In Season - July
We ask members of the team at Stevenage for their seasonal foodie tips.
'It might sound strange, but though I am really into food and trying different cuisines, I've only very recently learnt to appreciate and enjoy crab – my vague childhood memories of this deliciously sweet meat were far removed from actuality. The tipping point was a crab and parsley mousse with plaice and a delightful young and fresh, floral and limey Spanish godello; a perfect match for the summer sun. Try with: Rompeolas Godello, Galicia 2016'
Andrew Slowe, Member Services Adviser (and co-ordinator of our online Food & Wine Matcher)
'Growing up in southern France I have, from a young age, been exposed to the beautiful flavours of Mediterranean vegetables such as courgettes (the variety from Nice is the best!) and aubergines. Add tomatoes and peppers with a good sprinkle of herbes de Provence, and there you have your Provençale ratatouille, my favourite summer dish in the world! I love it accompanied with a pink and juicy rump of lamb, topped with a crisp anchovy beignet and roasting juices. My philosophy is always to get a wine from the same region as the food, so for me, a rich and spicy yet elegant red like the Château Vignelaure 2008 from Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence would be just perfect.'
Marjorie Cropp, Showroom Assistant (and qualified sommelier)
'The level of public ignorance about this regal vegetable and what to do with it is such that more than one checkout operator has asked me what on earth it was. Borne home in triumph, it does need immediate processing but this is the work of moments: either a quick wedge and blanch for a gratin-in-waiting or a rapid feed through a mandoline or fine slicer into a bath of salted lemon juice, ready to lift a simple green salad to new heights. For the gratin*, try combining your blanched fennel with similarly aniseedy herbs, blue cheese and breadcrumbs. For that, a white Cape blend or off-dry Loire chenin is the glass of choice. Try with The Liberator Special Edition 'A Motley Cru', Coastal 2014.
Janet Wynne Evans, former Fine Wine Editor at The Society (and very much missed!)
*For those missing Janet's wit and wisdom, read her article 'Out of the Blue' on the treasures to be found on the 'reduced' shelf of supermarkets, and a recipe for that fennel gratin.
'When thinking about summer, fresh British strawberries always come to mind – they're perfect to eat on their own when they're beautifully ripe, but when they're not quite up to scratch I like to blitz them with double cream and icing sugar, then break meringue into the mixture and freeze overnight. It's so easy to do, you don't even need an ice-cream maker – just give the mixture a stir every now and then. Perfect with a large class of chilled Muscadellu Muscat Pétillant from Corsica, a lightly sparkling, gently sweet wine which our buyer unearthed recently.'
Emma Briffett, Tastings & Events Co-ordinator (with a penchant for food and wine-matching tutored tastings, particularly where chocolate is concerned!)