Archives for Dining

Armenian Wine

I was first introduced to Armenian wines a few years ago by Charles Masraff who, this spring, will be hosting a wine dinner at Condita Restaurant in Edinburgh on Thursday 21st March showcasing Armenian wines. Having become a fan of Lebanese wines since first drinking Chateau Musar back in the 1980’s, I can’t believe that Armenian wines have managed to not come onto my radar until so recently. With recent discoveries by an international archaeological team of the Areni cave unearthing wine making vessels dated at close to 6100 years old, Armenia can justifiably claim to be the oldest wine-making
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Azurmendi

Three Michelin stars means that, as far as Michelin are concerned, the cooking is exceptional and it is worth a special journey. Well, Azurmendi is 2,000 kilometers in a straight line from where I live and Azurmendi was on my list of restaurants I wanted to experience, so I figured that it was worth “a special journey”, to use the Michelin phrase. Andy Hayler did a review of Azurmendi in May 2013 and gave a very informed report on his meal, course by course in meticulous detail and the restaurant is somewhere I have long wanted to visit. Whilst many
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Relae

Having read Christian Puglisi’s “A Book of Ideas”, I fast-tracked Relae to the top of my restaurants in Copenhagen to try and on my third visit to the city went for lunch. Compared with all the glossy covered, large format, restaurant chef cookery books, Relae (the book) stands out as refreshingly different. And the presentation of the book reflects the raison d’etre behind Relae the restaurant. The opening of the book, about how Christian Puglisi moved from Noma to finding his own voice and launching his own restaurant, is written in a captivatingly casual and honest manner that is very
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Northern Spain: in search of food and wine part 2

Vega is a tiny hamlet on the coast, a few houses, sand dunes and the Atlantic. Gueyumar restaurant with just one spoon and fork in the Michelin Guide looks out onto the sand dunes. The place looks fairly unassuming and the giant fish bolted on the outside wall suggests that this place might be offerering something a bit light-hearted. However, the opening page of the wine list with around seventy different Champagnes gives warning that this place is actually pretty serious about what it does. The wine list is over six hundred wines strong. In contrast to the vast wine
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Northern Spain: in search of wine and food part 1

There were three ranks of smart, white taxis outside Madrid airport, perhaps twenty, maybe thirty cars and the one that we took was driven by an aspiring Jason Bourne. By the time we reached our hotel, the location of which, our Bruce Willis act-alike had absolutely no idea, we had managed enough U-turns, over-takes and last minute lane changes, to convince us that we’d earned a large glass of wine in a setting that was hopefully tranquil. The  Hotel Quinta de los Cedros did not disappoint and in the jasmine scented garden, with Albarino to hand, my nerves settled. In
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Eating in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen many of the restaurants that are of a more traditional style are open only at lunch time whilst many of the more modern restaurants are open only in the evening. We pre-booked lunch at Amalie  http://restaurantamalie.dk/ in the fashionable Amaliegarde 11 Street. It was agood job that we’d booked – the place was packed. Amalie is in the quarter where the embassies are to be found and Royal Palace guards in traditional blue uniforms with bearskin hats, patrol. Amalie is a small, intimate restaurant with panelled walls, crisp linen and an old pine dresser near the entrance crowded
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Ettrick Valley Smokehouse

Two places that I have lived in the Scottish Borders have a connection with smoked salmon. One is the little town of Duns in Berwickshire, which is where Farne Salmon is based. The other, the Ettrick Valley, is home to the Ettrick Valley Smokehouse.  Farne salmon provide smoked salmon to supermarkets, amongst others, and their turnover exceeds £70 million. They have close on six hundred staff.  The Ettrick Valley Smokehouse employs one person, the owner, Mike Roberts. This article is about Mike’s salmon, which costs a bit more than most, but as the phrase goes, “pay your money and take
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Mielcke & Hurtigkarl, Copenhagen restaurant

I had made a three day trip to Copenhagen to check out some of the restaurants there and Mielcke & Hurtigkarl Mielcke & Hurtigkarl Restaurant was my first port of call. The restaurant is located at Fredericksberg Rundell 1, a Royal Garden and home of the Danish Royal Horticultural Society. Our taxi dropped us off by the open air ice rink beside the park gates and flickering flambeau lit up the exterior of the restaurant a few minutes walk away. Snow sparkled and crunched underfoot when I ventured off the cleared path that led to the entrance, where we were welcomed
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Risk Management when walking on thin ice

Do you buy a book on the strength of the cover? As a child the book cover that caught and held my attention was of a canoe, with six men in it, sailing down a jungle river. Longer than the canoe, a giant snake rose up out of the water, towering over the tiny canoe, where one man was caught by the artist, in the act of taking a seemingly futile pot-shot with his rifle at the anaconda python. The book was titled “Exploration Fawcett” by Colonel P.H.Fawcett. The book, published in 1953, was passed to me by my grandfather
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