• Sparkling Wine and Fried Food

    We tend to think of sparkling wines as a special treat, a drink reserved for special occasions and the finest of foods. However, they are becoming more democratic and affordable than ever before. The rise in popularity of that famous Italian bubbly everyone loves, has encouraged suppliers to fuel our love affair with fizz, in the hope of becoming the next ‘Prosecco.’

    The Challengers to Champagne

    English Sparkling Wine, New World offerings and Crémant, are now easier to obtain than ever before. They are appearing on supermarket shelves of discounters like Aldi and Lidl, not just specialist shops and online retailers. Many of these are available for reasonable prices between £6-20.

    Crémant fills this niche nicely. This is the little known sparkling wine that is produced in a similar way to Champagne in France. Most of the regions that produce still wines, usually always make a Crémant using their native grape varieties. From Bordeaux, to Burgundy and even the Rhône and Languedoc- they all produce their own take on the traditional ‘bottle fermented/aged’ style.

    Not to be left behind in the past as ‘cheaper than Champagne,’ Cava has really upped quality efforts to lure drinkers away from Prosecco and New World fizz.

    Fried Food and Fizz-What a Combination!

    Personally, one of the greatest pleasures in life is a glass of something bubbly with fried or salty/fatty foods. Though some are fruitier or tarter than others, all sparkling wines are acidic. This is great for foods like these, as they are mouth-watering and refreshing- cutting through those oily characteristics and somehow making them feel less sinful as they cleanse your palette! These often also contain high levels of salt too, which softens the wine and helps bring out the flavour.

    Why not try a glass of fizz with that great British takeaway, fish and chips? Or, how about Bubbly with a family bucket of fried chicken? Why not give whitebait or calamari a go? Or even just a bag of crisps or roasted peanuts!

  • Cheese Tasting Manchester

    Cheese Tasting Manchester

    Cheese Tasting Manchester

    Cheese Tasting Manchester

    We don't sell wine or cheese

    When you come to one of our very popular cheese tasting Manchester events you can be sure that we have chosen the cheeses and wines carefully. We have not been influenced by the need to sell you anything afterwards.

    You benefit

    This means you get to enjoy a range of delicious cheeses and wines that have been selected with you in mind. You will enjoy the produce of several countries including lovely Artisan cheeses from our region.

    Wines to complement the cheese beautifully

    Because we do not have to limit our choices to (say) one country only as others have to, we are free to choose the very best combinations for you. So come along and enjoy a great wine and cheese night out in the company of others who share your passions!

    See the Wine and Cheese Tasting Events Page

    Absolutely brilliant night at the cheese and wine pairing, got to understand how the wines are made, compare colours, body etc plus matched up with different cheeses. Really nice group of people as well, really enjoyed it and now want to try the sparkling wine session!!

    Joanne Lord-Birchall ... Via Facebook

    See the Wine and Cheese Tasting Events Page

    So what cheese and wine pairings work well?

    To give you a flavour of what to expect ( although the exact choices are made nearer the time)...

    Gruyere cheese

    Gruyere

    Creamy, slightly grainy semi-hard Swiss cheese. Cured between 3 & 10 months. Blessed with a complexity of flavours from fruity to earthy to nutty.

    Comté Cheese

    Comté

    From Eastern France & has  AOC status. Matured for 4-18 months with a smooth texture, rich concentrated flavours of brown butter, roasted nut with a sweet finish.

    Bollinger Champagne

    Bollinger

    At our Events a classic & favourite pairing.This rich toasty heavily Pinot Noir based Champagne enhances the creamy cheeses. All have an eye on heritage & are regionally protected

    Other favourite cheese and wine pairings

    • Manchego and Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva
    • Garstang Blue and Gruner Veltliner
    • Mrs Kirkam's Traditional Lancashire with Beaujolais Villages
  • Food and Wine Matching

    It's Really Simple...

    Opinions vary about which wines to match with certain foods. Some of it is down to personal taste, although it's true that particular flavours bring out the best in each other. Some wines are definitely more food friendly than others.

    Food and wine matching Manchester

    Food and wine matching Manchester

    Food and Wine Matching at our Manchester Events

    Food and Wine Matching at our Manchester Events

    Food Friendly Wines

    These include:

    • Sparkling wines
    • Pinot Noir
    • Riesling

    Want to Find Out What Works for You?

    The best way to find out what goes with what is to taste it and see. It's mainly down to you anyway. But we'll give you some great tips and advice at our special food and wine matching evenings in Manchester.

    Cut out the brain ache and come along to our specially devised course which will guide you gently along your path to wine and food pairing heaven.

    See this page for more details about our next Food and Wine Matching Event.

  • Mussels with White Wine and Buttered Breadcrumbs

    Robert Carrier's Mussels in White Wine

    Robert Carrier's Mussels in White Wine

    Robert Carrier's Mussels in White Wine with Buttered Breadcrumbs

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    2.5 litres of mussels
    8 tablespoons dry white wine
    1 shallot finely chopped
    2 sprigs parsley
    1 sprig of thyme
    1 small bayleaf
    3-4 tablespoons butter
    4 cloves of garlic finely chpped
    4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
    175g stale white breadcrumbs

    Method

    • Scrub mussels & remove "beards" Discard damaged ones & those that don't close
    • Add mussels to a large pan with a tight fitting lid. Put in the wine, shallot, parsley & thyme sprigs, bay leaf & crushed pepper corns.
    • Cover pan tightly & cook over a high heat for 5-7 minutes. Shake pan frequently.
    • Remove & discard any unopened mussels & drain thoroughly reserving the liquor. Remove the top shells over the pan to catch further liquid.
    • Keep mussels in a separate container & sieve the liquor back into the pan. Simmer it over a low heat until reduced by half
    • Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to take the mussels in one layer. Add the finely chopped garlic & parsley to the butter & fry gently for 3 minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic
    • Add breadcrumbs & stir over a low heat until they have soaked up the butter. Add the mussel liquor & cook stirring gently until it has evaporated
    • Add the mussels to the pan & mix lightly until they are heated through & are filled with breadcrumbs
    • Serve immediately
  • Good Summer Barbeque or Picnic Wines

    A BBQ is a good excuse to crack open some wines to share!

    A BBQ is a good excuse to crack open some wines to share!

    We all know picking wines for others is complete trial and error in most cases. Even if you are good friends with the other guests and sort of know what they may like already, wines from the same areas or grape varieties, but different producers and price points can be radically different! Here are some handy hints for wines that are reasonably consistent in style, and are generally ‘crowd pleasers’ whatever you buy.

    New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

    The good stuff is always usually fairly expensive at between £7-10 a bottle. However, there is not much need to spend more than this on it. The fancier ones rarely add much more punch to the general New Zealand style and character for the money. When chilled and served in the summer sun- its mouth-watering acidity and very aromatic/fruity nature make it highly refreshing both on its own, as an aperitif while you wait for the food to be prepared/cooked and nibble on the starters. It also rarely clashes with any foods (unless with a sweet dessert).

    These qualities make it a great all-rounder, and usually well received by all. Our favourite we drink and use in our tastings, is Brancott Estate. This is widely available at most supermarkets/wine merchants, usually around £7-10.

    If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper/softer, less ‘out there’ in style, white Bordeaux Sauvignon Blancs can offer a great value alternative. Or why not tried some of Sancerrre/Pouilly Fumé’s less famous neighbours? Look for Quincy, Reuilly or Touraine Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire- like this good value one from Tesco.

    Dry or Off Dry Rosé

    Got a bit of a sweet tooth, or just fancy something pink and refreshing to match the weather? (and possibly the colour of your skin after a few hours in the sun!) These styles of wine go great with BBQ fish like grilled salmon or spicier foods, which the sugar helps to offset. Fetzer’s Californian White Zinfandel is a good one, from £6.99.

    Or how about a Loire rosé, or a Rosé D’Anjou- Sainsbury’s do a great own label one at £5, full of thirst quenching red berry flavours. There’s also Cabernet D’Anjou which tends to be a bit drier, and with more body as its made from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Spain is also a good source of flavourful rosé made from Tempranillo and Grenache. Bodega Muga's is one of our favourites for around a tenner. Plenty of these great tasting rosé’s are available from supermarkets and wine merchants at wallet friendly prices of £5-10. (Rosé isn’t terribly fashionable at the moment, and when this happens to a wine less demand usually means more approachable prices!)

    A chilled glass of light bodied red, white or rosé makes an excellent picnic experience!

    A chilled glass of light bodied red, white or rosé makes an excellent picnic experience!

    Beaujolais

    This makes great picnic wine. It is made from Gamay, a red grape which is both very fruity, refreshing and thin skinned, meaning it is quite light bodied and with less harsh tannins. This is why you can lightly chill it if you fancy a red for a change! Because these wines are mostly youthful, and intended for drinking not too long after they have been made, this helps keep their prices relatively keen. The named villages like Morgon, Moulin a Vent, Chenas and Julienas you pay a premium for, but excellent quality and value can be found if you pick up one labelled ‘Beaujolais Villages’ which tend to have a bit more character to them than basic Beaujolais. Expect to pay a modest £6-10 per bottle. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Beaujolais Villages is consistent, and one of our favourites at £7.

    A bottle of Fizz is Always a Welcome Way to Get Any Party Going!

    A bottle of Fizz is Always a Welcome Way to Get Any Party Going!

    A bottle of Fizz

    Who doesn’t like something a bit bubbly from time to time? It gives a sense of occasion and treating yourselves, whatever you’re having- be it Prosecco, Champagne, Cava or Crémant (Sparkling wines made in other areas of France that aren’t Champagne). Sparkling wines also make a refreshing, pre food welcome drink- and their acidic nature causes your mouth to water, which means they are also a good palate cleanser for fatty or creamy foods like that juicy burger with a side of coleslaw/potato salad. Our favourite value Prosecco is ASDA’s award winning Extra Special label at £7, which flies off the shelves whenever it’s on offer. It has all the lovely floral, citrus, apple and pear flavours a good Prosecco should be bursting with. Chuck a bit of peach pureé or juice in for an easy Bellini cocktail. A good value Cava, is Codorníu Selección Raventós from £7.99 or how about their excellent rosé from £7. Cheap Champagne is usually a bit of a false economy as the producers often do the bare minimum to get the name, but Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny holds up pretty well for its full price of £11, even better when £9.99.

  • Peaches & Raspberries in White Wine

    Peaches & Raspberries in White Wine

    Peaches & Raspberries in White Wine

    Robert Carrier's Peaches & Raspberries in White Wine

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    450g of sugar
    2 cloves
    3 sticks of cinnamon
    2-3 strips of thinly pared orange & lemon rind ( use a potato peeler)
    4-6 large peaches
    300ml white wine
    100-225g fresh raspberries
    Whipped cream to serve

    Method

    • In a large saucepan dissolve the sugar in 300ml water over a low heat
    • Add cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange & lemon rind
    • Carefully drop in peaches & simmer uncovered for 10 minutes
    • Put the wine in the pan & simmer another 10 minutes until the peaches are cooked
    • Take pan from heat & remove peaches with a slotted spoon
    • Using paper towels to handle each peach remove the skins
    • Arrange peaches on a serving dish & arrange them with the raspberries
    • Simmer the cooking juices until they are reduced to the consistency of a light syrup
    • When cool spoon syrup over the fruit. Keep in fridge for a couple of hours before serving
    • Serve cold with the whipped cream