Food, glorious food!

I love Winter! Maybe it’s the English in me or maybe it is a season when there is time to think about other things away from the hurly burly of the warmer months. My focus is inevitably drawn to other interests like food, travel and of course wine. By wine I mean what is happening elswhere in the world of wine.

Last night I read two articles in the UK’s Decanter Magazine, the first was about Olivier Humbrecht, the forty something owner of the famed Domaine Zind Humbrecht in Alsace. He’s been immersed in the world of wine since birth but he has taken the Domaine to new heights of excellence with Biodynamic Viticulture and non interventionist winemaking. Then there was the article about the so called Club of Five. This is the informal grouping of the five managers of Bordeaux’s First Growths. They used to meet every month over lunch and discuss areas of concern or interest to them. Now the Club has been expanded and renamed the Club of Nine! It now includes the other great growths: D’Yquem, Ausone, Petrus and Cheval Blanc. How fantastic would it be to sit round that table!

This brings me neatly onto food. Smoked Salmon is something we used to only have as a rare special treat. But with the advent of fish farms Salmon has become something that is still a treat but a less expensive one that it once was.

Harris have been in the smoked fish game for many years. They started in a little coastal village in Suffolk called Orford, then one of the sons moved to Australia and started Springs Smoked Salmon based in Mt Barker. Some years later Tas Sal bought them out and the old owner had a clause in his contract that meant he couldn’t start a rival company within a certain time frame. Now luckily for the consumers Harris is his new venture and the quality is the best I have tried outside Orford! (My family are from Suffolk so I know Orford well)

Interestingly another foodie person is associated with Orford: the TV personality, food writer, restauranteur and hotelier, Ruth Watson who does Country House Rescue, and did The Hotel Inspector. She actually started by buying Hintlesham Hall from the food writer Robert Carrier and turned it into a successful  hotel. Then she sold that and bought the Fox and Goose in Fressingfield and turned it into one of Britain’s first gastro pubs. She wanted to “get out of the kitchen” so she sold the “effing G” (her husband’s witty acronym) so they bought an old Pub in Orford and did it up. This included making the rooms fit for guests who wanted better quality than the run of the mill pubs could offer, and making the food also of an excellent standard. The word soon go out and people flocked to the new watering hole, so much so that Ruth was able to add on luxurious accomodation out the back. Now she tells owners of British Country Houses how to get their estates back on a firm financial footing. It makes fascinating viewing but also reminds me that anyone can make a go of things with the right combination of determination, know how and inspiration.

Cheers! James

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