It was yet another food festival that got me to Waterford, where the Harvest Festival took place. It was a week- long festival of all things food and drink, with a bewildering variety of events every day. I was there specifically to talk about wine and I shared the talk with Eamonn McEneaney, an expert on the history of Waterford.
I learned some surprising facts from Eamonn, not least that Waterford had, and held on to, a monopoly on the Irish wine trade for over 500 years.
We were in the recently renovated and restored Choristers’ Hall, which has one of Ireland’s oldest wine vaults — so, apart from being a very attractive venue, it was also perfect for a talk on wine.
The hall is part of Waterford’s Medieval Museum, which is really worth a visit.
After our talk was over, I went with a few of the festival organisers across the river to the Hotel Athenaeum for dinner in their restaurant, Zaks.
Part of the hotel’s official address is ‘Christendom‘, which I rather liked, but the oddest piece of topographical trivia I can tell you is that the main house of The Athenaeum is in Co Kilkenny, while the driveway and the gardens are in Co Waterford.
A WINK and a nod. A scratch of the nose and maybe even a secret handshake might have done the trick a month or two ago.
Until now, if you didn’t know about Pearl Cafe’s in-the-kitchen diner upstairs or if you didn’t “like” it on Facebook then you probably weren’t on the list.
Now the secret is out, and Daniel Lewis and his gang of savvy operators have the whole formula working smoothly.
The idea is you sit around the chef’s kitchen bench (a fabulous slab of honed, pre-loved marble), lethal meat slicers nearby, bottles of wine uncorked for trying, platters of cured meats at the ready, and graze and chat and sip and chill.
And watch whatever fresh produce spilling out from baskets, bowls and crates be transformed into a something simple, honest and worthy.
That’s The Servery, an intimate little nest of space with more patina on its brick, and copper and timber surfaces than a Dordogne kitchen, and with as much warmth and personality.
We perch on high bentwood stools while the charming sommelier talks us through a few wines by the glass.
Meanwhile, a platter of jamon arrives with relish made in-house, then a fabulous pile of runny French cheeses, baguettes and giant bowls of cheese-laden parsnip soup.
You’ve got to eat, but – as many of our readers have learned – you don’t have to break the bank doing so.
The post prompted a number of readers to share their own tips for saving money on food. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Don’t shop based on sales or coupons
That’s right, you read that correctly. Several readers said coupons and sales can actually end up being a waste of money if the good deal lulls you into buying pricier foods or items your family doesn’t normally eat.
“Most sale items with the exception of fruits/veggies are packed full of preservatives. Eating for less shouldn’t mean you stop eating healthy. I rarely plan my grocery trips around circulars, but I do check to see and compare if what I usually buy is on sale,” one reader wrote.
2. Do consider store brands.
Several readers said they have switched to generic or store brands for staples, saving a bundle without losing out on taste or quality.
“What really saves money is to try store brands. I’ve found that store brands of some food items are every bit as good as the name brand, and a whole lot cheaper even if you have a coupon for the name brand,” one reader noted.
Several New Zealand wine brands have been honoured by an international magazine.
Drinks International produces a list of top 50 ‘world’s most admired wine brands’ and this year seven NZ-based names feature.
Brancott Estate, Oyster Bay, Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria, Babich, Wither Hills, and Nobilo are listed alongside international brands such as Penfolds, Michel Chapoutier, and Chateau Margaux as being leading players in the global wine industry.
Chris Yorke, New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director, said he was delighted with the recognition.
“It reconfirms New Zealand’s position as a producer of premium, diverse and sustainable wines,” he said.
Sixty members of the global wine community – including wine masters Peter McCombie, Peter Marks, Tuomas Meriluoto, Kym Milne and Lynne Sherriff -nominated the wine brands they admire most.
Brancott Estate – which was recently rebranded from Montana – and Oyster Bay both featured in the top 20.
Strange Random Wine Quote:
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
‘I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine’.
G.K. Chesterton, Wine and Water
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But what on earth is she going on about before they start?
Strange Random Wine Quote:
[at his first sip of champagne] “Come quickly! I am tasting stars!” – Dom Perignon
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Even for those who do drink alcohol and want to have a night off the juice, most bars – and especially pubs – struggle to offer more than the usual selection of fizzy drinks and a few bottled mixers. And as for bottled fresh orange juice? “The devil’s work,” a non-drinking friend assures me. The growth of premium soft drinks, such as Fentimans‘ range, has made the situation a little better, but for those who can’t drink or don’t want to drink – an evening in the pub necking lime sodas or pints of Coke can be about as appealing as, well, a bloated stomach full of sugar and caffeine.
It’s particularly hard for those in recovery, where the temptation to crack and join in on the round of beers can have a devastating personal impact.
Which makes it all the more surprising that it’s taken so long for something like The Brink – Britain’s first modern dry bar – to open. Located on the quiet, cobbled Parr Street, the venue is off the beaten track but minutes away from the rest of Liverpool city centre‘s heavy drinking bars and nightclubs.
Recent Local Alcohol Profiles in England (Lape) figures released by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University ranked Liverpool as one of the worst cities for alcohol abuse in England. It came bottom of the rankings, 326 out of 326, in five of the Lape categories.
Taking just two of them, the city had more than 3,800 alcohol-related hospital admissions for both men and women this year not including visits to A&E – Leeds, a city with a similar-sized population and an equally vibrant nightlife had 2,289. Deaths from chronic liver disease and other alcohol-specific causes are also well above local and national averages.
Strange Random Alcohol Quote:
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