October 6th, 2008

Sherry & Heston

Coco&Me - Heston Blumenthal - The Sherry Institute of Spain - cocoandme.com

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Last Monday I was invited to a Heston Blumenthal event held by The Sherry Institute of Spain. I spent the evening sipping five types of beautiful Sherry, nibbling on small but very tasty Heston canapés – all in the name of “finding the perfect food pairings with Sherry”.

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((Heston Blumenthal is the chef & owner of The Fat Duck, a three Michelin starred restaurant here in the UK. He’s most famous for his scientific approach to techniques & flavours (coined molecular gastronomy) & pushing the culinary boundaries. – For example, he makes ‘aerated chocolate soufflé’ by use of a vacuum jar to increase expansion of bubbles during food preparation…!))

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I was expecting a lecture-like situ, where we all sit down facing one direction. But instead, it was like a party. After an hour of drinking Palo Cortado Sherry (the best tasting one of the evening in my opinion), topped-up with more & more Sherry (bring it on waiter!), Heston gave a speech for about five minutes, then one-by-one, different types of Sherry & suggested foods were handed to us with accompanying notes – for us to critique. Although me & my girl-pal “L” found it all a bit giggly, because the glasses & glasses of Sherry were an intoxicating 20% alcohol content, &, coupled with accompanied by “L” that I haven’t seen for a while, it became a rather merry evening!
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The Sherry & food combo’s were:

  • Olorosopaired withSmoked mackerel & coriander seeds rillettes. – The aroma notes of prune, hazelnut, molasses & figs balanced the smoky & oily flavour of the fish.
  • Finopaired withGruyere fondue & ground cloves. – The stone fruit element in the wine worked well with the cheese.
  • Manzanillapaired with - Crab with paprika on toasted country bread. – Unripe peaches & green apple aroma. Crisp acidity.
  • Amontilladopaired withPata negra ham, peaches, balsamic vinegar, rocket & marcona almonds. – Woody & spicy aroma with balsamic note.
  • Pale Creampaired withScotch quails egg. – Nutty, meaty, smoky, fruity aromas.

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In all, the flavours of the foods were perfectly extended by the Sherry. We were very much impressed with it all, & were hmm-ing & ahh-ing with every one of them. Undoubtedly, eating a three Michelin starred Heston food (& in his presence) was exciting, & every plate was indeed “perfection”, just like his book title.
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The most notable by far was the scotch egg. Firstly, I looove scotch egg. And this one had quails egg which I dig more than chicken egg too. AND I don’t know HOW, but the egg was still “soft-boiled”, gorgeous yolk still oozing. Pork sausage meat juicy n’ bouncy. Ahhhh-mazing.

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So I guess you’re wondering what the purpose of the event was & how I got to be there. Well, it was all about debunking the myth that Sherry is only to be drank at Christmas, & that it can be enjoyed with simple dishes that can be made at home, all year round. – And indeed, it was a definite eye opener for me. I really enjoyed drinking it, & if you can handle the alcohol, why not have it with your dinner? Count me in to the ‘convinced’ vote. – As for why I was invited, they think food bloggers can spread the word just like journalists can. Well, if it’s a fab food event like this, please invite me again – please.

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“L” & I sat comfortably on a sofa in the corner of the room all evening. I guess we ought to have mingled, but, it seemed to be full of industry-types, & what am I going to say to them? Hi, I’m just a market stall holder? Anyway, we left when it was starting to get uncomfortable – it is a PR exercise afterall. Not for two (tipsy) girls to giggle about at. There were to be two more dishes, apparently eccles cake with stilton and Sherry butter, & then a Sherry custard cream trifle with even more Sherry tastings – but any more Sherry would’ve been a bad move anyway – I’m surprised as it is that I got home without sleeping on the train! (I nearly did…)
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Coco&Me - Heston Blumenthal - The Sherry Institute of Spain - cocoandme.com

(We kept forgetting to take photos… because we were hungry eager beavers & needless to say, a little tipsy…)

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8 Comments »

  1. LOL I don’t believe you let the eccles cake and trifle get away! I’d definitely have stayed for those, and snored all the way home on the train XD But that’s cos I’m no lady………….

    Comment by Jan - October 6, 2008 5:01 pm

  2. Hey Jan, I’m surprised myself, being a dessert-buff and all. But, the people around me can confirm that, when I drink alcohol, I can pass-out & collapse. And I wouldn’t want to do that on my own!

    Comment by tamami - October 6, 2008 11:35 pm

  3. Hello Tamami
    The scotch egg sounds very tasty… I never had softboiled. I wish I was there!

    Comment by Louise - October 7, 2008 8:12 am

  4. Hello Louise! It indeed was v. tasty – how they managed to serve hot scotch eggs to 100+ guests in one go was impressive too. – It’s funny tho, first time perk of being a food blogger…! lol.

    Comment by tamami - October 7, 2008 11:56 am

  5. oh my goodness! those nibbles sounded amazing! i fell in love with sherry for the first time this summer and finally understood it’s beautiful flavor when combined with certain foods. mmmmm….

    Comment by michelle - October 13, 2008 6:34 pm

  6. Hello Michelle – !!!
    thank you for commenting on my blog. Those nibbles indeed was amazing! Before this, I never thought much about sherry, but like you, now I understand how beautiful it can be. Now I would recommend it to anyone!

    Comment by tamami - October 14, 2008 11:11 am

  7. Thanks for your research.

    Comment by Jessica Brown - June 17, 2010 12:40 pm

  8. Thank you!!

    Comment by tamami - June 17, 2010 7:25 pm

 

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