Hello! I’m still alive.

Eating and indulging over the Christmas period

The subtlety of my eating over Christmas

Hands in the air – I have been atrociously, diabolically, nefariously inattentive to my blog over the last two weeks. My excuse? I have been busy indulging in mince pies, port, Champagne, mince pies, Pomerol, turkey, Indian wine, oh did I mention mince pies?

Fortunately for my waistline, the festive period has come to an end (although my Christmas tree is standing defiantly tall) which means normality and sobriety are gradually being restored.  Continue reading

Trading beer for wine at Oktoberfest

oktoberfest

This counts as weight training, right?

For 99% of the Western population, the word “Oktoberfest” conjures an image of beer.

For those unfamiliar with the Bavarian festival, it is a 16-day beer-drinking, bratwurst-eating bonanza that takes place in Munich every year. Over six million beer lovers flock to Germany to participate in the festival, collectively consuming a staggering 1.8 million gallons of beer each September. (No, that isn’t a typo – Oktoberfest takes place in September. Honestly).

Although I am definitely not enough of a beer drinker to travel 600 miles for a pint, I did find myself donning a Bavarian hat for an Oktoberfest-themed brunch party last weekend.

Continue reading

A week-long hangover

Lcwmainimage (1)Hangover. The horrible by-product of fun. If you’re reading this blog, you have probably been diagnosed with this condition at least once in your life.

If you are now looking forward to reading about a cure, I’m going to disappoint you. I wish I knew one. Unfortunately, hangovers are as unavoidable – and as painful – as the Jubilee line at rush hour.

Last week, London experienced its largest and longest collective hangover – an event known as “London Cocktail Week”. Continue reading

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes

I spent the better part of a fortnight racking my brain for a relevant and (hopefully) interesting wine-related topic to blog about; unfortunately I was suffering from an emotionally crippling condition called writer’s block. Every single one of my pens stopped working and I forgot how to type (admittedly I am brazenly abusing the figurative sense here).

Eventually, Tesco stepped in to lend me a hand on the inspiration front.

A few days ago, I was on my way to my cousin’s house for dinner when the bright lights of Tesco Express lured me in. I gave in to temptation under the premise of picking up a few healthy snacks – a mission which failed miserably given I walked out with a pretty sizeable bag of maltesers and a bottle of wine.

But it wasn’t just any ordinary bottle of wine. Continue reading

It’s all Greek to me

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Psarou – my favourite spot in Mykonos

I never seem to learn my lesson.

Every time I go to Greece I descend into the same predictable cycle: I fall in love with Greek wine, I buy a few bottles to bring home, I open one in rainy London and I wonder why it never tastes as good as I remembered.

Much of the enjoyment we derive from wine comes from the surroundings. My garden – as pleasant as it is – simply cannot compete with white sandy Myconian beaches and the sparkling blue Aegean sea. So, after three holidays to Mykonos and countless bottles transported home only to sit unopened in my fridge for months on end, I made an executive decision: no more Hellenic wine for me outside Greece.

I was doing a pretty good job of avoiding it – until last Sunday.

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Why runners should drink wine

6588c812c627c28f0dc30e081b5985b7A few months ago, a few friends and I signed up for a 10km run. Yesterday – also known as five days before race day – one of my pals suggested having an alcohol-free week in preparation for the looming adventure. At that very moment (somewhat ironically) I was drinking an unforgettable wine that I had patiently waited two years for – a delicious chardonnay not only from some of the finest soils in Burgundy but also from an exceptional vintage (Domaine du Chateau de Meursault 1er Cru 2010). When my aforementioned friend became aware of my hedonism, her exact words were: Shakira, what on earth are you doing drinking the week of a race?   

My answer was simple: umm, don’t you know wine is good for runners?

I wasn’t lying. It actually is. Continue reading

Cesanese: the wine of the Romans

rome postWhat comes to mind when you think of Rome?

The cultured among us would say the Sistine Chapel or the Colosseum. The gluttons among us would say tagliatelle or gelato. The oenophiles among us would say Frascati or Chianti Classico (not that Tuscany is particularly nearby – but the wine is available almost everywhere).

Unfortunately, I am all three – an affliction that made a two-and-a-half-day trip to Rome a mildly stressful experience. Sixty hours was simply not enough to experience all that the capital has to offer. I was constantly torn by three competing persuasions: the desire to visit all of the historic sites, the temptation to go shoe shopping, and the gravitational pull towards al fresco wine bars in the middle of bustling squares (piazze) all over the city. Continue reading

The height of decadence

When the first Burger & Lobster opened in London, the whole world and his brother wanted a taste of what was touted as “the cheapest lobster in Mayfair”. The restaurant has chosen to follow London’s latest trend of “please queue in the rain because we don’t take bookings” and, although torn between my love of lobster and my fathomable dislike of queuing, I tried to get a table on a Friday evening.

I suppose it was inevitable that I was turned away at the door. When I arrived, a man energetically controlling the list of lobster-eaters that night looked down at his clipboard briefly before suggesting I return at a less busy time. Although slightly peeved, I heeded his advice and ended up scoring a table for lunch the following week.

Burger lobster

Oh my, what a lunch. Continue reading