Made good use of a friends free ticket to The Wine Show and Master Chef Live, bumped into several people I knew, which was nice. Surprisingly sociable for such a huge event.
I spent the bulk of my time at The Wine Show, as the Master Chef Live stands on the whole were very busy.
The event was not restricted to just wine, as delicatessens such as Gastronomic were there, along with chocolatiers such as Chocolate and Love. There was also the rather amusing Mad Cow Fudge company, selling fudge “Made by cows from Yorkshire who like their Huddersfield”. Their Christmas Pudding fudge is a real winner.
On the wine front we tried several very good wines. Wines of Chile for example had successfully matched their wines with some delicious Benares curries. I also had an interesting chat with Mark Hellyar of Chateau Civrac on popularising wines from the Bordeaux region, and sampled a couple of their full bodied wines. Chateau Civrac supply wines to several restaurants including Benares. I then moved on to the next stand Cantina Cirotto to try their rather lovely Prosecco. We also had a short presentation on what makes a good dessert wine from Tastour and enjoyed a nice glass of German Eiswein.
The highlight however had to be the Coutts Private Cellar, where Tim Atkin gave his presentation and several high end wine merchants provided samples of their wares. My personal favorite was the Cascina Bongiovanni Barola Pernanne 2004 from Colasanti (£71.50 RPR) . The food plates from British Fine Foods were a perfect accompaniment – I know where I am ordering my Christmas goodies from.
Had breakfast at Gastronomica in Pimlico, a cafe/deli that advertises itself quite rightly as Piemonte in Pimlico.
Actually Gastronomica is a lot more that just this one cafe/deli. They have several market stalls (including one at Borough Market) and another couple of cafes in Wapping and Manchester as well as a wholesale food business.
The cafe in the heart of Pimlico is not that pretty from the outside, as it is located in an unattractive red brick block of shops behind a rather garish red awning.
Inside it is much more attractive, the Cafe area consists of a couple of large wooden tables and a few smaller ones, surrounded by shelves of Italian Wine and cabinets full of wonderful meats and cheese. The menu is quite small, mainly Italian sandwiches, cheese and meat boards and salads, but everything looks really good.
My breakfast was just a simple ham and cheese tostado, served with a really good cup of coffee. They also had a selection of cakes, which were inviting enough for me to want to make a return visit to try them along with another cup of that coffee. It’s always good to find an alternative to the ubiquitous Starbucks and Cafe Nero coffee shops.
This place captures the best of Italy. It’s very laid back, I particularly liked the way they went off menu to please a family that just wanted toast and jam for their kids. You definitely don’t see that in Starbucks.
UPDATE : January 2011, returned for coffee and cake, had a piece of strawberry and pannacotta cheese cake, and another cup of their great coffee. I also bought some Delizia Mandorla (Almond Cakes) which are lovely with a glass of Amaretto.