Venice, teens and pickled diners

Pig at Combe

Pig at Combe - Credit: Archant

This month’s food news and finds from Assistant Editor Catherine Courtenay

The final piece in the jigsaw is complete as Venetian restaurant Polpo moves into the remaining space in Exeter’s much heralded Queen St. Dining quarter. Polpo is a small London chain with additional restaurants in Bristol and Brighton. It brings a touch of Michelin glamour too as four of its London venues have been awarded the guide’s Bib Gourmand for quality and value – taster dishes start from around £3. Polpo is modelled on a Venetian bacaro, a neighbourhood wine bar and restaurant which serves simple plates and sharing tasters along with an impressive selection of young Italian wines.

If there are any teenagers out there who need to get to grips with some culinary skills, Ashburton Cookery School has come up with a great course. Teen Cuisine is a day-long culinary adventure for 13-17 year olds that teaches everything from basic knife skills to baking and pasta sauces. It costs £135 and runs on 8 & 15 April with more dates later in the year. What’s more, nearby Ilsington Country House Hotel is offering family room deals, so parents can drop off the kids at school then retreat to its spa.

Finally, a special mention for the residents of Yeoford who, apparently, enjoy a bottle of wine or two. Pop up dining company Pickle Shack (aka head chef and owner Josh Mcdonald Johnson) has done a survey of its events and found that the village came tops for ‘most bottles of wine consumed at a single event’. Cheers to that!

Breakfast bonanza

Dartmouth’s Café Alf Resco gave a warming energy boost to more than 100 local schoolchildren from the surrounding area as part of its Breakfast Week. Free porridge and pancakes were handed out to pupils before they headed off to school. There were also special activities like a ‘draw your favourite breakfast’ competition and word search puzzles as well as breakfast recipe booklets to take home. On one of the days Charles Baughan and his team from Westaway Sausages were on hand for a Free Sausage Sizzle event.

Timeless dining

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Step inside the Georgian Kitchen at The Pig at Combe and enter another world. Muted colours and simple furnishings enhance the striking central feature, a beautiful old range. Light-filled in the day or cosy candlelight at night, it’s a stunning space in which to share a meal and it’s now available for private dining.

Great mixin’

Justine Brock, bartender at The Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter took second place in the LWC Drinks’ Old J cocktail competition at the 2017 Source Trade Show at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre

Coast brew

Mitch Tonks has joined forces with Salcombe Brewery to create a craft beer. Served at Rockfish restaurants, Seafood Coast will help promote the region as England’s seafood destination.

Wine of the Month

Devon Life’s wine writer and head sommelier at Gidleigh Park, Rebecca Mitchell recommends...

As spring blooms and floral scents fill the air, it’s time to indulge our senses. Franz Haas Moscato Rosa ‘Schweizer’ is an exquisitely aromatic wine to enjoy for Easter. An indigenous variety from the Alto-Adige region of northern Italy, moscato rosa vines grow on steep, high-altitude slopes in the Bolzano province of South Tyrol. The Haas family has been grape-growers in the commune of Montagna for generations. The current proprietor, Franz Haas, studied at Geisenheim University before exporting Italian wines to Germany; he then took over the family business and decided to produce and bottle their own quality wines. His aim is to express the varietal purity and flavour typicity of each grape. Moscato Rosa is vinified like a red wine with short skin contact to extract colour before fermentation in stainless steel; it is then chilled to interrupt the fermentation and retain sweetness.

The result is a delightful, deep ruby-pink wine with perfumed aromas of violet, peony, raspberry and plum. It has exceptionally pure flavours of morello cherry, rhubarb and spice with subtle tannins and racy freshness. An excellent partner for all forms of chocolate, at Gidleigh Park we pair it with a fromage frais dessert which includes a hint of beetroot. Tel: 01647 432367

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