In an effort to stave off legitimate concerns about ‘forgetting how to write’, and due to restaurants and other places I like to visit being closed at the moment, I’ll be blathering on here about the food and drink I’ve been having at home during lockdown for a bit.
Mainly I’ll be seeing if I can remember anything from when I did the WSET Level 2 with Yorkshire Wine School.
My 40th birthday was meant to be celebrated with me ensconced at Evuna in Manchester, scoffing tapas and supping too much of something nice. The empanadas there are good.
The Manchester trip, however, was a ruse. Clandestine arrangements for me to receive a mysterious envelope containing my present proper: the itinerary for a surprise trip to San Sebastian a fortnight hence.
The hop overseas had been researched and organised to a degree meticulous enough to warrant a proud nod of approval, perhaps even a wink, from The Professor in Money Heist but, of course, due to lockdown (how many times have we heard those three gittish words the last few months?) neither the trip to Manchester or the biggy to San Sebastian (GAH) were able to take place.
Still, if I couldn’t go to San Sebastian then San Sebastian would, apparently, come to me, and although we couldn’t go far, a kitchen in a small corner of Yorkshire was, for a couple of days (after such mammoth preparation the celebratory decorations weren’t coming down in a hurry) turned into a particularly well-stocked San Sebastian pinxtos bar. (Note the new Beer Sub thing on the left.)
I’m a lucky lad.
I first came across Txakoli, the dry, crisp and highly refreshing wine from northern Spain, at The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds, poured adriotly from height it frothed and bubbled in the glass appealingly. Impressively, all of it landed in the glass. It may have been paired with those posh fish and chips that he did on Great British Menu on the BBC, which used to be a good cooking programme.
This stuff (around the tenner mark, from here) was spritely and spritzy and great with a menu that’d been put together and executed with no little panache. One bottle remains, stock will be replenished and I might give it a bash with fish and chips or just neck it in the sun.
It was an evening of merriment so I’m not sure in what order the drinks came, but there was also plenty of the always-welcome La Gitana by Hidalgo (a Manzanilla sherry usually around 9 quid and worth every peseta), all dry and thirst-quenching and massively more-ish.
And there was an incorrectly-opened (I was meant to go for summat Spanish) Portugeuse Montaria from a Naked Wines case I’d bagged on a deal. Smooth enough, with some concentrated black fruit flavours, but didn’t deliver on the finish the boldness it hinted at on the nose.
The case worked out at five quid a bottle, so I can’t grumble too much, but I don’t think I’d pay the full whack asking price of £8.99. More of the other Naked Wines later.