavern and Sunrise Beach Hotel in Protaras.