The Bogtrotter

Tag: Food

Visit a vineyard and taste the terroir

by on Apr.07, 2009, under France, French Experiences

Visiting a vineyard can be seen as little more than an excuse to drink a few glasses of wine. But lets be honest – who needs an excuse? The real reason for visiting a vineyard is to try to find out more about the wines and what makes every wine so distinctive.

Vineyard near St Christol

Vineyard near St Christol

Good old Oz Clarke (now theres a job I want – paid to drink wine all day and talk about it) always talks about the terroir – the relationship between the wine and the land on which it is grown. It is this mix of soil and micro-climate which makes each wine unique.

Whether it’s a famous chateau or a small vineyard most will happily open their doors to visitors to let you “discover” their wines. When I’m in France I love disappearing into the back of beyond and stumbling across a small vineyard to drop into. One of my favourites is the Chateau des Hospitaliers jsut outside St Christol in the Herault region. The Martin-Pierrat family that owns it are always welcoming, the wines are excellent and the free tasting lasts as long as you wish. Needless to say I have now discovered the Chateau several times! If you do visit yourself then don’t miss their “green wall” – the plants growing on a specially constructed frame up the walls of the inner courtyard.

If you like wine then you should consider it your moral duty to get out and visit a vineyard. So go on – you don’t need an excuse.

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Joining the Pudding Club

by on Feb.01, 2009, under Britain, British Experiences

Do you ever wonder what happened to traditional British puddings? You know – like the ones you used to have when you were younger. When everyone else started moving to fancy new deserts in the 1980s it was necessary for someone to step in to protect the good old British deserts.  Up stepped the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton with the now legendary Pudding Club, where members come along every week for an evening of unadulterated eating pleasure.

The evening starts with an introduction from the host – who explains the background to the club and the house rules. Then, just to get your juices flowing, he talks everyone through the seven puddings that are going to be consumed.

Display of Puddings ready to be eaten

Display of Puddings ready to be eaten

After a (very) small main course it’s on to the serious business of the night. The puddings are paraded into the room to rapturous applause. Amongst the familiar favourites such as Syrup Sponge, Spotted Dick and Eton Mess were unusual surprises such as Lord Randall’s pudding.  The object of the evening (aside from enjoying eating some fantastic puddings) is to try all seven dishes, and then there is a vote for the favourite pudding of the night.

This means you have to pace yourself.  When you start off, the idea of eating seven deserts seems easy.  But after three or four you realise that it’s not as easy as it sounds.  They were all fantastic, and made me realise how rarely I get to eat proper puddings these days.

House rules dictate you must empty you bowl before you can move on to your next pudding, so portion size control is key.  I managed to try all seven, and after much deliberation Eton Mess got my vote.  However the room was fairly evenly split, and the eventual pudding of the night was the good old Syrup Sponge.

For those who want to take the experience further, you can also stay in one of the hotels themed desert rooms.  Personally, having eaten seven deserts the last thing I wanted was to try to go to sleep in a room that reminds me of more puddings.

I joined the pudding club as part of the Activity Superstore package that included the Pudding Club meeting and overnight accommodation for two people – a perfect romantic treat for pudding lovers everywhere.

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