Old year, new year
It’s November. The grapes have all been harvested – in
the Pebblebed vineyards at Ebford, at Mario’s hilltop sites
in the lofty and majestic Barolo wine region, across Giuditta’s
beautiful Castelli di Jesi countryside above Ancona, in Donatella’s
vineyards at Trequanda and Montalcino, and elsewhere too. The juice
from the pressed grapes , through the action of yeast feeding on
natural grape sugars, has has been transformed during the first
or tumultuous fermentation into an alcoholic beverage that is now
almost potable. .Indeed, for our October Italian Table bagna cauda
evening, we tasted the first of this year’s ‘wine’ when
Mario Fontana brought over with him unlabelled bottles of a precocious
new Dolcetto, drawn direct from the vats, far too young, tooth-stainingly
purple, raspingly rich in acid, yet a vivid and magical taste of
the new year!
The Vino Kitchen
Our Vino Kitchen evenings in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar have
been a wonderful success and we now have a waiting list for most
of our monthly get-togethers. Our ‘formula’ is very
basic and straightforward: homecooked, mainly Italian 2-course
meals prepared by Marc and Kim (with a little help from friends
and family!) and served in the convivial atmosphere of Geoff’s
wonderful Pebblebed Tasting Cellar across the road from us, accompanied
of course by the range of Vino Italian as well as Pebblebed wines.
We’re never quite sure what we’ll be cooking each
month as it depends on what is available and in-season as well
as what we’re fancying at the time.
Here's the menu for our next Italian
Table on November 18th.
'Pasta e fasoi'
Venetian style pasta and beans in a rich duck broth
Pollo alle cacciatore
Chicken 'hunter style' braised with wild mushrooms, pancetta, wine
Pecorino cheese with Tuscan honey
for 2 courses (£10 for Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed
members) plus £3.50 for optional cheese or pudding.
STOP PRESS November Italian Table Fully Booked
December Festive Italian Table
On December 16th, we’ll
celebrate in the Cellar with a special “Festive
Italian Table” . The evening will kick off with a Bellini
cocktail and we’ll then serve a special festive 3 course
meal with suggested wines to accompany. £25 for 3 courses
and Bellini cocktail (£20 for CV and FoP members). A few
places still available.
Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed renewals
renewals for membership of Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed are
now due, with the new year's membership starting from November
1. Geoff and I hope that you value the benefits of being part of
our wine communities. The modest membership fee will quickly be
recouped with wine purchases over the coming holidays, and with
the members' costs to events such as our Vino Kitchen Italian Table
events. Other advantages are the private members tasting and parties
that we do from time to time, happenings in the Pebblebed vineyard,
and a possible trip in 2010 to the wine country. It has been a
few years now since we last made a Club Vino trip to Italy, and
should there be sufficient interest, we will be looking to do this
in the coming year.
the Vino/Pebblebed membership application/renewal form here.
We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our
Note: For anyone who has joined Club Vino or Friends of Pebblebed
in 2009, your membership will be extended until November 2010.
Town Mill Bakery: Great locally baked artisan bread available
at Route 2
Some very exciting news: at last Topsham will have great
bread. Town Mill Bakery, originally from Lyme Regis, has now opened
a very impressive wholesale bakery on the edge of Topsham at Odhams
Wharf. There, on a nightly basis (baking until 2am) the bakers
are hand-producing a quite wonderful range of breads made with
organic flour from Shipton Mill: San Francisco style sourdough,
bloomers, walnut bread, NY deli rye, foccaccia, spelt, workers
white, cob, wholemeal and white crowns, and much more. Most of
this is destined for Riverford Organics, where it is distributed
nationally within Riverford's vegetable box scheme.
Town Mill Bakery breads are now also available in Route 2 Cafe
Bar on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Please drop to sample the
breads, and support this exciting initiative. Well done, Liz!
For further information about Town Mill Bakery see: http://www.townmillbakery.com/
Risotto al Barbera
As the nights draw in, this simple
risotto al Barbera is a sublimely comforting dish, and absolutely
fabulous accompanied by a glass (or two or three) of Cascina
Fontana Barbera d’Alba.
Heat olive oil with a
little butter in a large saucepan, and gently sauté the
chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice, stir well to
coat with the oil, and continue to toast for a few minutes, until
the grains of rice are hot to the touch.
Add the Barbera and allow
to simmer and evaporate. Then add, a ladle or two at a time, the
boiling hot chicken stock, stirring frequently, while the rice
absorbs the liquid. Continue to add the stock in this manner until
the rice is just al dente (about 18-20 minutes).
Taste and season
with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a generous knob
of butter and a couple of heaping spoonfuls of freshly ground parmigiano
reggiano, beating it in to the risotto with a wooden spoon.
Serve immediately as a first course,
accompanied by Mario Fontana’s
exquisite Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005.
Best to all,
Marc and Kim