Showing posts with label event. Show all posts
Showing posts with label event. Show all posts

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Learning about Cognac

About two weeks ago I attended an event at The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden,  London. It was a very insightful event where I learnt  a lot about Cognac!

Cognac is a type of distilled brandy. It got its name from the French town of Cognac, which is part of wine growing region within the French Departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime. For a distilled brandy to be labelled as Cognac, there are specific requirements that should be met during its production process.

Cognac must be made from certain grapes. One of the most used grapes is Ugni Blanc, which is also known as Saint-Emilion. The brandy must also be distilled twice using copper pot stills. Then it is aged for at least two years inside a French oak barrel from Troncais or Limousin.

Cognac ages in the same manner as wine and whiskies when placed in barrels. However,  many cognacs are aged longer than the minimum requirement for alcoholic beverages. This drinks is also known as the kings of spirits.

Types of Cognac

VS- designed to be mixed - it makes fantastic cocktails  hints of oak and vanilla,  its young minimum aged 2 years. Every house have their own secret recipe/blend. 
VSOP - better quality, versatile and affordable, aged longer in barrels . it's smother and has a longer finish. Hints of orange and apricot. Best served on ice. 
XO - to be drunk on its' own, smoother, smokier, fruity, woody mushroom notes.

How to Taste Cognac

Ideal Temperature for Cognac

Cognac must be drunk at normal room temperature. If it is below room temperature, you should take the bottle out for at least an hour before drinking it. Or you can pour it into a glass, and hold the glass with the palm to bring it to room temperature.

Glass for Drinking Cognac

The recommended glass for cognac is a tulip glass sniffer that features a wide bowl and a narrower top. This might be changing with time...

Cognac Labels

The label on the bottle will indicate the producer, rating, and alcohol content of the cognac. Some of the ratings are VSOP, VS, Napoleon, and XO. The label can also indicate whether the cognac is Grande Champagne Cognac or Fine Cognac. 

Colour of the Cognac

Cognac comes in different colours. It may be copper, golden amber, orange-brown, bronze, or mahogany.  The colour doesn't dictate the age or quality of cognac.

Scent of the Cognac

Scent or the nose of the cognac indicates its flavour. You can determine the scent by swirling the cognac very slowly in the brandy glass, and then sniff the aromas from it. The distilled brandy can have scents of cigar, oranges, apricots, vanilla, and spices, just to name a few.


To drink cognac, you should first take a slow sip to allow the alcohol beverage remain in your mouth for several seconds before you drink it. After you swallow the cognac, you will be able to determine the different flavours it holds. Keep in mind that the profile often differs from the scent. The distilled brandy can taste fruity, woody, chocolate, leather, or gingerbread. You can determine the length of the cognac by determining how long the taste lingers on the tongue and mouth after swallowing it.

Should You Mix or Add Ice to Cognac?

After opening the bottle, it is recommended that you drink cognac straight first. That way you will be able to appreciate the maker’s artistry in blending and ageing the distilled brandy. You should also use a tulip glass and drink it at room temperature to truly enjoy its taste.

However, there are some people who drink cognac with ice or water. Before you try mixing cognac, it is best that you first taste it straight.

There are some excellent cocktails to be made from Cognac. On this particular evening we had  a good easy drinking cocktail : Cognac, Tonic and dehydrated orange.
Cognac, Tonic and dehydrated orange.

'The Whisky Exchange runs a series of excellent whisky and fine spirit tastings. They are extremely popular and give whisky and spirit lovers the chance to meet the people responsible for making their favourite drams. Many of its tastings are whisky based, but it also covers a wide range of other drinks and spirits, including rum, gin, vermouth and Tequila.
Its masterclasses are hosted by the biggest names in the industry, with master blenders and distillers flying in specially for the event'

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X
 Disclosure:  I was a guest at this event. All views are my own.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Le Strada Della Mozzarella, Mozzarella Roads

Le Strada Della Mozzarella, AKA Mozzarella Roads, is an international event showcasing the Italian PDO Buffalo Mozzarella. However, it also highlights some other ingredients, which are typical of the Italian cuisine such as dried pasta, extra-virgin olive oil, and tomatoes. The 10th edition of the event took place for the second time in London after its 2015 edition. The event marked the beginning of the international tour for 2017.

Two Consecutive Days and Two Venues in London

The first event took place at L’Antica Pizzeria de Michele is the newest branch of the iconic pizzeria which comes from the heart of the Italian Naples. The Naples site opened its door in 1870. The event was called 'one night in London', and the Neapolitan Pizza was the centre of the evening. Four of the best Neapolitan chefs showcased their skills in preparing the traditional and modern pizza of Naples – Francesco and Salvatore Salvo, Marco Condurro and Giuseppe Pignalosahail –. The event also provided the attendants with the opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of pizza from Naples.

The Baglioni Hotel

Overlooking the Kensington Gardens, this particular venue was the perfect location to host the excellences of the Made in Italy event as it boasts the traditional Italian spirit and hospitality.

The half-day event was designated to celebrate the Italian cuisine with a particular focus on the southern parts of Italy and their innovative and creative use of Mozzarella in their culinary. The chefs in attendance included Angelo Sabatelli from Apulia, Roberto Petza from Sardinia, Accursio Craparo from Sicily, Salvatore La Ragione from Campania. The event also demonstrates the importance of different brands from Italy and on show was their most high-quality products.

Mozzarella amongst the field

Mozzarella amongst the field by Roberto Petza from Sardinia Michelin star 
Fermented pasta , Wild celery, wild garlic chard asparagus cardoons, mustard leaves - amazing!

Mozarella, prawns and fermented turnips cocoa sand by Roberto Petza

Accursio Craparo from Accursio ristorante Modis in Sicily
Michelin star - Gomitolo de mozzarella, Sliced cook low temp cut finely cut to pasta
Couscous, vegetables and  datarini  tomatoes

Danilo Cortellini born in Abbruzzo. Italian embassy in London
Mackerel (blow torched) wild asparagus tomatoes crisp bread basil

Angelo Sabatelli  from Monopoli - Blueberries or olives?
Olives and blueberries cooked with sugar, vanilla, Buffalo milk with olive oil  a bit like sabayon, Sweet spaghetti deep fried - exceptional

Salvatore LaRagione - Twist on  aubergine parmigiana. Local cuisine. Balance of acid, sweetness - fine dining. Oyster Aubergine and its purΓ©e  mozzarella tomatoes dried , Seasane toast tomato consume

Great Italian Chefs – the go-to destination for lovers of Italian food – was the media partner for the event ‘LSDM’event in London in 2017.

Disclosure : I was a guest at both events.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

BAFTA Film Awards, what's on the menu

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, The BAFTA are fast approaching with all the glamour and glitz. The contenders were revealed back in January and the film  La La Land is leading with 11 nominations.

The event will be held on February the 12th,  at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall, with Stephen Fry as the Master of Ceremony, returning as host for the 12th time. It will be televised by the BBC One and BBC One HD at 9 pm, two hours later than the actual event itself.

BAFTA Short History

The Academy was established on 16 April 1947 by a group of the most eminent names in the British film production industry.  David Lean, film director,  was appointed Chairman.

The goal was "to acknowledge  those who had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British cinema."
The event will Society became officially known as The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and BAFTA entered the nation's vocabulary.


'The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.'

What are the starts eating and drinking the official BAFTA dinner?

I had the privilege to have a preview of the menu and tasted the fantastic food by Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel  Executive, Nigel Boschetti and head Chef of BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, Anton Manganaro.
If you are hosting a BAFTA night with friends, this is a guide to what to eat like the stars on the evening.

The Official EE British Academy Film Awards Menu 2017

Cornish Crab salad with celery and apple jelly and a burnt celeriac mayonnaise

Vegetarian option: mixed grain salad with pickled vegetables, beetroot relish and pea shoots

Venison Denham Estate Wellington, Juniper berry jus, potato gratin, glazed red cabbage, buttered swede and stem broccoli

Vegetarian option: puff pastry parcel with buttered spinach, wild mushrooms, goat’s cheese, roasted winter vegetables, red cabbage and watercress sauce.

Velvet 65 per cent Buffalo Supermilk Chocolate with Blueberry and Raspberry White Cremeux, with a Pumpkin Seeds Granola

drinks are sponsored by:

Taittinger Champagne, which has partnered with BAFTA for the last 15 years.

Wines by Vila Maria from New Zealand’s most awarded winery,  from its Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 or Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.

Water by Evian and Badoit and the lucky guests can also sip on Nespresso coffee if they need an energy boost ahead of the glitzy after-parties.

For further information and list of nominees visit: 

Disclosure: I was a guest at this event.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Cooking with Norwegian Fjord Trout

Adam Gray and Daniel Galmiche

Not every day one has a chance to cook with one, let alone two Michelin star chefs.   That happened last week when I attended an evening with Great British Chefs, Norwegian Seafood Council, Adam Gray, Michelin star and owner of Bourne & Hollingsworth Kitchen Cookery School and Michelin star chef Daniel Galmiche. Both chefs showcased the best of Norwegian Fjord Trout has to offer and two delicious recipes. The best thing was tasting this delectable fish twice!

Bourne & Hollingsworth Kitchen

Adam Gray's Fjord Trout stunning trout dish with crush potatoes and spinach
First up was Adam Gray recipe - Adam's dishes champions cooking with real, quality and  fresh food. British is best!  He loves cooking with rapeseed oil, British of course!

About Fjord Trout

Fjord Trout is Norwegian farmed Trout. They are bread in the crystal clear cold water in the Fjords where fresh meltwater from the glaciers and snow meets with Norwegian seawater.

Fjord Trout is known for its deep red-orange colour and white marbling that gives the flesh a rich feel and fantastic flavour. Served raw, smoked, marinated or lightly cooked it makes a great addition to the table.

Cooking with Michelin star chef Daniel Galmiche
Michelin star chef  Daniel Galmiche

Filleting Fjord trout with precision - I think he's done this before! πŸ˜‰

Mise en place
we learned a brilliant tip: place a greaseproof  paper on a old frying pan to make it non-stick, top with oil and cook as normal... fab!!!!
Pan fried Norwegian Fjord Trout with lentils, crispy bacon and chervil

For the full  recipe head over to Great British Chefs recipes 
Model: Sonia Figone

How to spot a real Fjord Trout

1. Size

Norwegian Fjord Trout is a bit smaller than salmon and sold in sizes between 2-5kg.

2. Colour

Fjord Trout is known for its intense red-orange colour and fine white marbling that gives the flesh a rich feel and fantastic flavour. Their skin is similar to salmon, but with a bright and silvery tone.

3. Meat structure

Its meat has a healthy sheen, and it is denser and firmer on touch, yet tender and mellow, giving it an excellent mouth feel. Norwegian Fjord Trout has a full-bodied structure and therefore the fillets are thicker. It has fewer bones than European river and dam trout, and  they mainly store fat in the abdomen which makes it easy to portion it.


Versatility & Preparation

It's an incredibly versatile fish and to achieve the best flavour, texture and colour,  we learned in the demo that this fish should be prepared at low temperatures; the core temperature should be between 40-48°C.

The Quality Standard for Norwegian Fjord Trout from Norwegian Seafood Council

1)Be raised in Norwegian seawater and weigh over 2kg
2)Have an even red flesh colour, a lustrous skin and a natural shape
3)Be packed as soon as harvested, stored and transported with an unbroken cold chain (at 0-4°C) until delivery
4) Be handled only by personnel trained in accordance with Quality Standard Specifications

There's a video of  Daniel fishing for Fjord trout: Great British Chefs

Disclosure: I was a guest of Great British Chefs at this event. All views are my own.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Kicking off Summer with Gin Mare

Gin Mare is a super-premium handcrafted Mediterranean Gin distilled in small batches in a Florentine Copper Pot Still in a small village on the Mediterranean Coast just outside Barcelona. Distinguishing itself from traditional London Dry gins, Gin Mare is best defined by the flavours of its essential botanicals, Arbequina Olive, Thyme, Rosemary, and Basil sourced from 4 different Mediterranean countries. It is also known for the individual distillation and subsequent blending of its eight distillates.

Gin Mare is an unusual savoury and balanced gin with aromas of herbs.  Rosemary, thyme, olive, and basil included in the botanical line up as well as citrus, cardamom and coriander and juniper berries.  It's made in the town of Vilanova, just outside the city of Barcelona.

I had the pleasure to attend Gin Mare Med Rooftops in Knightsbridge.  Inspired by Gin Mare’s infusion of unique savoury botanicals and the Mediterranean spirit of relaxation, the beautifully decorated rooftop offered a place to escape and explore the unique tastes, textures, sounds and smelled of the Gin Mare.

On arrival, we were sent upstairs to the roof terrace through an arch of manicured botanical hedge of olives, fragrant rosemary, and basil leaves and other herbs - the smells were tantalizing together with an imaginative  Gin Mare summer cocktail in hand we felt truly relaxed and ready for summer party.

We discovered the intricacies of the “Mare Nostrum” via the finest Mediterranean menu with an English twist by celebrity chef Mark Hix and his team at Hix Restaurants.  The cocktails on the rooftop included with salt and strawberry (Fresa     Fizz).  The oyster area serving a selection of oysters pairing with more gin cocktails like Red tonic, Ocean Sunrise and Mare Gin tonic.

Ocean Sunrise
As the sun went down the rooftop, we soaked in the atmosphere over sounds by DJ Jacob, the resident DJ at Pacha Ibiza.  Plenty of inspiration to mix some Gin Mare at home and continue the party!


 more about the Med Roof Tops check out:

Gin Mare is available from selected Waitrose, Oddbins, Harvey Nichols, Whole Foods.
RRP £34-£41.00.
Online: Ocado, and

Happy Summer!

Disclosure: I was a guest of Gin Mare at this event. All views are my own.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Taste of London 2016

It is that time of the year when we welcome Taste of London, a restaurant festival that takes residence for five consecutive days in the beautiful Regent's Park.  There's still time to enjoy the festival over this weekend, as it runs till Sunday, the 19th June.

A place to appreciate dishes from the most exciting London eateries all in one place. Small bites so you can eat all the food you like from the places on your wish to-go list.

It's an excellent way to spend time grazing, watching demos, master classes from renowned experts in the areas of wine, champagne, whiskey, gin and beers and lots of food.  It's a place to shop for gourmet ingredients and to discover new products on the market. Enjoy time with friends and family. There's something for everyone at Taste, even if you are not a food connoisseur, there are drinks, food, and entertainment.

You can found more details:  Taste of London  

A photo- essay from this year's festival:

Tasting menu and wine paring at celebrity Cruises Stand
 celeriac veloute with black truffle and toasted sunflower seeds paired with Vignoier, Jean-Luc Colombo, La Violette' Languedoc

Tato Garcia - executive Chef from Spain

wine tasting hosted by Oz Clarke

Seabass, sage brown butter and cavolo nero and asparagus

Pistachio crusted lamb loin with juniper rhubarb jam paired with Carmenere, Reserva, MontGras, Colchagua Valley, Chile
AEG Stand  - Tasteology and cooking demo
by AEG - beautiful  video Take Taste Further
create your own gourmet food with either chef Jeremy Pang from School of Wok

learning about Basque tortilla

Theo Randall - amazing Cappelette de Vitello

Shake Shack cheddar Shake burger - delicious  and custard ice cream

Amazing dishes at Cinnamon Club

Chef Vivek Singh  - The Cinnamon Club

Great British Chefs stand- great food by great chefs

Lovely vanilla cheesecake dish by Chef Andy McCleish of Chapter One Kent

Leffe _ Beer and food pairing

My friend Jeanne - positive thinking wearing sandals and I am wearing boots! LOL

BT tower one of the views from Regents Park

VIP lounge with the lovelies

Medrano pouring the champagne
The Festive Edition will be taking place from 17th-20th November at Tobacco Dock, London

Disclosure: I was a guest of AEG (Wednesday) and Great British Chefs (Friday) at this year's festival.

A photo posted by Rosana | London 🍾🍷🍽🍸✈️🌢 (@rosana_mcphee) on
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