For a few years now, the white spirit of the moment has been gin. Most bartenders are very happy about this, and so am I. Don’t get me wrong: good vodka is a wonderful thing. But gin is just more interesting. Fiddling around with the botanicals – the flavourings, led by juniper, that give gin its unique flavour – allows distillers to produce an infinite range of drinks.
Britain has more than its fair share of Jewish entrepreneurs making, marketing or simply selling the addictive stuff. Many from unrelated backgrounds — seduced by their inner chocoholics into working with the products of the cocoa bean.
A lot can happen in two years. In 2013 I was unable to attend the annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience, sponsored by Kedem and held at the Park Lane Hotel in Piccadilly. This year, after getting there late (idiotically missed my bus stop), I dived into tasting and quickly became aware of something curious.
By Zoe Winograd and Victoria Prever, February 28, 2014
Middle Eastern cooking is bang on trend.
Chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and more recently, Eynat Admony (Balaboosta) have worked hard to ensure that the flavours of the shuk are now up there with French, Italian and other popular Mediterranean cuisines.
So much so that visitors to Israel now expect an epicurean adventure as well as the more traditional historical sights and sounds.
Some food-and-wine pairings make such perfect sense that you’d be forgiven for assuming there is no alternative. And Champagne with smoked salmon is one of them. Fizz and fine acidity bring out the luxurious richness of a slice of Scotland’s finest, especially when the fish has been smoked by Lance Forman and his team.
Those of us who grew up in the days before salmon farming brought prices down, will remember it as the ultimate treat – reserved for restaurant meals, high teas and simchas.
It is a quintessentially Jewish fish - rivalled only by herring for a place in our hearts and history. So high does it sit in our esteem that we would pay good money for an audience with two of its purveyors.
I have always loved fish. For my family, Friday was fried fish night, a legacy of my grandmother’s Sephardi tradition which was passed down to my dad. Not only did we have fried fish on Friday nights but we tended to have stories of the sea told with dinner. My dad was a Navy pilot in the Second World War and he never seemed to run out of tales of his exploits on the seven seas.