Demo & Dine Event at Coghlans Food and Wine Experience, Rowsley
Nothing ventured, nothing gained; that’s what they say, isn’t it? Lisa at Coghlans Derbyshire Wine ad Food Experience Centre was clearly channelling that vibe when she announced that there was going to be a ‘Demo And Dine’ event at their Peak Village in Rowsley venue…but this time it was going to be in conjunction with Dr. Derbyshire’s Spirit Emporium, rather than pairing the dishes with their own wines.
No surprise when I say that this inaugural event was fully booked, and we were all very excited to learn what Chef Will Nicol had got in mind for us! To kick things off, Lisa handed us glasses of Ginsecco cocktails, made with Candy Floss Gin and Prosecco and garnished with more Candy Floss that, when you popped it into the liquid, made it fizz even more.
To go with this tipple was a super-scrummy puff pastry canape adorned with an Onion and Pomegranate Jam – talk about small-but-mighty in the taste stakes; this was awesome! For those with more traditional leanings, there was also a Salmon Mousse with Ricotta and pieces of Sun-dried Tomato; also very tasty.
As well as being paired with each course, the Gin was being utilised in the assembly of the food. Our next course was gin-cured Salmon Gravadlax; thinly sliced (we all had a go at slicing the Salmon) fish was garnished with fresh Dill, herb Oil, and an intense Tomato sauce, and simply paired with its classic partner of Brown Bread and Butter.
Staying with the classic theme, this course was paired with a crisp Gin that Ollie made for Coghlans in the London Dry style. Salmon is quite rich and oily, so to elevate the flavour profile in the mouth, the drink needed to be dry and crisp; top marks to the deliciously clean, uncomplicated Gin, it hit the brief straight in the bulls’ eye.
It’s a good job that Fledge was our driver for the day, because Lisa kept coming round and topping drinks up! Chef had got Partridge for our main courses and very wisely showed, and talked, us through the process of preparing these small birds for cooking, introducing those of us who hadn’t ‘met’ him to Tom, one of his knives. Along with the introduction, came a funny story of travelling with knives and all it entails…but that’s one for you to enjoy when you’re in person at the next Demo and Dine, details of which can be found at www.cookingexpert.co.uk
To go with our Game Bird dish were perfectly formed Cocotte Potatoes and richly spiced Red Cabbage; you can imagine the delight on our faces as our nostrils caught a whiff of the aroma as it cooked.
When we were seated at the table, Lisa brought around the Elderflower Gins that were pairing this course; the Gin would also feature in the cooking jus of the Partridge. I have to say, Gin really does go well with a wide range of meals; its intrinsically crisp character cuts through rich meats and sauces brilliantly. Fab idea, Lisa!! Credit to Oliver, too; after all, without Dr Derbyshire himself (and his considerable distilling skill!), it wouldn’t be much of an event, would it?
Ollie had been answering all our questions and, once we’d finished our mains, showed us the mini-still that he’d brought across and talked us through the process of making Gin. Seriously, if Chemistry lessons had included this, I would’ve paid an awful lot more attention in class at school!!
Our final course was a Lemon Tart; the buttery pastry case housed a gloriously sunny-toned filling, whose gentle Citrus twang swirled around our mouths. Chef Will served this with a shortbread crumble Ice Cream and fresh berries, and it brought our meal at Coghlans to a superb conclusion…but the afternoon didn’t end there!
When all the cutlery was put down, we left our seats and went over to Olivers territory - Dr Derbyshire’s Spirit Emporium – to sample more Gins and Gin Liqueurs that were paired with Coghlans Chocolates (as well as some rather fab Rums that Ollie makes). We all thought we’d died and gone to heaven: it was like an Aladdin’s Cave of liquid joy. Fans of ‘After Eight’ mints will fall hook, line and sinker for Ollies ‘After Seven’ Gin Liqueur – it really is the liquid version of these treats.
Not gonna lie, I was feeling warm and fuzzy from all the Gin I’d happily quaffed, but I would’ve felt equally fab at the end of this afternoon if I was sober – I mean, what’s not to love about spending a Sunday afternoon eating and drinking scrummy things in the company of like-minded people? As well as these gin and food pairings, Coghlans offer a wine and food version, and there are also the Cheese and Wine, and Chocolate and Wine Pairing events to book onto, too. For more information, visit the website www.cookingexpert.co.uk or give Lisa a buzz on 01246 453131. You can also find more info about the superb tipples Oliver makes at www.drderbyshirespirits.co.uk
Massive thanks to Lisa for inviting us along, to Chef Will Nicol for cooking up a scrumptious storm, and to Oliver Meakin/Dr Derbyshire for providing top-notch tipples for us. What a memorable afternoon!!
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