Bread and Wine 2013
A Tasting Without Added Yeast
Friday 12th July 2013
£10 in advance
42-46 Bethel Street
Norwich NR2 1NR
“It all tastes the same to me.”
It’s an oft-repeated phrase when you invite people to share their experience of taste. It may be borne from a lack of confidence in one’s own judgement (how many of us are trained to taste?), or from an unwillingness to be fussy. We may respond with a pained grimace, or we may agree, however secretly.
For there is a growing truth to this statement… the shelves of our shops may be bulging with edible products, but their largely mass produced nature means that there is a cultural expectation of how things should look and taste – our milk is pasteurised and homogenised; our wines, beers and ciders are filtered and fined; our coffees are dark roasted.
But there is building resistance to the homogenisation of taste. “Artisan” breads and wines are attracting lots of column inches, and a growing customer base. Part of the difference in taste in fermented products can be traced to the yeast strains used.
Industrial yeasts create consistent products, which are quick and easy to mass produce. But they have definite implications in regards to taste. Bakers yeast makes bread rise high and bake fast, whilst winemakers can choose from a range of aromatic yeasts which create particular ‘flavour profiles’ in wine. There’s a growing feeling amongst “artisan” wine makers that the use of aromatic yeasts makes a mockery of the much-revered concept of terroir – that the taste of a wine should reflect the geography and climate of the place where the grapes were grown.
There is an analogous growing demand for real bread – there is, indeed, a ‘real bread’ campaign (www.realbreadcampaign.org). By eschewing commercial yeasts and using a homemade sourdough starter, we can create bread using wild yeasts indigenous to our location – and create a more authentic, original loaf, which reflects the taste of the place where it was made.
At the Greenhouse, we are bringing together these complementary ideologies at our latest tasting event. Former Greenhouse volunteer Alexander Lambert is returning from a one year residential course at the School of Artisan Food in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He’ll be bringing five different styles of real bread, from a light, creamy wheaten sourdough to a dark, sticky 100% rye. He’ll tell us how he made them, and even give out recipes to allow you to have a go at home.
Meanwhile, Tom has selected some wines to taste alongside the breads. Grape skins (and other ripe fruits) contain natural yeasts, which given time will begin their own fermentation. The wines we’ll be tasting are made from indigenous, not bought-in, yeasts. From the fresh, racy acidity of a Verdejo from Rueda, Spain, to a fruit driven Rhone Valley red; from the tangy green apple flavour of a Trebbiano to the chestnut notes of a Vin Santo, the classic dessert wine from Tuscany, there’ll be a range of wines to excite your palate – and challenge the modern homogeneity of taste.
You can book your place at the tasting by paying £10 in advance in the Greenhouse shop.
The line up in full:
Verdejo Menade & Pain au levain.
Wine: Sitios de Bodegas 2010, 12.5% vol., £11.50 (rrp)
Bread: 100% white sourdough. Light & creamy with a wheaty aroma.
Verdicchio Pievalta & Pain de campagne.
Wine:Barone Pizzini 2011, 12.5%, £11.35
Bread: Mainly white flour with a little wholewheat and rye flour. More robust, more lingering acidity.
Trebbiano Rhesan & Irish soda bread.
Wine:Cristina Menicocci, 12.5%, £10.25
Bread: Leavened with baking soda and buttermilk. Good mix of creamy white and the earthier, nuttier flavours of wholemeal.
Montirius Le Cadet & 100% wholemeal sourdough.
Wine:Montirius, 2010, 13.5%, £10.85.
Grape varieties: Grenache, Syrah
Bread: Dense, complex, nutty, good acidity.
Vin Santo del Chianti Malmantico & 100% dark rye.
Wine: Tenuta San Vito, 2001, 16.5%, £18 (375ml).
Grape varieties: Malvasia, Trebbiano
Bread: Dark, sticky & complex. Some molasses, & a sweet & sour quality.
Feedback from Meet The Maker, our last tasting:
‘The evening has been great – friendly, happy and informative’
‘Brilliant, passonate & interesting’