Friday, 20 August 2010

Bosue Vineyard 'Cellar Blend' 2008

St Ewe, Cornwall, £10.50, cork seal

A week in Cornwall and it's time to try a local wine. The Bosue Vineyard lies in the little village of St Ewe, a couple of miles inland from the south coast fishing port of Mevagissey. It's made from a blend of Seyval Blanc, Ortega and Kernling

The label claims this has a 'rose blush', but no it's golden yellow in colour and looks pretty much like a white wine to me. On the nose there's not much to sniff at, though the hints of stone fruit and citrus are pleasant enough. Again the palate is light and lacking punch with peach being the main flavour accompanied by a hint of lemon in the background. This is off dry and benefits the initial touch of sweetness that adds a little weight to what's a pretty thin palate. Bosue Vineyard 'Cellar Blend' 2008 is pleasant enough, but really does lack intensity and interest.

Visit winery website.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Making Pasties

Homemade Pasties
18th August 2010

After Germany it was time to visit my mother's family in Cornwall. This was Joey's first visit to this spectacular part of the world and I wanted to ensure she got a good impression and for me a big part of visiting Cornwall is getting stuck into the local delicacies; Cornish pasties. My cousin's husband, a good Cornish lad, stepped up and volunteered to show us his handy work and whip up some homemade pasties.An action shot of Matt rolling out the homemade pastry.First in goes the onion, swede and potato; then it's chunks of Cornish beef.
The finished packages of goodness; absolutely superb.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Snap Shot Germany

Visit to Germany
9th to 15th August 2010

Joey and I had a fantastic week in Germany. We caught up with friends, brushed with history at every turn, soaked up the spectacular beauty of the Bavarian Alps and just ate a lot of pork.
First stop was Munich a fun city with plenty to see and plenty of beer. Here we have the Marienplatz, the old town square and centre of town; the highly decorated facade of the Neues Rathaus towers over the shinny topped Mariensaule.
The Neues Rathaus's three levelled Glockenspiel comes alive and the little men dance.
Munich's massive Englischer Garten or English garden's; a least a couple of those basking in the sun were clothed.
A big beer at the big Hofbräuhaus; Munich's most well know (and well visited) beer hall.
We went on a tour to and check out the Swan Boy - King Ludwig II's - fairytale castles and Linderhof above was my favourite. I preferred its spectacular grounds and detailed rooms to all the showy glitz of Neuschwanstein.
It was hard to snap a good picture of Schloss Neuschwanstein, but the view of the surrounding mountains (with glimpse of the Schloss Hohenschwangau) was sure spectacular.
Next stop was charming Nuremburg.
While not particularly photographic the Reichsparteitagsgelände was certainly worth visiting for an insightful, yet shocking look at its role as a centre of Nazi propaganda in the Documentation Centre.
Nuremburg's market and just look at those tasty chanterelles.

Snap Shot Wurst

Eating Germany
9th to 15th August 2010

Germany is an under-rated tourist destination; spectacular landscapes, vibrant cities, a rich history, a great music and arts scene, a plethora of beer, some of the World's best white wines and the food, well the food is... . A week in Germany is enough to turn off even the biggest devotees of roast pork, but aside from the knuckles, sauerkraut and kartoffelklösse Germany is also the land of the sausage. My motto is "a sausage a day is the German way".
Mmm, tasty stuff to start; the classic Bratwurst.
Grilled not boiled; Bockwurst at its best.
Doubling up; a delicious pair of bratwurst.
OK so it's not technically a sausage, but it's still pork in bread. A rather tasty roasted cured pork roll; a speciality of Munich.
They're little but there're three of them. The Nuernberger; a trio of grilled Nuremberg sausages, a speciality of, well Nuremburg obviously.
The sausage was good; the view in the background is the streets of Nuremburg.
Currywurst; I'm normally a fan but this one was pretty uninspiring. The sauce was too sweet and the sausage dry and overcooked.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Königschaffhausen Scheurebe Auslese 2007

Baden, €16 for 375ml, cork

My friend’s been in Germany for well over a year and her boss decided that her education in local culture somehow required indoctrination in classic 80s movies. To say I was excited when she handed me a pile that included the Alien series and this absolute-classic-one-of-the-best-movies-ever-even-though-white-sneakers-with jeans-aren’t-cool-but-Queen’s-soundtrack-certainly-is-man-this-ruled-my-childhood, would be an understatement. So after dinner and a bottle of Dornfelder we all settled down with Highlander and a bottle of Auslese Scheurebe. I’ve never tried Scheurebe before, but from what I can gather, it was originally thought to be a cross between Riesling and Silvaner, but is considered a cross between Riesling and a mysterious wild vine. The wine’s made by a co-op that is actually called Winzergenossenschaft Königschaffhausen, but that's just too long and silly to fit into the title of a blog post.

It’s an Auslese wine, it’s 9.5% alcohol and of course it’s a lovely deep golden colour. This smells of the rot, with botrytis inspired apricots, dried tangerine peel and marmalade aromas alongside the dominant smell of honey. On the palate there’s honey again, but taste wise this is all about apricots. Sure this is sweet, but it’s well balanced with noticeable acidity that does a lot to keep things fresh and lively. Königschaffhausen Scheurebe Auslese 2007 is a nice wine, it’s well made and tasty, though it lacks the complexity to be really engaging. There can be only one!

Georg Gustav Huff Dornfelder 2008

Nierstein-Schwabsburg, Rheihessen, €14.50, cork

Day number six of a weeklong visit to Germany and it's been a non-stop diet of beer and pork, only interrupted by a couple of decent Rieslings and a certain evening that involved a bucket load of mojitos (don't ask). Tonight Joey and I are having dinner at a friend's home, and apart for the chance to eat something other than roasted pig, it's also an opportunity try a few different German wines. Georg Gustav Huff Dornfelder 2008 is bright, vibrant and a distinctly, plummy purple colour. I was honestly surprised by how exotic and complex this smelt. There’re aromas of cherries, plums, spicy Christmas cake and a sniff of Morocco; not sure why I said Morocco, but I think this kind of smells a little like sandalwood. There’s also a distinct whiff of blueberry bubblegum that reminds me of Pinotage. On the palate there's black fruit and spice, along with an obvious lick of oak that adds a creamy, richness. This is a well crafted wine with a smattering of tannin, no noticeable alcohol and decent length. In a blind tasting I would never pick this for German; the weight and richness of it surprised me. Georg Gustav Huff Dornfelder 2008 is an interesting, well made wine, and while it's perhaps a touch too rich for my taste, the quality can't be denied.

Visit German only website.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Snap Shot Norway

Visit to Norway
23rd July to 5th August 2010

I loved Norway, what else is there to say? The chance to camp, fish and hike in such a beautiful country was the perfect antidote to life in Hong Kong.
After leaving Bergen I took a train north to UNESCO, World Heritage listed Røros. This tiny, former mining town's buildings are made entirely of wood and I kept expecting to see Hobbits. Røros' mining heritage has been preserved; I enjoyed a ramble over the mullock heaps. From the Lofotens I caught the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry MS Nordkapp north to the Arctic city of Tromsø.
Tromsø itself is a fun and relaxed city, with interesting museums, good food and (like much of Norway) spectacular views.
Tromsø's spectacular Arctic Cathedral glistening in the sunlight.
I arrived in Oslo in the evening with just enough time for a stroll down to the Royal Palace.
A short ferry ride from central Oslo is the Bygdøy Peninsula, a suburban area that just happens to be packed with awesome museums. Seeing Thor Heyerdahl's original raft at the Kon-Tiki Museum was a highlight as was a visit to the enthralling Viking Ship Museum.
The view downtown from Akershus Fortress; Oslo still very much a maritime city.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Emmas Drømmekjøkken

8 Kirkegata, Tromsø, Norway
Visited 3rd August 2010

Norway is spectacular, but Norway is expensive. Camping, nights sleeping on ferries and trains and a diet of fruit and sandwiches (though sandwiches packed with reindeer salami I might add) all helped to make my trip that little bit more financially feasible. During my two weeks in Norway I only ate at three restaurants, basically because that’s all the budget could handle. Anyway the previous day I’d celebrated my birthday with a couple of pints and a sleep on a sofa of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry. Back on dry land and in the Northern city of Tromsø I decided it was time to treat myself to dinner and splurged at Emmas Drømmekjøkken or 'Emma's Dream Kitchen' as it translates. The cute little restaurant is located opposite Tromsø's unique wooden Cathedral.

The influence of local, fresh produce is obvious across Norway (well at least during the summer) and the menu at Emmas Drømmekjøkken featured plenty of it. I started with a lamb and feta salad. Lettuce, asparagus and vodka poached tomatoes were topped with crumbly feta and locally cured lamb. The freshness of the greens nicely complimented the gamy lamb, however my only grip was that he vodka poached tomatoes were flavourless and kind of weird. The previous week on the Lofotens I'd caught a fair few Char so couldn’t resist indulging in a dish of this Arctic salmonoid. Poached until tender the fillet of fish was accompanied by a creamy basil sauce, asparagus and new potatoes. Simple and honest; the reason I loved this dish was the quality of the delicious Char. To drink they matched a couple of glasses of wine to my meal; the first was an OK Italian white, but the Loire Chenin Blanc that was poured with the Char was fantastic. It was a perfect match; delicious and with just a touch of sweetness to complement the richness of the fish.

Maybe I just needed a bit of civilization, but I walked away from dinner at Emmas Drømmekjøkken a satisfied man. The food was excellent – well prepared and made with what were obviously quality ingredients. The staff were knowledge, friendly and more than happy for a chat whether it was about fishing or wine. Value is a matter of perception and while I honestly can’t remember what my meal cost (maybe I’m just blocking it out), whatever it was it was worth it. If you're ever lucky enough to be visiting Tromsø definitely pop into Emmas Drømmekjøkken for a feed. Visit restaurant website.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Snap Shot Lofoten

Visit to Lofoten Islands
28th July to 2nd August 2010

The nearly 40 hours of travel it took me to get to the Lofoten Islands was certainly worth it. This archipelago off the coast of Nordland and within the Arctic Circle has to be one of the most gorgeous places I've ever visited. The views of red tinted fishing villages perched where steep, lofty cliffs meat a tumbling ocean are truly spectacular. My days were filled with hiking, cycling and fishing and my memories of Lofoten are nothing but positive.
First stop was the Lofoten's southern most town; the spectacular Å on the island of Moskenesøy.Home for a few nights.
Looking south towards the steep cliffs of Værøy.
Fishing from a charter can at times have its rewards; I was pretty happy with this decent Pollock.
Norway seems to have no shortage of gulls.
On my final day at I walked up to the pass above my camp for some spectacular views. Å is at the far end of the lake, my camp lost in the cliffs below.
After Å I moved to the island of Flakstadøya for a couple of nights camping at Ramberg.
A definite highlight was a cycle to the tiny village of Nusfjord.
Not sure if this fellow is a Norway native, but he's sure cute.The stave church at Flakstad.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Snap Shot Bergen

Visit to Bergen
23rd to 25th July 2010

OK enough of the sitting around eating and drinking in London, it's adventure time. This summer my first stop was Norway; the winner of my internal 'where do I want to most visit battle'. I was joined for the first part my brother and his girlfriend and we had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend exploring Bergen.
The distinctive old buildings of the Hanseatic wharf.
On our first day we took a Norway in a Nutshell tour; an accessible way to soak up Norway's spectacular scenery. Here we have Sognefjord; Norway's largest fjord.
There were plenty of gulls tailing us on our cruise.
An isolated, but majestic landscape for the villagers perched amongst tSognefjord's steep glacier valleys.
Bergen is Norway's second largest city, yet still maintains its charm.
The view of Bergen after a trip up the Fløibanen funicularMt Fløyen, the hill above Bergen, has plenty of opportunities for walking.
and mushrooms...