The final summer bank holiday is upon us. With the Jubilee celebrations a distant memory and the Olympic flame doused, you might wonder what there is left to toast? Well, if you live in Oxford, then there is plenty.
First off it’s the annual foodie festival, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Two of the festivals sponsors are Casillero del Diablo (who’s parent company Concha y Toro is based in Wheatley) and Pommery (the Champagne), which means there will be plenty of drinks master classes to keep oenologists entertained.
Charles Metcalfe, the co-founder and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, one of the largest most recognized wine competitions n the world, will be leading two of the master classes. He is most recognized for being the entertaining wine expert on Richard & Judy’s, This Morning . Each day at 12:30 he will “Unlock the secrets of champagne“ then at 3:30pm he will update Oxonians on one of the fastest growing wine trends, “Portuguese Wines.” There will be daily tastings with Casillero del Diablo, and for those interested in beer, there is a food and beer matching master class.
Each day wraps up with a “history of alcohol in medicine” including cocktails by Kamm & Sons. Kamm & Sons is a ginseng spirit. It is similar to gin in that it contains juniper berries, but it contains many more botanicals than most gins, which results in herbal, anise and mead flavours.
You can purchase tickets for the foodie festival by visiting http://www.foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111. A three-day adult ticket is £18 or pay £10 a day.
For a different experience try the “Celebration Tea” at the Ashmolean Dining Room. It is exactly like their “Afternoon Tea” but with a glass of Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne . This Bank Holiday Monday there is an extra reason to celebrate. I have just heard from the Operational Account Manager, Andrew Cashin, that each guest that orders a “Celebration Tea” will receive a free extra glass of Devaux Champagne . That’s enough sparkle for anyone’s bank holiday. I love this Champagne as it has a slight hint of peaches, which reminds me of childhood summers in the South. The Ashmolean Dining Room is open from 10am – 6pm this bank holiday Monday and I strongly recommend you book a table by visiting http://www.ashmoleandiningroom.com/reserve-ash or calling 01865 553 823.
For a more relaxed holiday, pick up a bottle of Sicilian Miopasso Fiano from the Oxford Wine Company on Botley Road for £8.99. This is an International Wine Challenge Gold winner for 2012. It is a full-bodied white made with Italian indigenous grape varieties.
The Miopasso Fiano is zesty with tastes of stone fruit, a perfect match for shrimp on the barbecue or a picnic by the river.