Valentine’s Day 2014
Thai Coconut Curry, made with local, seasonal Crown Prince Squash, ginger & topped with coriander.
Taste Three Wines & drink a glass of your favourite with the main course
Chocolate Cheesecake served with glass of Muscat dessert wine.
All wines and food suitable for vegans
Valentine’s Day is approaching. Shops and restaurants seek to sell the item, or produce the menu that will express love, or at least be romantic. Not natural to the English, perhaps, to our habits or our language – so expect to be promised intimate tête-à-têtes.
We’re extending our intimacy at the Greenhouse, to include those who wish to go out in ones, as well as twos, or threes or fours . We’re offering a sociable and inclusive evening: a group tasting of organic wines, followed by a shared organic meal, rounded off with a sweet treat. Indeed, the interplay between sweet and savoury will be the tasting theme. Our shared meal will be a Thai coconut curry, made with local Crown Prince squash, spiced with ginger and topped with coriander.
Before we eat, you will taste three organic and vegan wines, then choose your favourite to drink alongside the meal. All three are intended to prove suitable counterpoints, and the spicy nature of Thai food offers interesting possibilities for wine pairing.
We’ll begin with Castello di Tassarolo’s Gavi Spinola, a surprisingly delicate incarnation of the Cortese grape. Delicate in flavour, but substantial in texture, cleansing the palate of spice and allowing it to return refreshed to the next bite. Sedlescombe’s First Release, an award-winning wine from England’s only biodynamic vineyard, has a similarly generous mouthfeel, and tropical fruit flavours which can enhance the aromatic quality of Thai cuisine.
Full-bodied reds, however, can prove problematic with spice, as tannin tends to fan the flames, and leave your mouth ablaze – but soft, fruit-driven reds can prove a nice counterpoint. Santa Tresa and Stellar Winery’s Nero d’Avola Insieme offers a very pure and fruit driven expression of that increasingly popular Sicilian grape variety.
Then we’ll turn up the sweet dial for the chocolate tofu cheesecake, and wash it down with a little Heaven On Earth, our ever-popular South African Muscat d’Alexandrie, brimming with ripe apricot flavours.
The language of love and the language of food and drink often cross over. We may refer, colloquially, to having ‘good taste’ in men or women, or to ‘sexual appetite’, even to ‘eating the forbidden fruit’. In a world where an oft-stated desire is to achieve consistency, it is the elusive, fickle and fleeting nature of taste and love that constantly intrigue and tantalise us.
Moving from the colloquial to the literary, in Hamlet Laertes warns his younger sister Ophelia to fear this transience:
For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent – sweet, not lasting;
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more. (Act 1, Scene 3)
The narrator in Proust’s À La Recerche du Temps Perdu, meanwhile, decides that nothing characterises the human experience more than the insubstantial:
‘But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.’
For your delectation…Fragile, persistent and enduring flavours:
Gavi Spinola, Castello di Tassarolo, 2012.
Piedmont, 12% vol., shop price £11.25
(Biodynamic; No Added Sulphur)
First Release, Sedlescombe, 2011
Sussex, 11% vol., £14.95
Nero d’Avola Insieme, 2012
Sicily, 13% vol., £9.95
(No Added Sulphur)
Muscat d’Alexandrie Heaven on Earth
South Africa, 11% vol., £10.85 (375ml bottle)
(Fair for Life Certified)
The day he moved out was terrible –
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn’t a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.
Bring a witty poem or personal advert to share
Or simply enjoy the ones on the table.
A FEW PERSONAL ADVERTS TO ENTICE YOU
Reply to this advert, then together we can face the harsh realities of my mortgage. Must have active credit card.
The placing of this advert has less to do with me wanting to find love and more to do with my attention seeking. Reply fast, or I will do something rash.
I am not afraid to say what I feel. At this moment in time I feel raw anger, and want to dress like a bear and forage for berries. Say yes, and go wild with me?
It takes a real man to wear a dress. It takes a revolutionary to wear those shoes with that blusher.
You look like Nicole Kidman? Me like Shrek. We could be fantastically complicated together