You may be familiar with pinot noir, the classic red Burgundy grape that produces some of France’s most elegant and complex wines. Pointelle was a medieval engraving technique that blended multiple layers of precious metals into a multi-faceted design.
For a long time, the wine business has been heavily dominated by men, but over the years this has slowly started to change, with many women smashing the glass ceiling, and no doubt a few bottles along the way. Like any industry, this diversification has led to new ways of working, and the wines we get to enjoy today are all the better for it. Of course, that’s not to say any woman could make wines with such finesse – many of these inspirational women are highly skilled in a number of fields, juggling various careers (not to mention families) with their passion for wine.
In response, Barclaycard is trialling ‘Dine & Dash’ at high-street chain Prezzo, which enables diners to pay automatically and walk out straight after eating – bypassing the traditional bill-paying process. Nick Kerigan, managing director of future payments at Barclaycard, said: “Eating out is something we all look forward to, yet our research shows that waiting to pay is an increasing frustration. “Building on our experience in ‘invisible payments’, we wanted to create an innovative solution that removes any barriers to enjoying the meal, whilst also helping restaurants deliver great service and keep those diners coming back.
Sparkling red wine still has a hard time shaking off its reputation for being sweet, cheap and a bit naff. Suitably decadent, with dark ripe fruit and a touch of spiciness, we found it really comes into its own when paired with the right food.
Recipe boxes are designed to take the hard work out of cooking. For an average of $10 per serving, and in between 30-45 minutes, you can have a meal made fresh at home. A very easy recipe box, with recipes that truly come together start to finish in the prescribed time.
In this month’s instalment, we’ll explore the fun side of Bordeaux (perfect for this time of year), the Valentines treats you need to know and continue to unearth the very best of our drink world with bite-size tipple guides. Bordeaux: it’s a word that can often be daunting, but the fact of the matter is, it needn’t be. There’s a hell of a lot more to explore than the 20-year aged Bordeaux reds, it’s just about understanding what else is out there.
Sin-free booze has certainly been in the spotlight of late – be it vegan, low-alcohol or, with Fairtrade Fortnight (26 February – 11 March) just around the corner, ethically produced. “Zero dosage”, “brut nature” and “pas dose” will all contain less than 3g of residual sugar per litre, which leaves very little to hide behind in terms of flavour. Helen Stones from The Fizz Company, a wine importer and wholesaler, explains how these styles are able to shun the sugar: “At the end of the champagne-making process, sediment is removed, leaving a few missing millilitres in the bottle that must be topped up.
Bourbon is America’s native spirit and one of the countries most cherished nectars. This sumptuous tipple has become world famous for its distinct and robust flavor, made up over 51% corn and aged in newly charred oak barrels. 95% of the stuff is produced in Kentucky but the variations we sip are anything but the same.
You might have noticed the recently popularity of pink gins, but what is it (apart from the obvious) that makes them different to the regular stuff? If you’re a fan of standard gin, you’ll love the subtle flavour notes these pink varieties possess. Not to be confused with the cocktail by the same name (pink gin, made with Plymouth gin and a dash of Angostura bitters), these pink gins can be mixed with prosecco and even drunk neat with a chunk of ice.
Whether you’re new to veganism or a committed convert, a subscription box can be a very convenient way to ensure you have something ready to go the next time you get a bad case of the munchies. Some of the subscription boxes work out cheaper per month the longer users sign up for, so a 12-month subscription will be cheaper than a six-month one – but check the small print as offers vary. While many of the items in the boxes can be sourced individually, in some cases at a seemingly cheaper cost, for the time-poor vegan, the eclectic mix means someone else has done the hard work of sourcing a box, making the convenience factor well worth prioritising.
If there has been one buzzword in the food and drink world recently, “vegan” is surely it. Traditionally, a number of animal products have been used during the fining process (the bit that helps make the wine clearer, stabilised and less bitter). Replacing them are clay- or charcoal-based alternatives, safe for both vegans and vegetarians alike.
Making the switch to these tipples means your alcohol intake would be vastly reduced (without you actually having to drink less). If you’ve tried non-alcoholic wine in the past and been put off by the synthetic sweet taste, we’d urge you to consider these modern options instead – supermarkets have seriously upped their game to keep up with the cultural shift. For example, a hunter semillon from Australia or a German riesling, rather than wines that are superficially de-alcoholised.
The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have released a helpful guide on the subject, as it turns out there are very specific ways cheeses need to be cut to ensure each bite is as perfect as the last. According to the guide, cutting cheese is an art - and shape, size, and texture are all factors to consider when choosing the correct slicing method.
Imagine a world where ice-cream was healthy. Well, it turns out the future of ice-cream is upon us - because one researcher at the University of Copenhagen is close to replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat in our favourite summer treat. Saturated fat - abundant in ice-cream - raises cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease and strokes.
Gone are the days of going through the tiring chore of actually peeling a banana - farmers in Japan have successfully grown completely edible fruits thanks to a DNA method mimicking the Ice Age. Named the Mongee Banana, which translates to “incredible” in Japanese, the new and improved banana is the result of the freeze thaw awakening” method. The method, which is being used by D&T Farm in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture, recreates temperatures and growing conditions of the ice age, resulting in bananas that are much sweeter - and fully edible.
It’s safe to say Greek wine is officially having a moment, and rightly so. The rugged landscape provides the perfect terroir for red, white, rose and even sparkling wines. With a rich history of wine-making, it may seem odd that it’s only just started to gain momentum, however recent events such as the Greek Wine Festival in London have helped shine a light on the great grape varieties found in this part of the Mediterranean.
The Cadbury selection box is a Christmas staple, filled with a selection of chocolate treats ... but this year's offering comes with a side-order of controversy: The Fudge bar has been replaced and people are outraged. Apparently, the decision-makers at Cadbury felt, like some others secretly felt, that the Fudge bar was over - and so decided to replace it with a Dairy Milk Oreo. The sweet treat has been removed from the £2.99 box but is still available in the small (£1.09) and Freddo (£2.99) selection packs.
If you could murder a pint but do without the trudge to the pub, an at-home beer tap is the perfect addition to your cosy night in. Attention, footballers and famouses! Too rich and recognisable to pop out to the pub but still fancy a pint?
Christmas is the most wonderful time of year… but for many people, it's an incredibly stressful time too. One of the biggest pressures of the big day is serving up a delicious meal that all the family will enjoy. Any nuggets of advice to make Christmas preparations slightly more relaxed are very welcome, which is why Jamie Oliver decided to share his top Christmas cooking hacks.
Fortunately, and miraculously, KFC Japan claims it has come up with a solution for your commuting woes. Not wanting to lose out on those precious commuting moments where customers could be chowing down on fried chicken, the fast food fried chicken chain has created a new type of chicken that you can eat on public transportation - without feeling self-conscious. Available only at a pop-up location in the Shinjuku subway station in Tokyo, KFC Japan is offering low-odour fried chicken, a game changer for hungry commuters.
With most Brits having a feast of some sort - be that traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings or a festive brunch - there’s a lot of food to be bought. This means that the supermarkets are putting everything into luring in shoppers and outdoing each other. In recent years, with everyone tightening their metaphorical belts (and loosening their real ones), the budget retailers have been successfully drawing people away from the higher end supermarkets.
In light of spreading the festive love, our wine and spirits expert, Adrian Smith, has put together a comprehensive list of his favourite wines from 2017. If you’re looking for gift inspiration or some well-deserved indulgence, you’ve come to the right place.
Britain is undergoing a cultural shift in its drinking habits, and booze is the loser. Spurred on by a desire to be health-conscious, and helped by campaigns such as Dry January, people are increasingly opting for alcohol-free nights out. Familiar soft drinks of fizzy pop or fruit juice have never really compared to the complex flavours and vast choice offered by the booze shelves, so some smarter alternatives to alcohol are being served up.