There are many lovely things that emerge from my supperclubs. Working hard on the menus, meeting the wonderful and friendly guests who attend and who share my passion and enthusiasm for good food and conviviality and then the feeling of immense pride when we present 30 beautiful plates and hear the dining room go quiet as people tuck in.
Getting to know the producers and suppliers from whom I source my ingredients is another of my favourite things and it sits at the heart of why I do what I do. Through the supperclub I have been introduced to lots of equally passionate people and today was one of those days.
Thanks to Stefano Cuomo, owner of Macknade where I host most of my dinners, I recently had a call from Ben Walgate, CEO of Gusbourne Estate, a boutique winemaker in Kent. Ben has been at Gusbourne for just over a year and is looking at ways to introduce their wines to a wider Kentish market, having already made a name for themselves in the trade, winning awards at the IWC and being listed by restaurants including Folkestone’s Rocksalt and in specialist retailers, as well as in the press. Ben invited me over to the vineyard near Appledore (they also have 21 hectares in Sussex) where the winery is and so I spent a fascinating morning finding out about their wines – they make mostly sparkling – and seeing the tens of thousands of bottles produced over the last few years.
Monday morning at 10.30 was a bit early for a tasting, but Ben very kindly sent me home with a bottle of their award winning 2010 Brut Reserve and also a bottle of the 2013 Pinot Noir – which apparently would have gone very nicely with last weekend’s partridge…I will taste them and let you know how I get on, tough job I know. More interestingly for you is that we agreed that Ben will come to an emwilco supperclub at Macknade in the new year and bring along some wines for you to try. And if you can’t wait that long then there’s Clive Barlow who I am sure would be happy to help…or Gusbourne’s own online shop.