Archives: September, 2015

The Roast Returns!

The time of year has come once again to embrace the roast dinner; that life-affirming meal best suited to cooler weather and darker days, which now returns to dictate the pace of Sundays for months to come.

The Scarlet version will return from 27th September. Settle down next to the wood burner, with a good glass of red and the Sunday papers; it’s the perfect prelude to an invigorating walk on the beach. Nordic sweater optional…

Each week a succulent slow-roasted joint (served with all the appropriate trimmings of course) will be matched with wine suggestions from our inventive and ever-expanding list. Vegetarian options are also available, as are starters, desserts and, best of all, a selection of local cheeses to finish along with the last sips of that delicious red wine.

By the time you manage to extract yourself, you will be perfectly justified in calling it a day and heading straight to the sofa, utterly replete and blissfully unaware that Monday is just around the corner.

It’s busy around the table…

This spring Scarlet Wines reinvented its food offering with the launch of The Vineyard Table, and as a result has experienced its busiest season to date.

The increase in trade has been marked; in July customer numbers were up 50% on the previous year, and August saw a series of record-breaking services for our busy team.

The most successful summer so far is the result of some honest soul-searching earlier in the year.

With West Cornwall enjoying a more diverse food scene than ever before, Jon felt that the time was right to follow his natural impulse to, as he puts it, “be a bit more of a maverick”.

Jon and chef Olly introduced a menu inspired by sun-drenched Southern Europe and the colourful street cafes of Morocco and Lebanon, rebranded as ‘The Vineyard Table’ to reflect the redefined style.

We wanted to major on the regions and food styles which work well with our wine selection and which have bold, bright flavours. This led us to focus on Southern Portugal and Spain and the short hop from there to Morocco, Italy – Sicily and Puglia in particular, Greece, and round the Mediterranean coast to Turkey and Lebanon.

The menu is also intended to inspire the relaxed and convivial approach to sharing food and wine that you find in those places.

The vibrant salads, rustic flatbreads, and platters of meat and fish have been a hit, adding colour and fresh flavours to what has at times been a dull and wet summer.

People have responded very positively to our new take on breakfast, lunch and dinner – for example our flatbreads already have a cult following,with people returning to try all the variations!

The menu will change seasonally and we are looking forward to hosting events throughout the quieter months including Gin Tastings, a Whisky Club and various regional food and wine nights.

The logo, created by Channel Design of Hayle, is designed to work alongside the Scarlet Wines branding whilst giving the food offering its own identity; the shape of the tree trunk also refers to the shape of the Hayle Estuary where Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Kitchen is situated.

We hope you’ll pay us a visit soon and try our evolving autumn menu.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of… Rum

Jon’s latest article for Cornwall Today extols the delights of this maritime favourite….

Ask and sensible person what the most seafaring drink they can think of is and they will surely say rum. It is a drink so closely linked with life afloat that, for many, the mere mention of its name brings out the inner pirate. “Rum!” they shout and off they go shivering their timbers and raising the mains’l yard.

Rum comes in different styles; white, golden and dark. A few years back, the white, Bacardi like, sort was hugely popular and was often what you would drink in a club when you couldn’t face any more lager. Back then, only a few old men drank the darker style, probably Lambs and sometimes even with an alcoholic, herbal, cordial known as Shrub. The golden style was more or less reserved for Havana Club.

Nowadays, it is a very different picture and golden rules the roost with a myriad of brands and flavours. But, before I suggest some drinks to try lets have a look at a few facts.

Rum is made from either sugar cane juice, or from molasses. Molasses is a by product of sugar manufacture and so it is found in those hot, tropical places that grow sugar. Places like South America, including Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. Here they speak Spanish and so call it Ron. For the UK, most of the rum we see comes from the Caribbean. Either the English speaking islands such as; Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana and Jamaica, or the French speaking Guadeloupe or Martinique. Here they add an “h” and call it Rhum.

In general the French style is to use sugar cane juice, giving a raw, pungent and lighter style. The English speaking style is from Molasses and this brings a sweet richness to the finished product.

It is worth pointing out that all spirits start life colourless as they emerge from the still. Usually, all of the colour and perhaps 50% of the flavour in your bottle comes from the time the spirit ages in a wooden barrel. So, white rum is simply rum that is young and un-aged. The golden and dark styles will have spent time ageing in wooden barrels. The choice of barrel, and the time the rum spends in it has a huge affect on flavour.

What is unusual for rum is that there are absolutely no rules governing its production. For most other spirits there is some sort of governing council that does this. For example, the Scotch Whisky Association decrees that, among other things, for a product to call itself Scotch Whisky it must have been aged in a barrel for five years. With rum you can make it how you like, age it how you like and label it any way that helps you sell it. That does mean lots of new styles, but it also means some low grade products to avoid.

The seafaring connection is based partly on the places it comes from. It would have been the standard drink in the Carribbean, which was a key trading area for the UK. But, the real clincher is that for years the Royal Navy served a daily ration of rum to its sailors. This was originally served neat, but was later mixed 50:50 with water to make what was known as grog. The ration was pretty large by current standards at around half a pint of spirit per man per day. This custom only ceased in 1971. Perhaps the arrival of Trident missiles on board made this seem prudent.

For me, the joy of rum is sampling its myriad styles and flavours. It is great in cocktails, even something as simple as a drop of fresh lime and some dark sugar can be superb. But if you fancy something to drink neat, a current favourite of mine is Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva. This is from Venezuela and is a rich, intense and full flavoured style with lots of ripe tropical fruit flavour. Expect to pay around £40 for one.