Thursday, 27 December 2012


Christmas celebrations are almost over - we had a lovely family day. We had a traditional turkey dinner starting with a variety of seafood; prawns, smoked salmon and salmon pate.
This was accompanied by a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte 2004 Cuvee Champagne. it was perfect. A more intense flavour than the Brut we had earlier this month for my husbands birthday. The golden colour was darker and the flavour richer with many more bubbles, although not gaseous.

Our traditional turkey dinner was perfectly accompanied by a bottle of Il Papaverone. It was my dad's favourite. Sadly he passed away earlier this year and there was a bottle in his wine rack so we saved it for Christmas. All the wines in this range are superb but this was Dad's favourite.

Il Papavero Primitivo 2011
It's an Italian wine, Primivito grape. A lovely weighty red, deep in colour with a rich aroma but not heavy tasting. It matches beautifully with red meat, especially beef or lamb casserole dishes. it's 14% but not overly heady.

We have also enjoyed other wines over the holidays including our favourite Cheverny which we bring home from France. Tomorrow we are off for a short break in Liverpool, our first visit which will of course include a meal at Cafe Rouge. All the deals, bargains and must dos will be here next time.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

It'll soon be here

Just over a week to go and the festivities will begin - our house already smells of Christmas as this year I have made mini Christmas Cakes for gifts. I love the smell; spices, rich fruit and of course some Christmas spirit.

I purchased some individual plastic muffin holders (with lids) online through ebay and will be decorating each holder with Christmas ribbon - this gift has already given me a lot of pleasure, baking, decorating, assembling, and hopefully my friends will love it too.

I think we are ready - all our gifts have been purchased but not yet wrapped. The elders in our family love vouchers - so we have a selection of Weatherspooon, Smith and Jones, Dobbies, and RSPB which we know will be greatly appreciated.

One shop I have loved visiting this year has been John Lewis. Their choice of festive gifts is amazing and something for everyone's pocket. Charbonnel et Walker sugar almonds and James' Chocolates mini chocolate bars are for little extras, with a few main gifts that Santa is keeping secret.

Shopping trips for us always include lunch and more often than not that means Cafe Rouge. They have so many great offers on at the moment; set lunches; evening meals; festive menus. I love receiving their newsletter by email, more often than not with a discount offer. Watch out in the New Year as their restaurants are having a new make over with stylish French chic decor.

Christmas is a time for everyone in many different way; family; friends; religious; memories; joy; and for some sorrow. St Laurence's Church hold a festival for all - 60 real Christmas Trees all decorated by different people. The money raised for tree sponsorships and visitors is divided between church running cost and charity. I sponsor a tree every year and my theme this time is family tree. I stitched the names you get in families, the photos are some of our family members. If you'd like to see more of the trees and my needlecraft please visit my other blog Aimetu's Stitching

Finally festive fizz - it is the only way to start and end the season. Our favourite champagne, Nicolas Feuillatte is on offer in Tesco . There are certainly some fabulous wines to help the season go with a swing - the Wine Community is a great place to learn more as well as take part in their festive advent calendar which is full of great tips, offers and competitions.

Enjoy the last few days of preparations - busy shops, lots of cooking, maybe a party or two - it all makes a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A quiet second half to November for us - this meant a chance to sample a few more bottles of wine from our cellar. The cellar is in two parts of our house - an 80+ rack in the utility room and then a few boxes in the garage. We do stock up on our trips to France - Calais Wine, Pidou and Auchan being our favourite places to shop; B&B Hotel our regular stop over and always a Flunch dinner.

We are already planning a trip in February to Calais and our summer holiday in Etaples again. The France Show is on at Earls Courts January 18th - 20th and it's a must for anyone visiting, holidaying or moving to such a beautiful country. Tickets are on offer at just £10 each if you book before 31st December.

Travel tip: if you live north of London park at Watford Junction and take the tube to Kensington Olympia. If you visit London more than once a year it is cheaper to by an Oyster card for using the Underground and Buses.

So back to our wine:

Cuvée Royale 2010


Colour : Pale yellow with green highlights
Nose : hint of blackcurrant, exotic fruits, white flowers
Taste : light fruit  

 Côtes-du-Rhône 2011
Colour : deep sustained red
Nose : fruity with floral highlights
Taste : spice and peppery notes, rich fruit 

Just two from our choice this week. Although we buy most of our wine from France, liking very much Old World wines, we do enjoy New World wines too. Tesco Wine Community is a great place for new and old wine lovers to share tips, ideas and recommendations. I have been inspired by a 'cheese and wine' idea for a New Year party :)

With the festive season approaching fast it's Christmas shopping time - good finds, tips and festive suggestions next time.