Showing posts with label Blogger Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogger Events. Show all posts

25 November 2016

Wine Tasting at The Vestry with Bodegas Valdemar

Earlier this week, the lovely Colleen from Blonde Across the Pond and I attended a wine tasting event at The Vestry, Clerkenwell. Housed just next door to the iconic Fox & Anchor pub, The Vestry is a modern wine bar taking on those 1980s preconceptions and offering something truly unique in the area. 

* Apologies for the lighting in some of today's snaps *

I've not attended a wine tasting before so I wasn't too sure what to expect but I absolutely loved it! I mean, it's wine and food. What's not to like! Our hosts were Rioja winery Bodegas Valdemar with Jesús Martínez Bujanda Mora, the fifth-generation of the winemaking family, guiding us through the evening. We sipped on stunning Spanish wines while tucking into perfectly matched British plates from The Vestry's delicious new menus. The whole evening has inspired me to get into wines a little bit more and perhaps consider a wine course. Any recommendations, please let me know. 
We began with oysters, dressed in a touch of sherry vinegar, salt and lemon juice, perfectly paired with a light and refreshing Conde Valdemar Rosado 2015. The wine was made from a blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Tempranillo giving a silky texture and floral flavour.
Next was an intriguing white Rioja, something I have not experienced before! The wine comes from Valdemar's iconic vineyard (apparently) the Alto Cantabria, which boasts a top of the hill position overlooking the Ebro river. The Tempranillo Blanco 2015 has only 10,880 bottles produce so we felt incredibly lucky to be sipping on this smooth, creamy wine. The flavour was quite savoury, perhaps a touch oaky, and worked well with the salty seafood combo of tempura squid and salt-baked prawns. 
Our first red of the evening was Conde Valdemar Reserva 2010. Again this was a blended wine with 85% red Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Garnacha which gave a rich but not too rich finish. It worked perfectly with my pairing of aubergine, red peppers and capers while meat eaters enjoyed Aylesbury duck livers on toast. 
Our second red wine of the evening was from the Inspiracion Valdemar collection - a modern take on traditional Rioja wines. The Las Seis Alhjas Graciano, 2010 - an excellent year for this vintage - was paired with pork belly for the meat eaters, thanks to its creamier texture and light finish, and roasted cod with mashed potatoes, watercress and a mustard dressing for me. The wine was light enough to work well with teh fish but the creamy notes really complimented the mustard cream sauce. 
Our final wine for the evening was an absolute treat - a Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva, 2004, magnum! This heavy wine was the perfect finisher to our meal as the meat eaters enjoyed Aberdeen Angus hangar steak with chilli, parsley and garlic, while I tucked into a truly delicious bowl of potatoes, parsnips and (I think) salsify in a rich onion puree with roasted onion shavings. This isn't on the menu so I feel really honoured to have been served this rich, warming bowl of yumminess. It was the best pairing of the evening in my view, and really rounded off our experience. I was enjoying it so much I forgot to take a photo! Sorry!

Throughout our time at The Vestry, Jesús was incredibly welcoming, thoughtful, helpful and open to questions. Even after five glasses of wine (and good quality wine at that) I didn't feel drunk, perhaps a little tipsy, and felt I was able to enjoy each sip throughout the evening at a really good pace. This has really excited me for future wine tastings and pairings. Make sure you check out the 'What's On' page of The Vestry for future events!

Thank you to The Vestry for inviting me to this wonderful event. All opinions are my own. 

28 September 2016

Blogger Party at Tootoomoo, Crouch End

Last week I had the delightful chance to enjoy a blogger evening at my local. No it's not the pub, but actually Tootoomoo - our local Pan-Asian takeaway up in Crouch End. I won't lie, sometimes blogger events or press launches can be in the most obscure places (I've trekked to Kingston before) so when I found out this would be just 10 minutes from home, how could I refuse?
Not to mention the food. I've made no cover-ups of my LOVE of Asian cuisine. At Tootoomoo, no matter your Asian cravin', they'll have the dish to satisfy. From sushi to Thai curry; from Vietnamese salads to vibrant sharing plates, there's something for everyone. We began the night with beautiful lychee cocktails, complete with a pretty flower topping and elegant Martini glass to serve. I mean, we moved onto a lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (French, 2014) but this cocktail really stood out as a winner. 
For food we were treated to an open kitchen of dishes. Ordering straight from the brand new menu (look out for the Explorer and Discovery tasting menus) we enjoyed sushi, tempura, curry, gyoza and salads throughout the night. Stand-out favourites included the tempura prawn and avocado maki with ponzu sauce, the veggie-packed potstickers with a umami rich black vinegar dressing and schichimi salt tempura squid with a whipped mayonnaise laced with chilli. Don't mind the burnt bits on the potstickers - this is where all the caramelly sweet goodness is! 
 I shared a prawn and veggie Thai green curry with my guest, along with a steaming bowl of brown rice. Tootoomoo is one of the only places in North London (that I've ordered from) that offers brown rice both to eat in and takeaway, probably because it can be a nightmare to cook. The combo of brown rice and gorgeous vegetables made for a really healthy dinner, which when you're ordering Asian takeaway is often not the case. The juicy prawns were de-veined (YES!) and the veggies still had plenty of crunch. The curry could have been spicier though but I guess that's personal taste.  
We ended the event with a moreish bowl of Fro-yo. We all love ice cream, so make it a little less naughty (ugh, ridiculous - it's sweet enjoy it!). I went for the natural ice cream with a drizzle or chocolate sauce (dark chocolate at that) and M&Ms. Sweet, smooth and chilly - what more could you want? 

Thank you Tootoomoo for inviting and hosting me at this wonderful blogger evening!

24 August 2015

#QbicSlumberParty at Qbic Hotel, Whitechapel

When your close friend invites you to a slumber party you think 'Great!'. When that slumber party is being hosted at the Qbic hotel with a dinner for 12, brunch, movie night and manicures you literally explode with excitement. And that's exactly what happened this Sunday when May of Red Velvet London hosted her first blogger meet up. We indulged in warming hot cocoa in front of Mean Girls, chilled in our jammies whilst getting a mani-pedi, and spent the best night's sleep in the best rooms the Qbic can offer.

Here's my photo diary from the night - I'm certainly not a very good travel blogger or hotel blogger, so excuse the rather sparse review! Thank you to May for inviting me and to the Qbic hotel for hosting us. We had an amazing time and I cannot wait to be back!

We started the evening with a beautiful communal dinner. The chef created a special menu just for our visit that featured some of his best dishes alongside some of our favourite flavours. I loved the five bean salad with guacamole, the potted rainbow trout with horseradish ice cream and the hummus with pitta was really delicious. The raw Asian slaw was also pretty oustanding but we needed much much more! 
This was clearly a typical bloggers dinner where the photography was flowing and the foodie chat inspiring. I loved talking with Em at Catch 52, April from April Loves and of course lovely May from Red Velvet London. 
And next onto bed! We all changed into our best pyjamas and a bunch of the girls were gifted the most hilarious onesies! May and Em both became owls whilst poor April drowned in her hamster onesie! We all met in the lounge and watched White Girls in the Parts and Labour lounge. 

After the film we headed to bed for a cosy night's sleep. I would definitely recommend statyng at the Qbic hotel - the space is so unique, well placed and the food is delicious! 
Thank you May for inviting me and it was amazing to meet all you girls! Thank you also to the Qbic hotel for hosting us and to Parts & Labour for feeding us throughout the stay. 

18 August 2015

Creating Unique Magnum Ice Creams, Covent Garden

Open for nine weeks this summer, Magnum Ice Cream's have opened a pleasure store in the heart of Covent Garden. Yep, I know, it sounds weird, but trust me it's well worth checking out if you love ice cream. The Pleasure Store is the only place IN THE WORLD that you can create your very own Magnum ice cream. For real.

With their very own 'dipping bar', visitors are invited to start with their ice cream base. I personally love the vanilla ice cream laced with caramel or chocolate that Magnum sell in their frozen ice creams. Once selected, you can create your very own coating using the dipping bar.  

We were very lucky and invited to come behind the bar to make our own ice creams. I chose a chocolate base dipped in dark chocolate, then sprinkled with freeze dried blueberries, goji berries and shredded coconut- finished of course with a drizzle of white chocolate. My guest went for a white chocolate base dipped in dark chocolate with rose petals, pistachios and silver coated chocolate balls. 
The Magnum Pleasure Store is open until mid September and prices start from £4.50. 

7 May 2015

#ZomatoMeetUp at Hotel Xenia, South Kensington

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a fabulous #ZomatoMeetUp at Hotel Xenia to celebrate the stunning regional cuisine from the Lucian region in Italy and chef Mario Demuro's work. Aside from the delicious food we were treated to hands on classes from the chef (despite the Italian/English language barrier), front row seats at the bar and some serious blogger chat with my fellow writers.

Image from Posh Broke Bored
We sat in the glass conservatory which featured an open bar space for the lovely Chef to teach us how to make his exquisite dishes. I sat with Vivian , Jasminne from Posh Broke and Bored, and Tasmin from A Certain Adventure. We chatted all things food and blogging whichever as an utter joy to do. It can be a little tough when you're out blogging on your own, so meeting other foodie bloggers was really fun.
We dined on a range of beautifully designed dishes from the Lucian region, starting with a interesting take on beans and pasta. Served in a glass to show off the layers, the dish featured a soft bean cream matched with gently cooked pasta and topped with a rich foam. Next up a truly intriguing dish of potato with mushrooms and Parmesan. The chef created a shell of cooked potato which was filled with a mushroom cream, soft wild mushrooms and topped with a Parmesan crisp and a breaded poached egg yolk. The egg yolk was a really nice touch and a great surprise when cut into. 
Our main course was a dish of roasted lamb wrapped in salty ham with spring vegetables, a unique macedonia vegetable collection, a timballo spinach and a bitter sweet fruit chutney. I found this quite rich but the freshness of the salsa helped to balance the lamb well.
We finished our evening with a fantastic dish of chocolate soil, strawberry sorbet, lemon and meringue pieces. This dish was a fruity sweet mix without being overly chocolatey, and featured plenty of texture thanks to the meringue pieces. 
Thank you so much to Zomato and Hotel Xenia for hosting us! The evening was a true indulgence and a joy to meet my fellow bloggers. You can find my Zomato reviews here.