a community of wine lovers


May 2012


From the monsoons of April and early May, it seems we have suddenly emerged into something like summer - or at least let's hope we have. And what a brilliant start to what will be an amazing and special few months: the Olympic torch passed through Exeter just last week and the Jubilee celebrations are nearly upon us. A time, certainly, to celebrate.

Vino Kitchen Update
I was in Italy and Portugal through May and Kim has been abroad too which is why there was no May Vino Kitchen. Our next event will be Wednesday June 20th for our now annual Vino Kitchen Topsham Table, an evening of particularly local foods and produce. The next Vino Kitchen Italian Table will then take place on Wednesday July 25th. For both events, it's the usual Vino formula: a set three-course meal (vegetarian option available) that costs £15 for current Club Vino members and £18.50 for non-members. Everyone sits together at the Pebblebed communal trestle tables. Italian and Pebblebed wines are available by the glass or bottle. To book your places, please email me as soon as possible at marc@vino.co.uk.


Nello's Longest Table and Topsham's Jubilee celebrations
Nello's Longest Table will be the centrepiece of this weekend's Topsham Food Festival as well as the centrepiece of Topsham's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Indeed, it is an event that seems set to attract attention not just locally but even globally. Sky News, fresh from covering the Royal Flotilla in London, have decided that our community street party so encapsulates the spirit of the nation and that they will be broadcasting their evening news show live from Topsham to an audience around the world! Global interest or not, I'm simply delighted that we have been able to realise an idea that was originally Nello Ghezzo's for this, the third time. It's really a very simple idea: to create a table snaking all the way through the centre of Topsham at which everyone in our community is welcome to sit down together to share food, drink and above all friendship. This is the great legacy that a very special friend of Topsham has left to our community.


Vino NLT/Jubilee special offers
This is a weekend to celebrate, to eat, drink and be merry. Accordingly, we have three special offers for some of our most popular wines:

Prosecco Bisol Jeio n/v normal price £12.90 (£11.90 CV) Festival weekend price £10.90 per bottle
This summery, fresh, green apply sparkler has a creamy, soft fruit that makes it simply gulpable - yet it also has structure and complexity too, a wine that is at once fitting to toast a Queen, and delicious enough to drink the whole night through.

Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d'Alba 2010 normal price £11.90 (£10.90 CV) Festival weekend price £10
Mario Fontana, Nello and I go back a very long way, some 20 years or more in fact. Mario's wines were in Nello's Ristorante and Nello and I stopped in Alba where we were met by Mario en route to Venice on our 'Ride for Life' cycle from Topsham to Venice in 1997. So Mario's wines mean a lot to me and it is quite fitting to enjoy them on this special occasion. Perhaps, though, not his bigger, more serious reds such as Barbera, Nebbiolo and Barolo, but for this occasion the delightful Dolcetto d'Alba, softer with less tannin and acidity, a wine that you can even enjoy slightly chilled if it turns out to be a scorcher.

Cascina Fontana Dorato Moscato 2011 normal price £11 (£10 CV) Festival weekend price £9
Frivolous and fun, this gorgeous, gulpable, grapey wine is lightly sweet and has only 5.5% alcohol, so you can drink it till the cows come home. A wine to enjoy for breakfast, elevenses, with tea and cakes, or, towards the end of Nello's Longest Table, to dip Devon strawberries into and sip while watching the sun go down over the Underway.

To order wines, please email marc@vino.co.uk. Wines will be available for collection from me at your convenience (free local delivery for case orders) and I will be in the Pebblebed Cellar on Saturday June 2nd from 11am until 12.30pm.


Topsham Food Festival events/news

Coffee Class at Route 2 Thursday May 31 6-8pm tickets £5 -- The first food festival event taking place is a special Coffee evening at Route 2 with Dave Stanton. Dave is quite simply a coffee fanatic and he's hugely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. He'll be taking us through the history of coffee, roasting some green beans, demonstrating different means of extraction, showing how to pull the perfect espresso shot, and giving a hands-on masterclass in milk texturing and latte art.

Topsham Food Festival events on Saturday June 2nd

'Jubilation' - it's a street party along Ferry Road from the end of Underway to the Passage Inn - tables with bric-a-brac, books, Jubilee souvenirs and more. From noon until 5pm and at 6.30pm a fish and chips supper provided by the Passage.

Topsham's Longest Art - Methodist Hall 10am-5pm Topsham's community art project now on display. Come along to view and to vote for your favourite piece.

International Cheese Challenge at Pebblebed Cellar 11am-4pm - Once again Greg Parsons is assembling an amazing array of local, national and international cheeses for you to taste and judge. For just £1 you can taste 5 cheeses and give your opinion of what you think is the best.

Mini-Food Festival on Topsham Quay 1-6pm - An array of foodie fun events, demos and tasting will be taking place on Topsham Quay throughout the Saturday afternoon including cupcake decorating, pasta making, a talk on sustainable fishing followed by a fish demo, Topsham museum cake stall, sausage making with Tony from Arthurs, local juice and cider, Dutch street food, music and more. Fun for the whole family and free admission.

Music and Food on Topsham Quay 6-11pm - From 6pm there will be live music from an array of Topsham music groups and bands, starting with the Windbags wind quintet and including Topsham's Rock School, Max & Joe, Freddie House, Georgia Slade, Just for Kicks and King Shambles. There will be food and drink available on the Quay including a Darts Farm hog roast, our own Vino Kitchen American brisket, a Lighter Inn bbq, Route 2 mackerel baps and crepes, Pebblebed and Vino wines and more. All musicians are local and playing for free and there is no admission charge so just come along.

Topsham Food Festival and Jubilee events at Darts Farm Jubilee Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday - Throughout the Jubilee weekend there will be food events, in-store tastings and demonstrations and more going on at Darts Farm. One of the main aims of the Topsham Food Festival is to highlight the excellence of food and drink on our doorstep. Darts Farm is a great showcase for the best of local and Devon food and drink.

Nello's Longest Table Sunday June 3rd

Please support Topsham's outstanding food and drink shops for your meals of local and locally sourced foods for Nello's Longest Table.

Nello's Longest Table Sunday June 3rd - the highlight of the festival and Jubilee weekend.

2pm Set up starts so please come along and lend a hand. Hopefully all tables will be in place by 4pm and in some cases much earlier so you can begin to set up, bring your chairs, table decorations, food, bbq or whater.

5pm Unofficial start time for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles

6.05 A toast to HM the Queen followed by the singing of the National Anthem. Then the party begins.

Around 10pm Finish is usually at dark and all tables need to be returned either to Matthews Hall or the Quay. Please help anyone who needs assistance and take away your rubbish, recycling as much as you can.

Radio Exe 107.3 FM

Important: we aren't having a PA system this year but we do have a novel way to keep everyone in touch. Radio Exe 107.3FM are going to be broadcasting 'as live' direct from Nello's Longest Table. So please bring a portable radio to have on your table in order to hear the toasts, sing along with the National Anthem (and maybe a few other songs), hear interviews and enjoy mellow Jubilee inspired tunes by Paul Nero back in the studio. Please spread the word - it's important that everyone brings a radio for this to work!

Finally, let's all have a collective finger crossing in the hope that the weather once more will be kind for us. The forecast at the moment is for it to be dry if one the cool side - but as everyone knows, that can quickly change. In case of inclement weather, be prepared and bring gazebos, umbrellas, foul weather oilskins, whatever it takes - for the party will go on, come what may.

We look forward to seeing you - and to raising a glass both to HM the Queen and in memory of our old friend Nello.

Marc and Kim




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